Cardinal Norberto Carrera of Mexico City said that the Church offers healing and mercy to women who have been harmed by abortion.
In an interview published on Nov. 6 in the Archdiocese of Mexico City newspaper, “Desde la Fe,” Cardinal Carrera discussed at length the Church's stance on abortion.
On whether or not the Church condemns women who undergo the procedure, Cardinal Rivera insisted that the Church instead has “a message of reconciliation and mercy” for them.
“The Church, like the good mother she is, knows that abortion gravely harms women. For this reason she offers them, above all forgiveness, the ointment that cures the wounds caused by abortion,” he said.
“But she also offers them accompaniment so that they can forgive themselves and overcome the well-known symptoms of the trauma of abortion, which some call post-abortion stress syndrome and which those who promote abortion try to cover up,” the cardinal added.
When abortion is freely and consciously chosen, knowing that it carries with it the penalty of excommunication, he clarified, “a woman who aborts and those who cooperate in the abortion are automatically excommunicated, that is, without the need for an ecclesial authority to issue a decree.”
The Church does not suggest that women who undergo abortions be imprisoned, he explained, but rather that the law discourage abortion as something that is a gravely unjust action. He also denounced feminist groups that seek to turn abortion into a “human right” and manipulate public opinion by falsely claiming that it would lead to a decrease in maternal mortality rates.
Recognition of the right to life should be the first right guaranteed in the laws of a just society, the cardinal stressed. “As a consequence, abortion, like any other homicide, should be clearly identified as a crime that upsets the common good of society, with its corresponding penalties.”
Cardinal Rivera noted that those who profit from the morning-after abortion pill or drugs such as RU-486 are also participating in the same evil.
“In any case, we believe generally speaking that those who support the committing of a crime bear responsibility and should in some way be sanctioned. And those who profit from abortion should be punished,” he said.
Cardinal Rivera also outlined the work done by the Church to help pregnant women who are in difficult situations. “Some even offer them hospitality and medical care during pregnancy, as well as help from experts, including psychologists, sociologists and social workers,” he said.
“Some offer legal advice on giving their children up for adoption when they are unable to raise them themselves. Likewise, many of the faithful and many parishes have established support networks for single mothers, and this kind of aid should continue,” the cardinal added.
He also noted that the Church promotes sexual education that based on love and the moral values and virtues that play an important role in the “harmonious development of the person, with unquestionable benefits for society.”
The cardinal spoke out against those who “seek to justify abortion as part of a strategy against violence and delinquency, arguments that frankly are out of step and are of no benefit even to their own cause. Violence cannot be combated with violence.”
Cardinal Rivera then addressed men who abandon pregnant women, telling them that the Church “reminds you of the responsibility you have before God, yourselves and the women with whom you have procreated, whether willfully or as the result of an irresponsible act, and before society as well.”
“Men who do not fully assume their responsibility in the procreation of a child commit a grave injustice and are responsible for a sin,” he underscored. “They degrade themselves, as it is an act of great cowardice. Society should demand through the law that they answer for their actions.”
Contrary to what abortion proponents claim, he said, “the choice to procreate is not only a matter for the woman; reality sets in. Procreation is a shared matter, the responsibility is shared.”