The Church excommunicated her Mother and her Doctors but not her step-father who raped and impregnated her

The Church excommunicated her Mother and her Doctors but not her step-father who raped and impregnated her

…but not baby rapists?

I think it’s safe to say that the Catholic Church REALLY fucked up this time. A 9-year old girl in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco was raped and impregnated by her 23-year-old stepfather. Doctors determined that the girls immature hips would not allow her to carry the pregnancy to term and survive and so they sought and received permission from her Mother to abort the pregnancy. The Catholic Church’s response was swift and harsh – the regional archbishop, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, pronounced excommunication for the mother for authorizing the operation and doctors who carried it out.

OK so they got the Mother, they got the Doctors… hmmm… wasn’t there someone else? No, not the girl. She’s just 9. Now lets see. Who else could they have excommunicated? Hmmm…

Oh yeah! How about the step-father rapist who it turns out was also raping the girl’s physically handicapped 14-year-old sister? Well, no. They didn’t excommunicate him. Archbishop Sobrinho said that the accused stepfather would not be expelled from the church. Although the man allegedly committed “a heinous crime … the abortion – the elimination of an innocent life – was more serious”.

The step-father has been arrested and is being kept in protective custody. If convicted he faces a maximum of uh… 15 years in jail. Many Brazilians are understandably horrified at both the Church and the step-father. Maybe Archbishop Sobrinho didn’t get the memo from the Vatican about checking out the Internet. How do you say “Stupid Asshole” in Portugese?

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Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • Bad thing for sure, but there’s no loophole for the Church once the abortion becomes known to it. At least the girl didn’t get force-married to her abuser…

  • At least ck tacitly endorses excommunicating participants in abortion….. I wouldn’t want to sit near thie guy in church. Hell, let’s expel baby killers, child abusers, Madoff-style corporate crooks, batterers, anti-semites, racists, adulterers, corrupt public officials, tax cheats, gays and lesbians, polluters, liars, and those who take the Lord’s name in vain.

    Now, that would be a church we could believe in.

  • If Archbishop Sobrinho had done his Googling, he may’ve found this:

    “Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. ‘A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,’ ‘by the very commission of the offense,’ and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law. The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.”

    Absolution can be granted by “the Pope, the bishop of the place or priests authorized by them. In danger of death any priest, even if deprived of faculties for hearing confessions, can absolve from every sin and excommunication.”

  • Tom, the devil’s in the details, better yet in the modal auxiliary. Also, I’m not sure what that bishop would have considered “in danger of death” as low first-birth age in developing and take-off countries is not uncommon, where even pre-teenage girls often carry full term. We should bear in mind that an Italian woman that decided not to abort her pregnancy for the sake of chemotherapy when she’d been diagnosed with cancer was excessively lauded by John Paul II., who labelled her a good example. She died shortly after giving birth and left not only her baby but also her other two or three infants partial orphans.
    This is a terrible case, and I feel bad for the girl, not because of the excommunication (luckily enough Judaism hasn’t got a way of excommunicating anybody, but I know several cases of harrassment against girls that got pregnant pre marriage in Orthodox circles, partly due to abuse – depending on the social standing of the offender, “discreet” measures were taken) but because of the situation she’s in. I’ve got several students that were sexually abused as children, and I’ve seen how it messes people up for their entire lives.

    What irks me more than that bishop’s stringency are those hypocrits with a couple of fun-induced abortions behind them that put on a holy face when going to church / synagogue. Just because their cases aren’t known doesn’t mean they’re morally superior.

  • Certainly not morally superior, froylein.

    This from the Vatican’s right-to-life guru:

    “Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, criticized what he called a ‘hasty’ public declaration of the excommunication of the girl’s mother and the doctors who aborted the girl’s twins.

    “The girl ‘in the first place should have been defended, hugged and held tenderly to help her feel that we were all on her side’, he wrote in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, March 15.

    “’Before thinking about excommunication, it was necessary and urgent to protect her innocent life and bring her back to a level of humanity of which we men of the church should be expert witnesses and teachers,’ he said.

    “’Unfortunately, this is not what happened and it has impacted the credibility of our teaching, which appears in the eyes of many as insensitive, incomprehensible and devoid of mercy,’ he said.

    “Fisichella criticized the way Archbishop Sobrinho handled the situation.

    “’Only because the archbishop of Olinda and Recife hastily declared the excommunication of the doctors’ did this story of despicable, yet all too common, violence against girls and women make newspaper headlines, he said.

    “Fisichella said that because of the Brazilian girl’s young age and her ‘precarious state of health her life was in serious danger’ by continuing the pregnancy.

    “How should one act in these cases?” he asked, underlining that the girl’s case represented an ‘arduous decision for doctors and moral law itself.’

    “Doctors deserve respect for the difficult decisions they must often grapple with, he said, adding that no one nonchalantly makes life-and-death decisions and to even suggest it ‘is unjust and offensive.’

    “He said the Catholic principle that upholds the sanctity of life is unshakeable and ‘abortion has always been condemned by moral law as an intrinsically evil act.’

    “However, because excommunication is incurred automatically at the moment a direct abortion is carried out, ‘there was no need to declare with such urgency and publicity a fact that occurred automatically,’ he said.

    “Fisichella said the church can still be firm with its moral principles and at the same time reach out and show mercy toward others.

    “He told the young girl in his written article: ‘We are on your side. We feel your suffering and we would like to do everything that would help you restore the dignity that you have been deprived of and the love that you will still need.

    ‘There are others who deserve excommunication and our forgiveness, not those who have allowed you to live and who will help you regain hope and trust despite the presence of evil and the wickedness of many people,’ he said.”

  • Archbishop Fisichella was apparently badly informed about the case. For one thing, the girl’s life was not in danger, according to a local priest and medical expert:
    “Even IMIP (Child Maternity Institute of Pernambuco), after the intervention of Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, Archbishop of Recife, declared that the child ran no risk of death and for that reason permitted her to be transferred. The risk would rise at the end of the pregnancy, but it is for that reason that the birth … would be by cesarean section, as happens in the vast majority of the almost 30,000 pregnancies … in adolescents younger than 14 years old, every year in Brazil.”

    Also, the girl did receive a lot of compassion from her parish priest and others:
    “[Fisichella] believed he could speak about [a situation] he did not know, and, what is worse, he did not even have the trouble of first speaking to his brother in the episcopate, and, for his imprudent attitude, he is causing great scandal among the Catholic faithful in Brazil who are believing that Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho was rash in his pronouncements. Instead of seeking his brother in the episcopate, he chose to believe in our openly Anti-clerical press.”

  • Every religion has male supremacy. What bothers me most is men who think they are God telling the rest of us how we should or shouldnt live!!
    The catholic church doesnt have enough money to pay restitution to there victims of child sexual abuse but they got enough tithing money to get a lawyer to take on this abortion case! Pathetic trashy hypocrites.

  • Doe, how about doing some math? The amount of money it takes to do restitution for one victim of child/adolescent sexual abuse is enough to hire several lawyers working on abortion cases. And it isn’t the whole Catholic Church that is paying restitution, it is certain dioceses whose prelates shirked their duty to punish the offenders and remove them from positions where they could repeat their offenses.

    Also, the guilt money isn’t going to undo the sexual abuse, but if the money to hire a lawyer can save one unborn child who poses no real risk to the life or health of the mother, I do believe that that is worth it not only in the eyes of most devout Catholics but also in the eyes of most devout evangelical Protestants and most devout Orthodox Jews (and, I would hope, a good number of Conservative, Reformed, and Reconstruction Jews).

    Do you belong to any of these denominations? Do you not see the irony of you playing G-d telling us to let an unborn child be killed for no compelling reason, without a murmur of protest?

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