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Southern Religion

Archbishop Fisichella stands his ground

Archbishop Salvatore (Rino) Fisichella is standing his ground against an eruption of U.S. “hyper-partisanship” into Vatican affairs. He isn’t going to resign, apologize or lend further ink to his critics.

Five members of the 145-member Pontifical Academy for Life, which Fisichella heads, circulated a letter calling for his resignation.

Their campaign was supported by Judie Brown, president of the American Life League and in an essay by Monsignor Michel Schooyans, an academy member and emeritus professor at Belgium’s Louvain University. Schooyans argued that Fisischella had fallen into a trap of “bogus compassion.”

The letter was greeted with surprise by the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi. CNS reported:

“It’s a bit strange that persons who are members of an academy address a request of this kind without addressing it to the competent authorities,” Father Lombardi said. “It’s astounding and seems incorrect that such a document be given public circulation.”

At issue is the March, 2009, case of a nine-year-old Brazilian girl, about whom Allison Hantschell wrote:

Easy-Bake

I had an Easy-Bake Oven, when I was 9. It made tiny cupcakes and itty-bitty cookies, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since I read about the girl in Brazil.

I don’t know her name, but she’s 9 years old, living in Brazil. Brutally raped by her stepfather, multiple times over a period of years, and finally impregnated with twins.

Nine years old. And instead of playing baseball, or learning numbers, or baking tiny cupcakes and itty-bitty cookies, this little girl is at the center of a worldwide controversy over the Roman Catholic Church, its views on abortion, and, above all, the role of mercy and the incoherence of men.

In response to the abortion, the Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, Brazil, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho announced that he was excommunicating the doctors and the young girl’s mother. When that was not received well, the response was recast.

Anyone (with certain exemptions) who consciously worked to stop a birth excommunicated himself/herself, so:

Brazil’s Catholic bishops conference denied that the archbishop of Recife and Olinda, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, excommunicated the mother and doctors who practiced a legal abortion on a nine-year-old girl that was pregnant with twins after being raped by her stepfather. . . . The secretary general of the bishops conference, Dimas Lara Barbosa, said that the prelate “at no time excommunicated anyone.”

Archbishop Fisichella’s alleged sin was to write in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, that the public declaration of the already automatic excommunications was “hasty” and the nine-year-old girl, whose life was saved by the abortion of twins she was physically unequipped to have, “should have been above all defended, embraced, treated with sweetness to make her feel that we were all on her side, all of us, without distinction.”

For this, he was accused of “pseudo-compassion” – no idle charge. And one he has rejected. For good reason. Indeed, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a clarification in July, reiterating the Catholic Church’s unwavering opposition to abortion and observing that Fisichella’s words had been “manipulated and exploited.”

February 24, 2010 Posted by | Catholic, Health, Politics, Religion | , , , | Comments Off on Archbishop Fisichella stands his ground

Kentucky 1st in child abuse/neglect

Kentucky is 1st in child abuse and neglect deaths, reports Ken Walker of the Western Recorder, that state’s Southern Baptist newspaper.

He and reporter Dannah Prather write:

Released by the Every Child Matters Education Fund of Washington, the report said 41 Kentucky children died in 2007 in circumstances where abuse or neglect was substantiated. That number was higher than the 26 deaths counted by the state. Federal authorities include situations where abuse or neglect occurred, even if it was not a direct cause of death.
. . .
According to the report, Kentucky’s average of 4.09 deaths per 100,000 children led the nation, followed by South Dakota (4.08), Florida (3.79), Nebraska (3.59) and Missouri (3.51).

“It’s heart wrenching that each day in America, five children will die from abuse and neglect, but what’s worse is that the real number is even larger,” said Michael Petit, president of Every Child Matters.

They are also writing about Baptist services to children, yet come right at the need, facts first, flinching from nothing. Baptist state newspapers can still do real journalism.

Read it here.

November 13, 2009 Posted by | Publications, SBC | , , , | Comments Off on Kentucky 1st in child abuse/neglect

[Update] Regarding excommunication of the Brazilian doctors & mother

Anyone (with certain exemptions) who consciously worked to stop a birth excommunicated himself/herself, so:

Brazil’s Catholic bishops conference denied that the archbishop of Recife and Olinda, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, excommunicated the mother and doctors who practiced a legal abortion on a nine-year-old girl that was pregnant with twins after being raped by her stepfather. . . . The secretary general of the bishops conference, Dimas Lara Barbosa, said that the prelate “at no time excommunicated anyone.”

Too cunning an attempt at damage-control.

Sunday, Archbishop Rino Fisichella in the Vatican newspaper that the public declaration of the already automatic excommunications associated with the abortion were “hasty” and the nine-year-old girl, whose life was saved by the abortion of twins she was physically unequipped to have, “should have been above all defended, embraced, treated with sweetness to make her feel that we were all on her side, all of us, without distinction.”

Since that didn’t happen, the matter “has impacted the credibility of our teaching, which appears in the eyes of many as insensitive, incomprehensible and devoid of mercy.”

Truly. Continuously, for many of us, we suspect.

Update: Excommunicated doctor hailed as hero

Brazilian Minister of Health Jose Gomes Temporao called on the audience at a national convention on women’s health in Brasilia to acknowledge the “brilliant” work done by a medical team in the abortion, performed in Brazil’s northeastern city of Recife.

Those in attendance responded with a standing ovation, according to the newspaper O Povo.

But the president, Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva, condemned the excommunication and praised the doctors for their decision to perform the abortion on the girl, who was 15 weeks pregnant. “

According to the Telegraph, Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva a Christian and a Catholic said, “I deeply regret that a bishop has had such conservative behaviour. In this case, medicine is more right than the Church.”

CNN reports:

Dr. Olimpio Moraes, one of the doctors involved in the procedure, said he thanked the archbishop for his excommunication because the controversy sheds light on Brazil’s restrictive abortion laws. He said women in Brazil’s countryside are victimized by Brazil’s ban on abortion.

Conditions for women in Brazil are often brutal.

IPAS, a non-governmental organization that works with the Brazilian health ministry, found in a recent study that more than 1 million women undergo illegal abortions in Brazil each year. About 250,000 women are treated by doctors for botched abortions.

In addition, studies at the Brazilian hospital Perola Byington in Sao Paulo, which is dedicated to treating female victims of violence, indicate that more than 40 percent of its cases involved children.

March 16, 2009 Posted by | Catholic, Religion | , , | Comments Off on [Update] Regarding excommunication of the Brazilian doctors & mother

Child abuse case lost by Hyde Park Baptist

Christa Brown at Stop Baptist Predators documents in detail the decade of problems which preceded a $163,562 award to the one-year-old victim’s family.

Visit Austin Legal for the fire and brimstone community reaction in comments, directed at the church.

February 2, 2009 Posted by | Law, Religion | , , , , | Comments Off on Child abuse case lost by Hyde Park Baptist