By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

RIO DE JANEIRO, March 12, 2008 ( – The Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro has launched an aggressive campaign to combat the “Culture of Death” in Brazil, including displays of life-size fetal models in parishes and graphic depictions of the horror of abortion.

According to local reports, in at least one parish the archdiocese is showing videos of abortions to the faithful during talks that are given on the subject.  The videos include soundtracks of doctors explaining how abortions are carried out.  Audience members have reportedly become nauseated and have even vomited while watching them.

The archdiocese has also reportedly obtained 600 fetal models to distribute to all of its 264 parishes.  The models are being displayed on pillows in prominent places in parishes and even suspended in gel to simulate a womb.

“If it weren’t placed at the front of the altar, it would be difficult to notice, but it is good that it has an impact on the young people so that they can see that from the moment of fertilization there is a heart beating in the body of the mother, there is already a life.  Ending that life is a crime,” said one parishioner to the Brazilian publication Globo.

“The figure symbolizes our Lenten commitment to defend life at every stage,” said Father Jorge Luiz Pereira da Silva.

The use of graphic images to inform the public about abortion in Rio de Janeiro is part of a larger campaign initiated several weeks ago by the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops (CNBB), called “Fraternity and the Defense of Life.”

Although Brazil’s Catholic bishops have generally been very reticent to speak out against abortion, and have even maintained links with the deceptive pro-abortion organization “Catholics for the Right to Decide”, they have recently shown a new willingness to denounce abortion, euthanasia, and other attacks on human life.

The Fraternity and Defense of Life campaign includes the distribution of pro-life literature in dioceses, as well as the intention to confront pro-abortion politicians over their distortion of the issue, according to the CNBB.

The Cardinal Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, Eusebio Scheid, explains on his website that “the theme of the Fraternity Campaign emphasizes the defense of life in every stage of its development: against the crime of abortion, against the contempt for the promotion of humanity, against the insecurity in the face of daily violence and, finally, against euthanasia, the so-called ‘assisted death’, which in addition to being a grave offense against God, is a crime.”

“Without any doubt, the worst crime is abortion,” the Cardinal continues, “because it is the murder of defenseless infants.  And don’t come to us with contrived and absurd arguments, affirming that the woman has a right to her body.”

“The unborn child can never bee seen as a ‘part’ of the body of the mother, although he has a vital dependence on her for his development.  It is good to accentuate it clearly.  The uterus of the mother is the sanctuary of life of an unborn person.”