FATIMA, Portugal, May 23, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The rector of Portugal’s Fatima Shrine, Fr. Carlos Cabecinhas, is again refusing permission to members of the National Pro-life Referendum Committee to collect signatures favoring a national vote on the issue of abortion.
Since 2007, abortion has been legal in Portugal during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, and is financed by the government at taxpayer’s expense.
In a recent e-mail to Luis Botelho, leader of the Committee and president of Portugal Pro Vida, Cabceinhas writes that “the Fatima Shrine maintains the same prohibition that was communicated previously,” in 2012, when the Committee first asked for permission to collect the signatures.
Rejecting arguments that the Shrine is violating Portuguese law, Cabecinhas argues that “it is our understanding that the Shrine can prohibit the intended action. Among other reasons, it should be noted that the proposed activity could conflict with the purpose of the Shrine, which is for strictly religious purposes.”
Cabecinhas denies that he is seeking to “prohibit, impede, or create difficulties for the exercise of the right of petition,” but expresses his concern that “it is still our conviction allowing an exception in this matter would create a precedent that would bring about a great profusion of requests in the future, without any possibility of accommodation on the part of the Shrine.”
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