Within this predominantly Catholic country lies a state in the north-east known as Pernambuco.
In this state lives a little girl. A girl whose name is unknown, but the events surrounding her, however, is known.
This is about that little girl, and the reaction of the biggest Church in the world.
This girl, who is nine by the way, was raped, by her stepfather. She has been abused by this man since she was six. He also abused her older sister who is 14.
However, a situation arose. She became pregnant.
Doctors examined her, and believed that she would not be able to deliver the babies. She would need to have an abortion to save her life.
However abortion is illegal in Brazil, except in cases where the health of the mother is in jeopardy. Her's was, and so it was legal to give her an abortion.
It happened on Wednesday.
However, there were repercussions.
The Catholic Church were annoyed. They had tried to stop the abortion and failed. So they did something that most people think stopped happening ages ago.
The doctors and nurses involved, and even the mother of the girl are now forbidden to receive the Eucharist, do anything in Mass and a few other things.
There has been no mention as to whether the rapist has also been excommunicated.
The story of the girl ends here. She was not excommunicated because she is too young. Those who were will have to go to the bishop, the local ordinary, or someone who has been empowered to remove excommunications. However I doubt that in this case it will be easy.
The sad thing is that the Church has really moved anger towards themselves, instead of against the rapist in question. They should have just kept out of it, but they didn't.
As I said before, the girl being pregnant was a health risk. According to Fatima Maia, the director of the hospital, and I'd assume a doctor, stated:
"She is very small. Her uterus doesn't have the ability to hold one, let alone two children,"
However a person by the name of Marcio Miranda, who is a lawyer for the diocese, believed that the girl should have carried the twins for the full term and had a caesarian. Becasuse we all know that ignorance is the best way to make any decision at all.
The archbishop isn't any better:
(Source: Fox News)
"The law of God is higher than any human laws, [...] When a human law — that is, a law enacted by human legislators — is against the law of God, that law has no value. The adults who approved, who carried out this abortion have incurred excommunication."
So it works this way. The director quoted the opinion of doctors. These doctors however, don't know the human body as well as a lawyer. The lawyer on the other hand, most likely knows less about the law then the archbishop.
But the archbishop is just parroting something that the Church has been claiming for about 1500 years. Popes have convened councils that ended up stating that the Pope, with spiritual authority, was the first amongst those with temporal authority because God gives people temporal authority, and since the Pope is the messenger of God, he is first.
It's not very logical but I don't think the Church actually cares.
I don't know where it says that you can't have an abortion, but I think that it is something that has no actual biblical roots, or from any teachings of Jesus. But apparently it's God's law, and a God who people claim is all about love and compassion shall not be overruled by man, who want to save the life of a little girl.
The actions here, along with this unrelated event, show that the Church is at least trying to be consistent. But do you really think people would give a damn if you did nothing in this case? Are people really going to cry "The Catholic Church is hypocritical" because you don't excommunicate these people?
Ok, the answer is probably.
But, we do see some Catholics who don't like what happened. Like the President of Brazil, who even stated that the doctors were right.
That is all that this comes down to in the end. Do we save the life of someone who is already alive, by sacrificing two foetuses that aren't?
But the Church, I guess, prefers to see three people die instead of seeing one person live.
However it is backwards views like this that cause outrage. It's like telling people not to use condoms regardless of how effective they are against the spread of AIDS. People are going to call you out on it because it is a cruel thing to say.
The message that the rest of the world sees is that women who are raped and become pregnant have to carry the child of the rapist. The other message that we see is that abortion is wrong even when the health of the mother is at risk. Are these really messages that the Church wants to send?
In case you are wondering, the stepfather is now languishing in a jail cell. The police found him trying to flee to another part of the country.
Hat tip toPharyngula twice.