.- Reacting to news that a mentally disabled woman who allegedly conceived through rape was finally administered an abortion, Archbishop Jose Maria Arancibia of Mendoza said, “The Church appeals to consciences and speaks with honesty; she trusts above all in the truth spoken with love.”
The archbishop sent a message to pastors and to the laity of his archdiocese encouraging them in their defense of human life. After expressing his sorrow over the news, he said, “We do not judge, nor condemn. We offer our prayers to God.”
Likewise, he explained that as soon as the situation of the young woman became known, “a priest from the diocese went to the hospital” where she received the abortion. “In such cases, the first thing to do is to listen and be informed.”
“From the beginning of this delicate issue, we have tried balance firmness and charity in the defense of life with respect for individuals and institutions,” he went on. “This presupposes respectfully addressing the complexity of the human and ethical problem posed by the young woman’s case: the human rights of the mother and the unborn child, the respect for the law that governs us and its relationship to the moral order. A simplification of the problem would save us a lot of headaches. But would we be acting in fidelity to the Gospel?” he asked. “Would we not be betraying our consciences as citizens?”
Archbishop Arancibia praised Catholics for taking an interest in the issue and actively participating in the debate. “They have made legitimate use of the means that democracy puts into the hands of citizens when they want to defend what they consider to be most important for social life,” he said. “It is unjust to characterize their conduct as authoritarian or dogmatic.”
“What attitude should we have as Catholics towards these events?” he asked. “We recognize and promote the legitimate laicity of the state and of the courts. We are respectful of the institutions that govern our society. We do not want to simply impose our faith on anybody. We defend human values common to all, on the basis of our faith in God. The means possessed by the Church are those of Christ: speaking to conscience, truth, and charity,” he added.