The Archbishop of Sao Paulo, Cardinal Odilo Scherer asked Brazilians this week if the country’s Supreme Court legalizes abortion for babies with anencephaly, “what will be the next group ‘incompatible with life’ to be eliminated?”
“The Supreme Court’s ruling will have consequences, as it will enshrine principles for future judicial cases. And so here’s another question: after babies with anencephaly, what will be the next group of discomforting or unwanted people ‘incompatible with life’ on the list to be eliminated?” the cardinal asked in a recent column.
He warned that during the arguments taking place at the Supreme Court, “the life and death of human beings are at stake.” The cardinal reminded the high court justices that it is their duty to ensure that laws are in accord with the Brazilian constitution, which guarantees “the inviolability of the right to life of all Brazilians and all foreigners who are living in the country.”
Cardinal Scherer acknowledged that a gap exists in Brazilian law that should be corrected by Congress in order to protect the rights of the unborn.
Nevertheless, he recalled that Brazil is a signatory of international treaties that must be respected, such as the Costa Rica San Jose Pact, which states that “each person has the right to have his or her life respected” from “the moment of conception.”
Not a matter of religion
On the other hand, Cardinal Scherer said that as a bishop of the Church he is expressing this opinion in accord with Catholic teaching. Yet, he noted, “The protection of innocent and defenseless human life should be of interest to all, above any religious or ideological concepts, because it is a question of humanity and not of religion.”
Science supports the certainty that life begins at conception, the cardinal continued, which is a position the Church defends, and he stressed that “an anencephalic baby is a living human being, and for this reason their fragile lives must be respected.”
“I am happy when I see the position of the Catholic Church associated with the defense of the strict inviolability of human life, including the life of the unborn. Let that be registered for the future,” he said.