By Matthew Hoffman

INDAIATUBA, April 17, 2008 ( – Brazil’s Catholic bishops have reiterated their firm opposition to abortion, noting that “human life is sacred.  The right to life underlies all other rights. From fertilization to its natural end, life is the fruit of the creative action of God, ‘Lord and Friend of Life’, and always remains in a relationship with Him, its only purpose. Every human being has the responsibility to receive and bring to fruition this inestimable divine gift.”

“The Magisterium (teaching authority) of the Church defends the right to life, which is fundamental in any phase of development or condition in which it is found.  Human life cannot be made into an instrument, violated, or destroyed,” wrote the bishops.

The statement, made during the 46th assembly of the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops (CNBB) last week, reiterates the firm stance made by the bishops earlier this year with the launch of their annual Fraternity Campaign with the theme, “Fraternity and the Defense of Life”.

It unequivocally condemns abortion and embryonic stem cell research, denouncing recent attempts to legalize such practices in Brazil.

Citing the recent Aparecida Declaration, made in the western hemisphere’s largest shrine earlier this year, the Bishops said they “invite everyone to unite in the defense of life, repudiating attempts to legalize abortion in our country.  Such an act is morally inadmissible, because it creates many victims: the destroyed child, the mother isolated in her feelings of guilt and psychologically ill, the father who approved or did not oppose it, and the rest of the family.”

The president of the Conference’s Life Commission, Archbishop Orlando Brandes of Londrina, noted that the statement had been drawn up with the help of jurists and doctors.

Brandes reminded the press of the Brazilian public’s overwhelming opposition to the decriminalization of abortion, an opposition that has grown by five percent since last year and now includes over two thirds of the population.

“Ninety-seven percent of the Brazilian people are against abortion, 67% want existing laws regarding abortion to be maintained and not to be changed,” he said. “All of those voices join forces with us in the defense of life.”

Related Links:

Note on the Defense of Life (in Portuguese)

Declaration of Aparecida in Defense of Life, February 10, 2008

Related Coverage:

The Pro-Life Pentecost in Brazil, and what it Means for the Rest of the World

Catholic Diocese Shows Horrors of Abortions to Faithful, Displays Fetal Models in Parishes

The War Continues: Brazil Catholic Bishops Take Pro-Life Battle to the United Nations, and International Foundations

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Brazilian Bishops Launch Major National Campaign Against Abortion, Euthanasia, and Embryonic Stem Cell Research

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