G20 Girls, Brazil: Abortion fight for raped girl, 9


'Although 73 per cent of Brazil (some 140 million people) is Catholic and the church is adamant on abortion, more than one million Brazilians have abortions every year…

Female life in Brazil is a far cry from carefree image of “The Girl from Ipanema,” says women’s advocate Beatriz Jalli. “We live in a male chauvinist, patriarchal society, with a very high rate of sexual crimes against women and minors, and our reproductive rights are constantly criminalized.”…

In Recife,** the archbishop excommunicated the girl’s mother** as well as the doctors who performed the abortion. Sobrinho allowed that rape is a “serious crime,” but added that “a graver act than (rape) is abortion to eliminate an innocent life.” He did not excommunicate the alleged rapist… ’ :mad:

The article is mis-stating the situation: The girl’s mother, as well as the doctors, as well as anyone else who directly is involved in an abortion, is automatically excommunicated. The Archbishop only announced (or made public) the excommunication. The article implies that the Archbishop had a part in the Church’s status of the girl’s mother and doctors. But that’s not true. According to canon law, excommunication is not a “punishment” but is rather a consequence of someone’s actions that result in them being separated from the Church. This means that those excommunicated are not allowed to partake in Holy Communion. This also means that they are still obligated to fulfill their other Catholic obligations such as attending Mass. They are also called to reconcile with the Church, which they can, by being absolved by the Bishop (or if he gave priests permission to lift excommunications, they can go to their priest).

I feel that this is most unjust factor in the whole equation. I have a lot of difficulty with this.

she was too tiny to bear children, and her stepfather reportedly confessed to having raped her. But the Catholic Church disagreed, with its officials maintaining she should have the babies by caesarean section.

Since the article mispresented excommunication, I’m kind of not willing to accept the word of the author of the article about this above part. The Church usually does not involve itself in the health care or medical concerns of the patient beyond its blanket rules. I believe they may have said something like “she should have the babies”, but I can’t imagine they would dictate how her healthcare was to be delivered. They would leave that up to the doctors with the task of working to treat both. They are not qualified to direct exact treatment. I could be wrong about what the Church said in this case of course, but wouldn’t be the first time the Church would disappoint me… :frowning: but for now I’m taking this part with a grain of salt.

Rapes, murders and other hideous crimes are committed every day in the countries of the world, yet the Church Hierarchy does not go out of its way to proclaim excommunications even when the culprits are known to be Catholic. AIUI, this is because such actions are universally known to be wrong and a grave sin. Whereas, those involved in this instance of abortion may have persuaded themselves they were not doing wrong, and so the Hierarchy believed it needed to make a statement.

Note the word “alleged.” Why would the bishop excommunicate someone when he was not known to be guilty, but merely accused?

I know you don’t know this, but this is an older story. I’m not even sure why it’s still floating around as I don’t believe there was anything new added. But in other articles pertaining to this case, he admitted it. Even after admitting it, the Bishop did not announce his excommunication.

The Church does not consider rape as serious as abortion. Of course, it’s a serious sin, and the rapist is in a state sin, but the Church doesn’t consider it as hineous a sin as abortion.

That does not surprise me, since abortion not only ends life (the worst that can be done to a living human being) but, theologically, we are not even certain it does not eliminate eternal life. (AIUI). As such, there can be no worse sin.

Plus, the bishop doesn’t NEED to excommunicate the rapist, because the rapist’s sin alone severs his relationship with God. You cannot receive communion in a state a mortal sin, hence the rapist excommunicates himself if a manner far more damning than the bishop can ever pronounce.

Lets try looking at it from the perspective presented by the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The Catechism says rape is an instrinsically evil act and that a person who rapes someone often marks their victim for life:


This passage of the Catechism is found under the subtitles…



You shall not commit adultery.113
You have heard that it was said, "You shall *
CCC ; 2356

Rape is the forcible violation of the sexual intimacy of another person. It does injury to justice and charity. Rape deeply wounds the respect, freedom, and physical and moral integrity to which every person has a right. It causes grave damage that can mark the victim for life. It is always an intrinsically evil act. Graver still is the rape of children committed by parents (incest) or those responsible for the education of the children entrusted to them.

Now the Catechism’s main thrust on abortion (although still under the heading “*YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF”) * , is categorized under the Fifth Commandment :

You shall not kill.54
You have heard that it was said to the men of old, “You shall not kill: and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.” But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment.55 *

CCC ; 2270-2272

2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.72

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.73
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.74

2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:

You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.75
God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.76

2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,"77 "by the very commission of the offense,"78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.

This last part - " …the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society" , is essentially saying that by providing/procuring an abortion for the 9 year old girl, you would be marking her a second time for life.

I know several people who have had abortions and I assure you, for these people, the abortion does not somehow “go away” once they’ve made the baby "go away".

One finds in the ensuing sections 2273-2275 of the Catechism vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a5.htm , a brief continuation of the explanation how abortion attacks the very origins of our existence and our right to exist.

These two things - rape and abortion both offend charity and justice, but they differ insofar as which Commandment has been transgressed - they aren’t really up for comparison or to be contrasted against each other.

I thought this topic had been throughly whipped, kicked, prodded, poked and finally closed in another thread?:confused: :confused:

The stepfather admitted to the rape of the 9 year old girl.

The Doctor admitted to having performed the abortion.

What don’t you understand? Let me know, perhaps I can help clarify the matter for you.

I thought this topic had been throughly whipped, kicked, prodded, poked and finally closed in another thread?:confused: :confused:

Is the step father in jail or otherwise convicted and sentenced?

Even though the excommunication is automatic I wonder if the Bishop could have sought a waiver?

Even though this girl has attained the “age of reason” I don’t believe she could really appreciate the consequences.

Legally it was her mother who had to consent to the abortion – and could have done so against her will. Maybe all she heard fom the doctor and her mother, both authority figures, was “This operation will save your life.”

If we shouldn’t assume that the stepfather is guilty we should extend the same courtesy to this poor girl.

The article did not say that the child was excommunicated; only her mother and the doctors involved.

The bishop only excommunicated the mother and doctors involved in the abortion itself. The girl and the girl’s child are the victims here :frowning: and shouldn’t be (and weren’t) punished.

The stepfather admitting the crime was already told to me by a previous poster.

I didn’t read the article because (a) I wanted to save time (I felt I could address you without reading the whole thing), and (b) I find the Toronto Star so far to that left that I don’t enjoy reading it, so if it said it in there, I was not aware of that.

I don’t know why you even brought up the doctor - I wasn’t talking about him/her.

I agree with what has already been said, that the rapist, assuming he had the full knowledge and full consent of the will necessary for mortal sin to be have occured, would already have severed his relation with God. I also agree with other posters that abortion is not nearly as bad as rape, no matter what our liberal country (I see you’re in Canada) permits.

Also (once again, I am avoiding the Toronto Star article), does anyone know if the rapist was Catholic? I know it is statistically likely that he is, but I didn’t read it stated in any of the news reports when this story broke. If he was not Catholic, he could not be excommunicated.

This is an example of a situation where the Bishop was technically correct but could have handled it with a bit more tact and sensitivity. For starters, the 9 year old can hardly be culpable of anything. She scared, confused, victimized and simply going along with whatever she’s told. While there’s no canonical penalty attached to her, by making this public statement he’s adding even more guilt, shame, and stress to this poor girl.

The mother, while making a tragic decision for her daughter, faced a situation that no one on earth would want to face.

There was no need to publicly drag these people into the mud. Private communication and meetings would probably have been much more helpful.

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