By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent

RECIFE, BRAZIL, June 3, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, is asking that the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano publish his response to Archbishop Salvatore "Rino" Fisichella, who criticized him on its pages on March 15 for having announced the excommunication of the doctors who assisted in a now-famous abortion on a nine-year-old girl.

"It seems to me important that L’Osservatore Romano should publish my response," Cardoso told the French newspaper Present in a recent interview. "This is what we are trying to obtain, as we have been from the start."

"We sent the archdiocese’s response to Mgr Fisichella’s article to Rome. It’s a natural right to be allowed to respond if someone has been publishing false information, for who knows which motive: the readers of L'Osservatore should also be in a position to know the other point of view."

The article, entitled "On the Side of the Brazilian Girl," shocked the pro-life world by defending the doctors who killed the unborn twins of a nine-year-old child in Recife, Brazil, and criticizing Cardoso for announcing the automatic excommunication from the Catholic Church incurred under Church law for committing an abortion.

Cardoso observes that the piece by Fisichella contained raw factual errors. In particular the article implied that the world would never have known about the case if the Archbishop had not mentioned the excommunication, suggested that Cardoso had immediately announced the excommunication without prior contact with the media, and that the girl's life was in danger from the pregnancy.

In reality, the Brazilian media had already been reporting on the girl's situation for several days, and the hospital where she was initially admitted acknowledged that she was in no danger at the time of the abortion (see LifeSiteNews' extensive coverage).

Cardoso also explains that he had already spoken to the media several times even before the abortion was committed. “I expressed myself several times [to the media] because this affair of a nine year-old pregnant girl attracted widespread media attention," he said. "Above all, we did all that depended on us to save three lives: not only the life of the little girl, but the three lives. When the abortion finally did take place, I simply recalled once more the law of the Church.”

Pro-abortion activists, including the former President of "Catholics for Choice," Frances Kissling, openly applauded the article by Fisichella, which critics have said used rhetoric similar to that of the pro-abortion movement.

Although the Archdiocese of Olinda and Recife has responded to the charges, L'Osservatore Romano has yet to reprint any of the material defending the decision by Cardoso. However, two members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Judie Brown and Joseph Seifert (see coverage), have objected publicly to what they have said is an attack on Cardoso, as has Human Life International and other pro-life organizations.

Related Links:

English translation of "On the Side of the Brazilian Girl" by Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella
http://novantiqua.com/2009/03/20/translation-of-archbishop-fisichellas-intervention-on-the-brazilian-excommunications/

Declaration of the Archdiocese of Olinda and Recife
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09031805.html

Related LifeSiteNews coverage:

International Pro-Abortion Group Conspired With Hospital to Kill Unborn Twins in Famous Brazilian Case
Part I - http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09032018.html
Part II - http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09032413.html
Part III - http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09032018.html