The leadership of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil has strongly condemned the abuse suffered by a 9 year-old girl who was raped by her stepfather, became pregnant with twins and was submitted to an abortion several days ago.
The bishops expressed their bewilderment at what had happened to the girl. “We vehemently repudiate this insane act and we defend [the need for] a rigorous investigation into the facts, and we call for those responsible to be duly punished in accord with justice,” they said in a statement.
The bishops expressed regret that the case was not isolated. “We are concerned about the growing number of attacks on the lives of children who are victims of sexual abuse. In this context, the Church is united with her and with all the children who are victims of this type of brutality and their families,” the bishops said.
They also recalled that “in fidelity to the Gospel,” the Church “always speaks out in support of life and unequivocally condemns all acts of violence that offend human dignity.”
The bishops in the northeastern region of Brazil, where the girl lives, said the defense of life is “a principle that guides the practice of the Church in Brazil,” as was the case “during the military regime of 1964, when the Church spoke out in defense of life and the dignity of persons, the defense of the human rights of the political refugees that were persecuted and tortured.”
According to the bishops, an awareness of human rights “leaves no room for any kind of violence, especially against children and women. In this concrete case, we reject the rape and sexual abuse suffered by the girl.”
However, they noted, “what is protected by law does not always coincide with what is in accord with ethical principles and moral values. For us, the Lord’s commandment, Thou shalt not kill, will always take priority.”
Given the complexity of the case, we regret that it has not been faced with the serenity, tranquility and time that the situation demanded. In addition, we are not in agreement with the final result of eliminating the lives of defenseless human beings.” “It falls to us to externalize our beliefs publicly in defense of life, which is always a gift from God.”