By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio BUENOS AIRES, October 5, 2007 ( – In the wake of a clandestine abortion performed on a retarded woman with the help of the nation’s health minister, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio and other Catholic authorities have let loose a torrent of criticism against the promoters of the “death sentence” for unborn children in Argentina, as well as other anti-life policies and customs.

In a speech given to a gathering of priests and laity on October 2nd, the cardinal pointed out that people say that “we aren’t in agreement with the death penalty,” but “in Argentina we have the death penalty. A child conceived by the rape of a mentally ill or retarded woman can be condemned to death.”

The cardinal made the remarks while presenting the final version of the “Aparecida Document”, a joint statement of the bishops of Latin America regarding the situation of the Church in their countries. The document, approved by Pope Benedict XVI in July of this year, makes a very clear statement regarding the consequences of supporting abortion, disallowing holy communion for anyone who facilitates an abortion, including politicians.

The text states in paragraph 436 that “we should commit ourselves to ‘eucharistic coherence’, that is, we should be conscious that people cannot receive holy communion and at the same time act or speak against the commandments, in particular when abortion, euthanasia, and other serious crimes against life and family are facilitated. This responsibility applies particularly to legislators, governors, and health professionals.”

Bergoglio noted that “the most mentioned word in the Aparecida Document is ‘life’, because the Church is very conscious of the fact that the cheapest thing in Latin America, the thing with the lowest price, is life.”

The cardinal called the abuse of children “demographic terrorism,” and blasted Argentine society for tolerating their exploitation. “Children are mistreated, and are not educated or fed. Many are made into prostitutes and exploited,” he said. “And this happens here in Buenos Aires, in the great city of the south. Child prostitution is offered in some five star hotels: it is included in the entertainment menu, under the heading ‘Other’.”

The prelate also denounced a “culture of discarding” regarding the elderly, which treats them as if they are disposable and worthless due to their advanced age.

“In Argentina there is clandestine euthanasia. Social services pay up to a certain point; if you pass it, ‘die, you are very old’. Today, elderly people are discarded when, in reality, they are the seat of wisdom of the society,” he said, and observed that “the right to life means allowing people to live and not killing, allowing them to grow, to eat, to be educated, to be healed, and to be permitted to die with dignity.”

The Kirchner administration, which provided free transportation to facilitate the recent abortion when local doctors refused to do it, denounced the association made by the cardinal between abortion and child abuse, stating that “the diagnosis of the Church in relation to social problems in Argentina is correct, but to mix that with abortion and euthanasia, is at least a clear example of ideological malfeasance.”

See Previous Coverage:

Constitutional Struggle in Argentina Ends in Death for Unborn Child

Pro-Life Ruling Overturned—Grandparent Fights for Life of Mentally Disabled Daughter’s Unborn Child

Pro-Abortion Groups Seek Proceedings Against Pro-Life Judge in Argentina

Two Latin American Babies Saved from Abortion by their Governments

Argentina Doctors to Government: You can’t Expect Us to Start Practicing Abortion

Argentina Judge Stops Abortion for Mentally Disabled Woman