By Hilary White

RIO DE JANEIRO, August 30, 2006 ( – In a lengthy interview, an auxiliary Catholic bishop of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, told a Rome news service, Zenit, that the life issues must become central to Catholics’ voting decisions.

With general elections looming in Brazil, Bishop Dimas Lara Barbosa, said that abortion and euthanasia are becoming pressing issues for Christians everywhere. “It is no longer possible to straddle the fence.”

Bishop Lara Barbosa had strong words for politicians who have failed to take a strong stand for life or who have used their religious affiliation disingenuously to gain voter support, saying they should be “swept” out of office.

Bishop Lara Barbosa added, “One should always ask what the candidate’s position is on religious issues. Does he show respect? Does he try to take advantage to win the election? Does he disdain, criticize and even attack the Catholic Church, either by destroying images, as already happened in the past, or by imitating, at times defaming and slandering?”

When asked if there really is a concerted campaign by international organizations to establish abortion in Latin America, Lara Barbosa recalled the US, “National Security Study Memorandum 200,” known as the “Kissinger Report.” The infamous memo – by the one time US National Security Advisor and later Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger – called for the use of coercive methods, including withholding aid money, to reduce the population in developing countries in order to protect American political and economic interests.

Lara Barbosa pointed out that the document states that “no country has reduced the increase of its population without taking recourse to abortion,” and includes Brazil as one of the “13 key countries” to exercise such population control.

The bishop said, “that document is only the tip of the iceberg. Currently there are various population projects in Brazil, a lot of lobbying of the National Congress, and an enormous quantity of money injected in projects by powerful entities, such as the Ford and MacArthur Foundations.”

An abortion mentality is indeed being developed in Brazil, he said, adding that there is an“organized, systematic plan to undermine people’s consciences” being effected through the media. He warned that the “hard cases” are being used to manipulate public opinion, such as cases of “anencephaly”– a child born with some part of the brain undeveloped – to gain sympathy for what he calls the “false solution” of abortion.
  Mothers with difficult pregnancies are often faced, the bishop said, with enormous pressure to abort. “Many expectant mothers, especially the adolescent and poor, go through a real Calvary because of lack of guidance or the threats they suffer from members of their own family, who demand abortion as the condition for an unmarried daughter’s return home.”

He called for “a social, psychological and religious support system for mothers going through an unwanted pregnancy, that could be the result of rape or violence, or whose pregnancy is high-risk.”

The bishops of Brazil have produced a voters guide that says that those elected must “reject any plan that attempts against the family or the dignity of human life,” especially in what it states regarding the legalization of abortion and euthanasia.

“The first criterion to vote for a candidate is his position regarding the defence of the dignity and life of the human person, in all its manifestations, from conception until his natural end with death,” the statement says.


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