By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent
RECIFE, Brazil, April 13, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In sharp contrast to his predecessor, and in apparent defiance of the moral doctrine of the Catholic Church, the Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, Brazil, has implied that an abortion performed on a minor child in his diocese may be justifiable, and has done nothing to prevent it, claiming the decision is "for the parents."
Archbishop Fernando Saburido, who last year replaced the strongly pro-life Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, told the local newspaper Bem Paraná on Saturday that he was "sad about the situation" but added that "the decision is for the parents, who have all of the freedom to act in the way that they believe to be most convenient."
Although there appear to be no reports that the girl's life was at risk, the archbishop implied that the abortion could be justified on those grounds.
"If there is a medical consensus that the life of the mother is at risk, abortion is something to be considered," he said, paradoxically adding, "However, the Church is against the procedure. We defend the preservation of life, of all lives."
The archbishop's comments were similar to others he made in an interview with the Diario de Pernambuco newspaper the same day. When asked about the case, he expressed opposition to an abortion, but when asked, "If the child's life is at risk, the abortion should be an option?" he responded, "That decision is a medical one, much more than one having to do with the Church."
"It depends on the medical opinion, on the situation," he added "Also, one can't radicalize things. Sometimes you commit an act to defend the life of a person, so it makes sense."
Saburido's statements appear to contradict Catholic teaching on the intrinsic evil of direct abortions. Although Catholic moral teaching allows doctors to administer lifesaving treatments that could cause the death of an unborn child, which are called "indirect abortions," it condemns all direct abortions as gravely evil.
Although pro-abortion organizations and doctors often claim that pregnancies at an early age threaten the life of the mother, statistics from Brazil itself indicate a level of maternal mortality for girls ages 10-14 that is much lower than that of the general population.
The Brazilian media is noting the difference between Archbishop Saburido's reaction to the abortion, and his predecessor's reaction to a similar abortion carried out in 2009.
The then-Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, José Cardoso Sobrinho, worked diligently to prevent the abortion on a nine-year-old girl who was allegedly raped by her stepfather. He sent counselors and offered material aid to the family, waged a media campaign, and even initiated legal proceedings in a local court.
When the abortion was performed in spite of his efforts, Cardoso announced the excommunication of the doctors and all others who aided in the process, in accordance with the Catholic Church's Code of Canon Law. Although his actions were controversial in Brazil, he and diocesan officials stood by them.
Bem Paraná notes that "in contrast with what occurred almost a year ago, when another child, nine years of age, also a victim of sexual abuse, passed through the same process in the health unit, there was no polemic involving the religious leaders of the Catholic Church in Pernambuco" in the current case.
National Conference of Brazilian Bishops
SE/Sul Quadra 801 Conjunto “B” - 70.200-014 - BRASÍLIA – DF
Phone: (61) 2103-8300
Fax: (61) 2103-8303
To email the staff, copy and paste the following addresses into the "To" section of your email:
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Related LifeSiteNews coverage:
International Pro-Abortion Group Conspired With Hospital to Kill Unborn Twins in Famous Brazilian Case