Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith backs Brazilian archbishop in dispute over abortion excommunications
July 13, 2009
In a remarkable “clarification” published in L'Osservatore Romano, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has reaffirmed that “the Church’s teaching on procured abortion has not changed, nor can it change,” adding that
the Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,” (Code of Canon Law, can. 1398), “by the very commission of the offense” (Code of Canon Law, can. 1314) and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law (cf. Code of Canon Law, can. 1323-1324). The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.
In issuing the clarification, the Congregation has lent support to retired Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho of Olinda and Recife, Brazil, who was criticized by Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, after he warned that those involved in procuring the abortion would incur automatic excommunication. Archbishop Fisichella had written in L'Osservatore Romano that Archbishop Cardoso Sobrinho’s reaction “in the eyes of many" seemed "insensitive, incomprehensible, and lacking in mercy”-- an article that prompted protests from local Brazilian clergy and the majority of the members of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
- Retractions. The Holy Office Teaches Archbishop Fisichella a Lesson (Chiesa)
- Brazilian archbishop at center of abortion dispute steps down at age 76 (CWN, Jul 1)
- Brazilian archbishop hints at canonical suit against Vatican official (CWN, Jun 9)
- -- Brazilian archbishop, criticized for abortion stand, asks equal time in L'Osservatore Romano (CWN, Jun 4)
- Prelate Denounces Lack of Mercy in Brazil Abortion (Zenit, Mar 18)
- Vatican prelate questions handling of Brazilian abortion excommunications (CWN, Mar 16)
- A Brave Statement (Archdiocese of Olinda and Recife, Mar 16)
- Archbishop Rino Fisichella: Dalla parte della bambina brasiliana (L’Osservatore Romano, Mar 15)
- Cardinal Re defends Brazil abortion excommunications (CWN, Mar 9)
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