A group of priests from the Archdiocese of Olinda and Recife in Brazil have published a letter revealing the details of the Church’s true response to the case of a 9 year-old girl pregnant with twins who underwent an abortion, which the press claimed was reduced to merely the imposition of excommunication.
The letter, written in response to an article in the L’Osservatore Romano, indicates, “All of us – beginning with the parish priest of Alagoinha (where the girl is from), undersigned – treated the pregnant girl and her family with all charity and tenderness.”
The pastor, Father Edson Rodrigues, “making use of his pastoral care, when he heard the news in his residence, immediately went to the house of the family, in which he met the girl and lent her his support and presence, before the grave and difficult situation in which the girl found herself. And this attitude continued every day, from Alagoinha to Recife, where the sad event of the abortion of the two innocent babies took place.”
Therefore, the priests wrote, “it is quite evident and unequivocal that nobody thought first of all of ‘excommunication.’” We used all means at our disposal to avoid the abortion and thus save all three lives,” they said.
At the hospital and during the parish priests visits with the girl, “he displayed attitudes of care and attention which made it clear both to the child and to her mother that they were not alone, but that the Church, represented by the local Parish priest, assured them of the necessary assistance and of the certainty that all would be done for the welfare of the girl and to save her two children.”
The priests noted that the girl’s case was made known in Alagoinha on February 25, while comments referring to excommunication were made by Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho on March 3.
“We are convinced that the disclosure of this therapeutic penalty, the excommunication, will do much good to many Catholics, making them avoid this grievous sin,” the priests emphasized in their letter. “The silence of the Church would be very prejudicial,” since it could “be interpreted as collusion or complicity,” they added.
“The hospital in which the abortion on the little girl was performed is one of those in which this procedure is always performed in our state, under the cover of ‘legality,’” they noted. “The doctors who acted as executioners of the twins declared, and still declare in the national media, that they did what they are used to doing ‘with great pride.’”
The letter was signed by Father Edvaldo Bezerra da Silva, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Olinda and Recife; Father Cicero Ferreira de Paula, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Olinda and Recife; Father Moisés Ferreira de Lima, Rector of the archdiocesan seminary; Márcio Miranda, the archdiocese’s attorney; and Father Edson Rodrigues, Pastor of Alagoinha, in the Diocese of Pesqueira.