By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

VATICAN CITY, March 9, 2009 ( – The Vatican has expressed approval for the excommunication announced last week in Brazil against a doctor who performed an abortion on a young girl pregnant with twins, as well as those family members who gave permission for the procedure (see LifeSiteNews coverage at

“It’s a sad case, but the real problem is that the twins conceived were two innocent persons, who had the right to live and could not be eliminated,” said Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Stampa.

Responding to attacks on the Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, who announced the excommunications, Battista Re said, “Life must always be protected, the attack on the Brazilian Church is unjustified.”

Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho has been denounced by Brazil’s pro-abortion President Luiz Lula for the excommunication, as well as the nation’s health minister Jose Gomes Temporao. However, he has refused to recant, telling one newspaper, “I’m not sorry.  What I did was to declare the excommunication.  It is my obligation to alert the people, so that they may fear the laws of God.”

The leadership of the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops (CNBB) has also issued a statement of support for Cardoso Sobrinho.

“The Church, in fidelity to the Gospel, positions itself always in favor of life, in an unequivocal condemnation of all violence done against the dignity of the human person,” they wrote, adding that “in the face of the complexity of the case, we lament that has not been faced with serenity, tranquility, and the necessary time that the situation demanded.  Furthermore, we do not agree with the final outcome of eliminating the life of defenseless human beings.”

The girl, who has not been identified by the Brazilian media, was found to be pregnant with twins at the age of nine.  Her stepfather has confessed to sexually abusing her for several years and is now in police custody.  Her mother decided to authorize an abortion despite the fact that her health was not immediately threatened by the pregnancy.

Abortion is illegal under Brazilian law, but is not penalized in cases of rape or danger to the life of the mother. 

Related coverage:

Archbishop Announces Excommunication of Doctor and Family Members for Abortion on Nine-Year-Old Girl

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

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