In March, a rather surprising article was published in the Vatican's newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano by Archbishop Fisichella who heads the Pontifical Academy for Life in which he condemned the actions of the Brazilian archbishop. This raised eyebrows across the world as the statements by Fisichella seemed to fly in the face of basic Catholic teaching. For some, this may be hard to understand, but it boils down to the fact that, the ends don't justify the means. Evil cannot be done (murder of the innocents) for the good of the girl (remember that her life was not threatened with the pregnancy). One cannot say that she was "punished with a baby" due to someone else's evil action (which, if memory serves, was a case of incest). The unborn cannot be punished with death because an act of evil made it possible for them to come into being. Catholic teaching does permit medical procedures needed to save a woman that could put the unborn at risk, but is not intended to terminate a pregnancy. The babies in this case would not have had to gestate to full term, but could have been taken by C-Section as soon as they were considered viable, then given up for adoption.
The distinugished Italian journalist, Sandro Magister offered an excellent recap from beginning to where it stood last week, which would be helpful to read if you are just learning about this case, or if you struggle with Catholic teaching on the issue.
Now, the Holy See has gotten involved. It is a clarification from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which repudiates what is written in the original article by Fisichella. This vindicates a villified Archbishop Sobrinho, whose retirement was just accepted by the Holy See (and exploited by some to justify the position of those who felt he was wrong).
Go Read: Retractions. The Holy See Teaches Archbishop Fisichella a Lesson by Sandro Magister which contains the CDF statement in full.
Related Links (to be updated for reaction since this is breaking news so check back for more links)
- The Recife excommunications: Summum ius, summa iniuria (Ed Peters, JD, JCD)
- Vatican Newspaper Issues CDF Clarification on Abortion in Wake of Fisichella Controversy (LSN)
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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!