Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho of Recife, Brazil has rebuffed reports that the Church excommunicated a 9 year-old girl whose twins were aborted. The girl underwent the abortion after a court ordered it, citing the fact that she was pregnant because of rape.
The Brazilian press attacked the Catholic Church today, falsely reporting that the 9-year old girl, raped earlier this year by her step-father and pregnant with twins, had been excommunicated.
The Archbishop of this Northeastern Brazilian region explained that, contrary to the press reports, all those involved in the abortion have incurred in excommunication latae sententiae (automatically) “except for the little girl, who is not morally responsible for this tragic act.”
The girl was required to have the twins aborted on Thursday at a hospital in Recife, Brazil.
The Catholic Church teaches that a person who commits a sin of grave matter must be fully conscious, or in this case, have a mature understanding of the act they are committing. Archbishop Cardoso said that “in order to incur an excommunication, it is required to have a full conscience of the act. In this sense, the Church is benevolent with the minors and the victims of abortion.”
“All those who approved, promoted and performed the abortion, incurred automatic excommunication, according to code 1398 of the Canon Law.”
The case has drawn widespread attention since abortion is illegal, except under specific circumstances, and because Brazil is the world’s most heavily Catholic country.
“The Church usually does not announce or publicly that that is the case, but it was important for me to do it on this occasion,” Cardoso said.
“My hope is that those affected by the excommunication they brought upon themselves may change their hearts and may not wait until the proximity of death to repent,” he concluded.