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After distorted interview, Brazilian archbishop reaffirms Catholic teaching on abortion
Archbishop Fernando Saburido.
Archbishop Fernando Saburido.

.- After an interview with a Brazilian newspaper appeared to indicate he supported abortion, Archbishop of Olinda e Recife Fernando Saburido has said there was “a misunderstanding” and that he may have been insufficiently clear. He said he fully adheres to Catholic teaching that life is a “gift from God.”

Last year the then-archbishop of his diocese, Jose Cardoso-Sobrinho, said that anyone who performed or facilitated an abortion would incur an automatic excommunication. Archbishop Sobrinho's remarks came in response to the case of an abortion performed on a nine-year-old pregnant with twins after being raped by her mother’s companion.

Recently a forced abortion was performed on a 10-year-old girl, who became pregnant after being raped by her stepfather.

Archbishop Saburido responded to the new case by reiterating Catholic teaching that life must be defended at all points. However, during an interview with a local Brazilian newspaper, Diario de Pernambuco, he appeared to imply that abortion was permitted if deemed necessary by a physician.

In a statement provided to CNA, Archbishop Saburido said there was a “misunderstanding.”

“I adhere, in fullness; to the teaching of our Holy Church which defends life and does not admit, under any circumstances, its destruction because it is a gift from God that only He can take away,” he explained.

Noting that there are some specific cases in Brazil in which abortion is not penalized, he said: “With the Church, I believe that this law is contrary to the basic principles of Christian ethics and cannot be accepted, because it is a law that kills.”

He said he disagreed with the case of the pregnant girl, saying he believes it to be “anti-Christian for taking away a life that could have perfectly been saved.”

“A family willing to adopt the baby would have not been missing, providing affection and dignity,” he continued.

He said his comments to the press corps on April 10 would verify his position against abortion in any circumstances.

“In the specific case of the Diario de Pernambuco, I believe the interview was biased, with repetitive questions, and I admit I may have not been sufficiently clear, leaving room for doubts that I want to clarify by means of this statement,” he continued.

“I believe that all those who know me and know my history, will never have doubts regarding my love for the Church and my fidelity to her Magisterium,” Archbishop Saburido’s statement concluded.


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September 1, 2014

Monday of the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

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Gospel:: Lk 4:16-30

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