The tribunal judge of the Archdiocese of Lima, Peru, Father Luis Gaspar, recently criticized Colombian priest Fr. Carlos Novoa's statements justifying abortion.
He called on Fr. Novoa to live and think like a Catholic minister, because “you cannot serve God and the devil.”
Fr. Gaspar’s comments came in response to the Colombian priest’s arguments in support of the legalization of abortion using passages from John Paul II’s encyclical, “Evangelium Vitae.”
In statements to CNA, Fr. Gaspar denounced Fr. Novoa’s claim that “as a priest” one could not support the ruling by Colombia’s constitutional court that legalized abortion in three cases, but that “as a citizen” the ruling is “acceptable.”
“How can a brother in the priestly ministry make such an impossible distinction?” asked Fr. Gaspar. “ He says: ‘As a priest … but as a citizen ...’ No Catholic priest should act, think or live in any other way except as a Catholic priest. Either the priestly ministry imbues his entire being, or in some way he is being unfaithful to the ministry he has received.
“God forbid I should ever talk to anyone as citizen and not as a priest,” Fr. Gaspar continued.
He noted that the Church’s teaching on abortion as outlined in paragraphs 2270-2273 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church remains unchanged and is permanent. Likewise, he added, the Code of Canon Law stipulates that the penalty for procuring an abortion is automatic excommunication.
In the specific case of Fr. Novoa, he added, “the competent ecclesiastical authority should intervene. First the Superior General of the Jesuits in Colombia and the bishop of the diocese in which this priest carries out his priestly ministry.”
“When a religious ‘causes grave scandal by obstinately defending or spreading teachings condemned by the Magisterium of the Church,’ the canonical penalties could include expulsion from his religious congregation, removal of faculties for hearing confessions and of the canonical mandate needed for teaching at a Catholic university,” Fr. Gaspar warned.
The director of the Latin American office of the Population Research Institute, Carlos Polo, also criticized Fr. Novoa's comments. “The only thing that will result from the legalization of abortion is the death of more children and more abuse of distressed women, who suffer irreparable harm from abortion,” he said.
Polo added that Fr. Novoa “should be quiet and leave those who deal with women who are suffering alone.”
“A woman who has an unexpected pregnancy and is in need of support and affection,” he said.