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By Hilary White

6/10/2009 (6 years ago)

LifeSiteNews (

Officials in Brazil seeking to find an amicable solution before a canonical lawsuit is issued.


By Hilary White

LifeSiteNews (

6/10/2009 (6 years ago)

Published in Americas

ROME ( - The public argument between Vatican officials and the archdiocese of Olinda and Recife over the abortion of the twins of a nine-year-old rape victim in Brazil continues as the archdiocese today distributed a legal memorandum to Vatican officials, detailing what the local Church in Brazil did and attempted to do to help the girl.

The memorandum, says the head of the Rome office of Human Life International, is likely an attempt to find an "amicable and Christian solution" to the conflict in order to avoid a canonical lawsuit against Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, head of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Monsignore Ignacio Barreiro told, "It is the Christian thing to do, to try to find an amicable solution before you go to trial."

The six-page memorandum, written in Italian and signed on each page by Marcio Miranda, the attorney for the archdiocese, was distributed today to over a hundred Curial officials of the Vatican administration. It lays out in detail everything that was done by archdiocesan officials in Olinda and Recife, including by the girl's parish priest, to attempt to help her and avoid the abortion of her twin children.

In his article, published on March 15th in the Vatican's newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Archbishop Fisichella said that Recife's Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho's announcement of the excommunication of the doctors who had procured the abortion, had been "hasty," and that the diocese had done nothing to help the girl.

Fisichella wrote, "Before thinking about the excommunication it was necessary and urgent to protect this innocent life and bring a level of humanity of which we men of the Church should be experienced preachers and teachers. That it was not, unfortunately, affected the credibility of our teaching that appears in the eyes of many as insensitive, incomprehensible and without mercy."

But the memorandum tells a very different story. The announcement of the excommunication came, it says, as a last ditch effort, after the girl had been removed from the first hospital, Materno Infantile in Recife, and was taken by state officials and members of an abortion activist group, to an unknown location for the abortion.

It shows that long before issuing his announcement, Archbishop Cardoso had been in direct contact with the director of the first hospital who had confirmed that the girl did not run any risk to her life if she continued the pregnancy to term. The director was considering allowing doctors with the archdiocese to meet with the girl and her mother, and had said that the abortion would not go forward until he had obtained specific permission from the courts.

After the girl's disappearance, the archbishop made an appeal in the local media asking that the abortion not go ahead and warning of the spiritual consequences for those who participate in the killing of an unborn child through abortion.

Since then, Archbishop Cardoso has said that L'Osservatore Romano has refused to publish his side of the story, even after the archdiocese issued a strong rebuttal saying that Fisichella had written his article without having contacted the archbishop or any diocesan officials. Cardoso told a French newspaper Present, "It's a natural right to be allowed to respond if someone has been publishing false information, for who knows which motive."

In a letter to Vatican officials, Msgr. Barreiro said that Fisichella's article had perpetrated an injustice against Archbishop Cardoso. "If Archbishop Fisichella, before writing his article, had ascertained the facts ... I am sure that he would not have written what he has given to the press, causing obvious damage to the reputation of Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho," Msgr. Barreiro wrote.

In a letter to pro-life leaders who have protested the article, Fisichella admitted that he had not contacted anyone in the Brazilian diocese. "I personally was not required to hear the Bishop of Recife since the article was written on request," he wrote.

But Barreiro says that the "orders of superiors" do not "cancel the obligation" to inquire into the facts of a situation before writing about it, in particular when the article can damage the reputation of another person. "If someone has been attacked publicly in his good name, he has the right to defend himself publicly."

The memorandum concludes, "Taking into account the facts that have been presented, it is necessary that all the critics of [Archbishop Cardoso] should reflect and recognise that their hasty judgements were unfounded and they should redress the evil perpetrated, rendering justice to Archbishop Cardoso Sobrinho."

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