.- Archbishop Baltazar Porras Cardozo of Merida and president of the Bishops’ Conference of Venezuela, reiterated this past week the Church’s rejection of a proposal to legalize abortion in cases of rape and incest through a reform of the country’s penal code. During his opening address to the Venezuelan bishops gathered for their general assembly, Archbishop Porras stated, “The attack against the dignity of women and their right to spiritual and bodily integrity should not compromise the primary right to life.”
“The proposal to reform the penal code would lead to greater social problems since poor women would be better helped with improved housing and dignified employment than with abortions,” he added.
The archbishop said the “attempts to discredit the bishops in their right to speak and act on moral issues that affect the integrity of the human person are an attempt to restrict their exercising of the right to religious freedom.”
For his part, Bishop Mario Moronta of San Cristobal told legislators that the Church is steadfast in her defense of the culture of life and he recalled that “the Constitution itself defends life from the moment of conception.” In the case of rape, he added, it is unjust to condemn the child to death “while the perpetrator’s own life is spared.”