VATICAN CITY -- A 9-year-old Brazilian girl and the doctors who performed the girl's abortion needed the Catholic Church's care and concern, not its condemnation, said a leading Vatican official.
Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, criticized what he called a "hasty" public declaration of the excommunication of the girl's mother and the doctors who aborted the girl's twins.
The girl "in the first place should have been defended, hugged and held tenderly to help her feel that we were all on her side" he wrote in the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, March 15.
"Before thinking about excommunication, it was necessary and urgent to protect her innocent life and bring her back to a level of humanity of which we men of the church should be expert witnesses and teachers," he said.
"Unfortunately, this is not what happened and it has impacted the credibility of our teaching, which appears in the eyes of many as insensitive, incomprehensible and devoid of mercy," he said.
I would say that I agree with both sides of the coin here. The Bishop who did the hasty excomminication was apt to defend life as we need to do. He was also thinking as someone who follows the law as it reads in Natural Law. Also because excommunication occurs when an abortion is carried out automatically, there was really no need for a public declaration--but rather a much needed issuance of a public announcement for an outreach of reconciliation. It would have been more prudent to say: "We know that this situation was difficult. This little girl now adds the pain that abortion brings to any mother and to any child. The church needs to uphold the rights of the unborn to live but now also holds her arms open to this little girl and her family in hopes of reconciling them more fully into the church's healing ministry. Project Rachel (or the equivalent) will work with this family very closely to heal them from this pain."
And while the solution to this 9 year old girl's pregnancy is unfortunate--the only other solution seemed to include her likely death. This is a moral dilemma of the highest caliber and while Natural Law would require us to defend the unborn life here many consciences might opt to ignore that option in this case. A rare situation to say the least.
Let's pray for the child who was raped as well as the innocent life that once stirred within her. Let's also pray for wisdom, so that we one day will know God's will for situations like this that don't seem cruel one way or the other.
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