Rorate Caeli


Regarding the article entitled "Dalla parte della bambina brasiliana” [by Archbishop "Rino" Fisichella] and published in L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO on March 15, we the undersigned declare:

1. The fact [the rape of the little girl] did not happen in Recife, as the article states, but in the city of Alagoinha (Diocese of Pesqueira).

2. All of us - beginning with the parish priest of Alagoinha (undersigned) - treated the pregnant girl and her family with all charity and tenderness. The Parish priest, making use of his pastoral solicitude, when aware of the news in his residence, immediately went to the house of the family, in which he met the girl and lent her his support and presence, before the grave and difficult situation in which the girl found herself. And this attitude continued every day, from Alagoinha to Recife, where the sad event of the abortion of the two innocent [babies] took place. Therefore, it is quite evident and unequivocal that nobody thought in "excommunication" in the first place. We used all means at our disposal to avoid the abortion and thus save all THREE lives. The Parish priest personally joined the local Children's Council in all efforts which sought the welfare of the child and of her two children. In the hospital, in daily visits, he displayed attitudes of care and attention which made clear both to the child and to her mother that they were not alone, but that the Church, represented by the local Parish priest, assured them of the necessary assistance and of the certainty that all would be done for the welfare of the girl and to save her two children.

3. After the girl was transferred to a hospital of the city of Recife, we tried to use all legal means to avoid the abortion. The Church never displayed any omission in the hospital. The girl's parish priest made daily visits to the hospital, traveling from the city which is 230 km [140 mi] away from Recife, making every effort so that both the child and the mother felt the presence of Jesus the Good Shepherd, who seeks the sheep who need most attention. Therefore, the case was treated with all due care by the Church, and not 'sbrigativamente' [summarily], as the article says.

4. We do not agree [with Archbishop Fisichella] that the "decision is hard... for the moral law itself". Our Holy Church continues to proclaim that the moral law is exceedingly clear: it is never licit to eliminate the life of an innocent person to save another life. The objective facts are these: there are doctors who explicitly declare that they perform and will continue to perform abortions, while others declare with the same firmness that they will never perform abortions. Here is the declaration written and signed by a Brazilian Catholic physician: "...As an obstetrician for 50 years, graduated in the National Medical School of the University of Brazil, and former chief of Obstetrics in the Hospital of Andarai [Rio de Janeiro], in which I served for 35 years until I retired in order to dedicate myself to the Diaconate, and having delivered 4,524 babies, many from juvenile [mothers], I never had to resort to an abortion to 'save lives', as well as all my colleagues, sincere and honest in their profession and faithful to their Hippocratic oath. ..."

5. The affirmation [in the article] that the fact was made public in the newspapers only because the Archbishop of Olinda and Recife rushed to declare the excommunication is false. It suffices to notice that the case was made public in Alagoinha on Wednesday, February 25; the Archbishop made his pronouncement to the press on March 3; and the abortion was performed on March 4. It would be too much to imagine that the Brazilian press, before a fact of such gravity, would have silenced during the period of six days. Therefore, the news of the pregnant girl ("Carmen") was made public in the newspapers before the consummation of the abortion. Only after that, when asked by journalists, on March 3 (Tuesday), the Archbishop mentioned canon 1398. We are convinced that the disclosure of this therapeutic penalty (the excommunication) will do much good to many Catholics, making them avoid this grievous sin. The silence of the Church would be very prejudicial, especially considering that fifty million abortions are being performed every year around the world, and in Brazil alone one million innocent lives are ended. The silence may be interpreted as collusion or complicity. If any doctor has a "perplexed conscience" [as the article says] before performing an abortion (which seems extremely improbable to us), he should - if he is a Catholic and wishes to follow the law of God - seek a spiritual director.

6. The article is, in other words, a direct attack of the defense of the lives of the three children vehemently made by Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho and leaves evident how much the author does not have the necessary data or information to speak on the matter, due to his utter ignorance of the facts. The text may be interpreted as an apologia of abortion, violating the Magisterium of the Church. The abortionist doctors were not in the moral crossroads mentioned by the text; on the contrary, they performed the abortion with full knowledge and coherence with what they believe and teach. The hospital in which the abortion on the little girl was performed is one of those in which this procedure is always performed in our state, under the cover of "legality". The doctors who acted as executioners of the twins declared, and still declare in the national media, that they did what they are used to doing "with great pride". One of them declared even that: "Then, I have been excommunicated many times".

7. The author believed he could speak about [a situation] he did not know, and, what is worse, he did not even have the trouble of first speaking to his brother in the episcopate, and, for his imprudent attitude, he is causing great scandal among the Catholic faithful in Brazil who are believing that Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho was rash in his pronouncements. Instead of seeking his brother in the episcopate, he chose to believe in our openly Anti-clerical press.

Recife-PE, March 16, 2009

Fr. Cícero Ferreira de Paula
Chancellor - Archdiocese of Olinda and Recife

Mons. Edvaldo Bezerra da Silva
Vicar General - Archdiocese of Olinda and Recife

Fr Moisés Ferreira de Lima
Rector of the Archdiocesan Seminary

Dr. Márcio Miranda
Attorney for the Archdiocese of Olinda and Recife

Fr. Edson Rodrigues
Parish priest of Alagoinha-PE - Diocese of Pesqueira


  1. 1. "Extreme cases" such as this one are being used and searched by Feminist organizations throughout Latin America as part of the push to convince local populations that abortion is not necessarily bad, and may often be a positive good. It is shameful that a bishop lets himself be used like this. Did he at least speak to the local bishop to know the extent of the full story? Doubtful...

    2. This is not a liturgical blog. This is a Catholic blog which deals with various matters. If you do not like it, please do not visit it again. Lukewarm Catholics who fudge Church doctrine or write opinions which may be considered confusing by non-Catholic guests are not welcome here.

    3. Comments considered offensive or thoughtless are deleted according to the opinion of the moderators. Any comment defending "Rino" Fisichella will be deleted; if you wish to praise him, send him letters of support thanking him for the scandal and shame his pathetic and ignorant article has caused.

  2. Anonymous2:57 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Yes, I have to say that now the picture is quite different from what we got some days ago reading the press. We have been misleaded.
    I think that not talking first of all to the bishop and people directly involved in the matter was a real problem and definitely wrong.

  4. Anonymous3:12 PM

    And shame on Fr. Tanoüarn IBP (Good Shepherd Institute theologian) as well, for his absurd defense of Fisichella in two posts of his blog:

    Perhaps someone could translate this brave Statement to French and send it his way and also to his Superior, Fr. Laguérie?

    From Brazil,
    In JMJ,
    Felipe Coelho

  5. Goodbye Mr. Hallman and good riddance! Thank you New Catholic for standing in defense of the Faith. May Almighty God reward these brave priests for their courage and defense of the truth.

  6. So, the voice of reason is a bishop in Rome who has no idea of the facts involved in the case, and not the local parish priest, the local bishops, and pro-life activists in Brazil struggling to protect life in their country.

    Is that it?

  7. Anonymous3:29 PM

    Yes this was no matter for the auxiliary bishop of Rome to take up,i'm sure there are tons of cases in Rome too keep him busy.

  8. Anonymous3:48 PM

    It is excellent and salutary for the Church and the men involved to hear that the excommunications stand in place.
    Deo Gratias!

  9. I'm a brazilian reader of this blog, and I live in Fortaleza, wich is a city relatively near Recife, where this whole case took place. I can say this abortion was completely distorted by brazilian media to make people see the church as "medieval", bad and not merciful. The true of what really happened in the case can be read in an article that Fr. Edson Rodrigues, parish of Alagoinha, wrote in his blog. Simply put, he, who was near the family and the little girl from the beginning of this whole situation, said that both the father and the mother of the child didn't want the abortion. Then, a social assistant, together with a pro-abortion non-governmental organization, convinced the mother (who is illiterate) that the life of the child was at risk - which was not true - and thus convinced her to sign (with her thumb print) a document allowing the abortion. Then, the girl was taken to another hospital, without the father even knowing what was going on, and there the abortion took place. Which was clearly a crime, because according to actual brazilian legislation, in cases of rape or child molesting, the abortion can only take place with the autorization of both mother and father. If one disagrees, then the case must be sent to justice.
    Now, two lives were sacrificed in the abortion holocaust we're living... God, have mercy on us!

  10. Wow! Mega kudos to the authors of this letter, and to the Bishop who stands behind them.

    Thank you, NC, for laying down the law!

  11. Anonymous6:03 PM

    I am glad to see such a firm declaration of orthodoxy. Any Catholic who argues in favor of the abortion ought to be examined vis a vis his belief in the doctrine of the Church.

    That being said, there are possible arguments in defense of the statements of Archbishop Fisichella (which is not to say that I would find them convincing, only that his statements do not cross the line from "repugnant" to "indefensible"). I think it would be worth inquiring into his orthodoxy on the matter, however, especially given his present position within the hierarchy.

  12. Anonymous6:07 PM

    This is the best thing I've ever seen by non-traditional priests. EVER.

  13. Anonymous8:27 PM

    Michael Hallman: What a sad picture of Catholicism you paint for the world.

    Hey, Michael, I think you're speaking to Christ since this is the Church He set up.

    There are plenty of Protestant sects you can infect. Please do so.

  14. Anonymous10:24 PM

    Hi Anonymous:

    Don't know if this will actually get published, but I'm a traditional, orthodox Catholic man studying for the priesthood. I'm the one who will be giving you the Eucharist and defending life from the pulpit every Sunday and every day, and I have a record of defending human life from conception till death that I will stand up to any of yours. By all means read my blog, I encourage you, and you will see post after post defending human life. I think the archbishop in Brazil handled this case terribly and without compassion, and I will continue to assert as much, but that has nothing to do with my orthodoxy or my defense of human life, so you would do well to know me before telling me to go "infect a Protestant sect."

  15. God bless the Archbishop of Recife and Olinda, D. José Cardoso Sobrinho: a true and courageous defender of the Catholic Faith!

    Here, in Brazil, we are deseperately needed of true catholic priests like D. José Sobrinho.

    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

  16. fr.A.R.:

    And since when we got true and good information about the Church from the mainstream media!?

    The mainstream media hates the Church! We, catholics, cannot trust the MSM in matters that concern the Church.

    What a naiveté!

  17. Anonymous11:07 PM

    Michael Hallman,

    you are a disgrace.

  18. Michael Hallman,

    you are a disgrace.(2)

  19. Anonymous11:31 PM

    The letter is very clear and provides many facts, carefully obsfucated by the media, ignored by the 6 French bishops who were even less wise in making statements than Abp Fisichella.

    The mission of bishops, and this goes for Abp Fisichella, is not to create confusion, howl with the wolves which are lacerating the Church and making a mockery out of the Magisterium : so Evangelium vitae and the Catechism of the Church are of no value ?

    The true questions are :
    - why this violent attack from Abp Fisichella, who used to be known so far as a brave man, who was not afraid of teaching the faith ?
    - why the paper in the Osservatore romano, controlled normally by the secretariate of State with a connection to the Jesuit Fr. Lombardi ?
    - why some Wojtylian neo-cons are suddenly playing the "pope-bashers" with the worst ennemies of the Church ?

    Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos has revealed Fr Lombardi sj sent him a letter of excuse re. the pathetic way he put the blame of the Williamson case on the Cardinal's back.

    When a future priest on this blog is unable to see how desastrous for the Church, these contradicting statements are, how painful it is to hear episcopal statements blaming the pope and other bishops, to hear priests like this infamous French Fr Bessière "excommunicating" the pope without encurring any sanction from their bishops ... we can be truly afraid that the "smokes of Satan" are again poisonning the Church atmosphere, as Paul VI said in 1972.

    Bp Dagens (Angoulême, France) a former Wojtylian bishop is now pleading for a compromise with liberalism and the worst aspects of the modern world... The same bishop was openly criticizing Summorum Pontificum and considered today that Vatican II was perfect in every word and its implementation the 9th marvel of the world in the 1960's and 1970's.

    When neo-cons like Bp Dagens, cardinal Vingt-Trois, G. Weigel and a few others seem brainwashed and are speaking like those they have fought during years, we can believe that the Devil is working hard. People of good will and I'm sure Michael Hallman is one of them should make special efforts to separate the real voice of reason, when guided by the faith, and the voice of a false reason, that does not come from the Holy Ghost.
    I seriously doubt that the anti-christian media can be the "voice of reason"...


  20. Anonymous11:35 PM

    Michael Hallman - here is the voice of reason.

    i) The danger of a responsible medical procedure is proportionate to it's end. If the end is to save three lives, then it is not so very difficult to understand or accept that the risk of death would be involved. Take an example. If she needed a lung transplant there would have been a risk of death in surgery - however the good of her continuing to breath outweighs the bad and unavoidable possibility of her death during surgery. The risk is acceptable as it must be accepted to save her life. They cited a physician, the risk was not new. And, what is more important, the risk was not at all like the press has pretended it was. The success of the birth was likely. Many similar deliveries have succeeded (none of the multiple thousand mentioned made the news or newspapers...). And even if it was monumentally unlikely, so long as it was at the very least possible, it should have been the preferred course of action (vide infra ii). The doctors who performed the abortion did so by rote. It was not a life-or-death now-or-never moment. They simply assume that the unborn are a priori offal. In a sentence: it was not done of necessity, but by choice (is that not the catch-cry of the opposition?). The choice of the doctors involved and the mother; the latter obviously out of concern for her daughter, the former as it was in accord with their proudly proclaimed work ethic and doctrine.

    ii) A thought experiment. Suppose there were three girls whose lives were together in danger. Carmen, Chantal and Elzbieta. If those charged with saving them, as upon the very purpose of their occupation, came up with and followed through a scenario that involved killing the other two to save Carmen - would you be pleased? The only option that is moral, the only authentically humane option would be to in any way attempt to save all three - even if it failed. I do not know why it is not believed to be so for the unborn.

    iii) This was not the kind of excommunication that needed a decision of the Bishop. He was messenger - not arbiter. It was a matter of the canons, not his choice. Even if he had failed to mention that they were excommunicated, even if he spoke French or Italian and decided to try to mitigate or cast doubt upon or deny them: the excommunications still would be in full effect. That is why here there is such scandal. This is not an open issue - they are challenging the Magisterium.

    About the Archbishop's actions - I cannot see how you could be honestly convinced that he handled the case terribly and without compassion having completed a non-partisan and basically attentive reading of the document you have chosen to comment critically upon.

  21. Mr Hallman,

    I am sorry, but, since I cannot edit comments, your misinformed words against the brave Archbishop of Olinda and Recife will not be allowed here. There are several circumstances which were not in the letter (which was a rebuttal to specific arguments included in Fisichella's article, and not a thorough narrative), and I will not accept the accusation that the Bishop was lacking in "compassion".

    As for the bishop "sitting with the doctors"... Let me repeat what the priests had already said: those were not poor pediatricians confronted with an unusual situation, those were professional abortionists.


  22. Anonymous12:23 AM

    Well, I'm sorry you wouldn't let the comment stand, but it's your blog, so I obviously can't force you to publish my comments. While I most obviously disagree with you and with others on the board, I also know I have not allowed comments to be published in my blog when I believe they were harmful to the Church. Obviously I don't think my comments were wrong at all, but I respect your conscience.

    I would also like to apologize for referring to your blog as a disgrace. That was clearly out of line. As you can see, this whole situation makes me really angry, and I don't imagine I will ever be convinced that the bishop handled this well at all, and I do believe it ultimately hurts the cause that like you all I devote blood and sweat and tears to. We're just not going to agree on this.

    As I said before, I am an orthodox, pro-life, Catholic man studying for the priesthood. While we disagree fundamentally over the handling of this issue (and note, not on the theology behind any of it), I would certainly appreciate prayers nonetheless.

  23. Anonymous12:27 AM

    By the way, since my last comment was deleted, I do hope you'll allow me to at least say that under no circumstances do I believe the family or the doctors were justified in the abortion itself, and I have never contended that. I won't go into the problems that I have with the handling of the situation, since that seems to be the primary reason for my comments being deleted, but at least in response to Johannes I want to make it clear that I do not in any way justify the abortions. While my original comment has been deleted, certainly the maintainer of the blog can vouch for that.

  24. Thank you for your understanding. Please, pray for us, too.

    And, please, let us all pray for those involved, especially the little girl, her sister (who had also been abused), as well as the Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, and the local Parish priest.

    What a brave man this parish priest is! There are still many just men (Genesis 18) in the ravaged landscape of Brazilian Catholicism!


  25. Anonymous12:47 AM

    I see...

    Well - if my meagre words were not needed, can I please have my comment deleted and this one as well? I have presumed to speak - and I am sorry. I cannot stress how much this really does frighten me - that I have written and people shall read...I have written a few comments under my carer's name on the Amazon forums and have always deleted them a few minutes after. I say this only to make sure that you delete my comments, so you see that it is not some pale humility and hollow modesty that makes me ask and so I should not be ignored.

    Thank you.

  26. Anonymous12:47 AM

    It's getting hard to keep up here. Do the excommunications still stand or not? Thanks be to God that we have a brave defender of the Church in Brazil.

    As for this from Fr. Tanoüarn IBP:

    Ma position est à l'opposé : ces enfants n'avaient aucune chance de vivre. Ils mettaient bien malgré eux la vie de leur mère en danger.

    My french is rusty but I believe he states that the children had no chance of life and that they had put the mother's life at risk.

    He's been well sucked in.

  27. Anonymous12:52 AM

    Mr. Hallman:

    I don't really care if you consider yourself pro-life. This Vatican cardinal is the disgrace and not this fine blog.

    If you intend on being the typical neo con priest, and backing business as usual in the modernist wing of the Church while calling yourself pro-life, then my comment stands: find another church to pollute.

    I pray for GOOD priests. Not just priests in numbers.

  28. Anonymous12:56 AM

    Mr. Anonymous,

    You're welcome to your opinion, and you're wrong. Get used to it, because I'm not going anywhere. If you think my priesthood will be a sacrilege to the Church, then let that be your prayer, because God has called and I am answering, and I am very, very, very comfortable with my orthodoxy, regardless of how distorted a picture you would desire to paint of me. Your false witness against me will be for you to answer before God, not me.

  29. Anonymous1:15 AM

    Mr. Hallman, out of respect for this blog, I will not post again.

    But let me say this: it is arrogant, modernist men like you that have brought this Church to its knees, and the reason why I will never allow myself or my family to set foot in a novus ordo "community" center again.

    I will go and pray for you now. And I beg of you to try and find just a bit of self-reflective humility, examine your stance and then decide if becoming a priest, and not just a "presider" is what you're truly called to do.

  30. Anonymous1:17 AM

    Michael Hallman:

    You will never be a Catholic priest, never. You may be ordained for the One World Church by one of its doubtful modernist bishops, but you will never receive the sacrament of holy orders.

    What a consolation for Catholics!

  31. Anonymous1:19 AM

    Mr. Anonymous (if that is your real name),

    I'm happy you won't be posting anymore. The ignorance coming from you is astounding. Maybe in your prayer ask for some of that humility you so "graciously" ask me to seek. I wonder if you can even define modernist, let alone decide how it applies to me. I highly doubt it.

  32. Anonymous1:21 AM

    Mr. Anonymous' brother, Mr. Anonymous:

    Well, Christ disagrees with you, so take it up with him.

  33. Anonymous1:28 AM

    Hmmm, seminarian. Presuming to know what Christ thinks?

    Maybe you ought to skip the priesthood and go right to sainthood.

  34. Anonymous1:32 AM

    I am not the one presuming the one to know what Christ thinks; I am merely answering a call. You are the one pretending that "I will never be a priest ever in the Catholic Church." That is nothing but presumption on your part. Be careful, you might choke on such a mouthful of arrogance.

  35. Anonymous1:41 AM

    Michael Hallman: "I am not the one presuming the one to know what Christ thinks"

    Michael Hallman from two minutes ago: "Well, Christ disagrees with you, so take it up with him."

    What seminary actually accepted you???

  36. Anonymous1:44 AM

    Mr. Anonymous (I get confused if you're original anonymous or brother anonymous):

    You should learn the definition of presumption. You should also learn how it applies to you. Then you should learn about how Christ speaks through the Church. They're all related, and they all demonstrate your ignorance - of course, your comments do, too.

  37. Anonymous1:49 AM

    Ah, Mr. Hallman. I just read your profile. All makes sense now.

    God bless.

  38. Anonymous1:53 AM

    Mr. Anonymous:

    Good, glad you've made sense of it. Any more questions?

  39. Anonymous3:15 AM

    It is crystal clear that this was not a case of double effect and that the pregnant girl's life was not in danger anyway. Those who perpetrated this abortion are murderers. What they deserve is death by hanging.


  40. Anonymous3:22 AM


    Yes, it was murder, but the death penalty is inconsistent with a Catholic pro-life position.

  41. Anonymous4:24 AM

    Michael Hallman,

    the death penalty is not inconsistent with a Catholic pro-life position, no matter what those nuns without the habits have told you. The only reason not to use the death penalty when it is justified, is because our society has so many other ways of effectively punishing criminals and protecting the rest of society, not because it is "inconsistent" with a pro-life position. However, it seems all too often that our justice system abdicts on its responsibilities to effectively punish criminals and protect the rest of society, leaving the death penalty as the only option left for Justice. Lets pray that people that have committed these crimes that we speak of, can be punished effectively, leaving little need for the death penalty.

  42. Anonymous4:44 AM


    I wasn't taught by nuns about the death penalty, and yes it is inconsistent, and has been affirmed as such for some time now. It is not intrinsically evil the way that abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, racism, etc., are, but it is still contrary to Church teaching. The current Holy Father has said so himself, as did his predecessor. While it is true the death penalty opposition is not a dogmatic teaching, it is still inconsistent with the Catholic pro-life position, and while Catholics may disagree without being denied Communion, that still does not make support of the death penalty consistent with the Church. As the Holy Father John Paul II has said, "I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform."

    We should seek these abortionists conversion, not their execution.

  43. Anonymous4:50 AM

    As per the CCC:

    2267 The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.
    "If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.
    "Today, in fact, given the means at the State's disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender 'today ... are very rare, if not practically non-existent.' [68]

    Clearly it is not a matter of being unable to protect society from the abortionists, it is a matter of being unwilling. Thus unless there is no other way of protecting society, the death penalty is inconsistent with Church teaching.

  44. Anonymous6:12 AM

    Ah, Mr Hallman, you're ultimately I subjectivist.

    I don't think you understand the church's teaching on infallibility.

    Do you even know what the (merely) authentic magisterium is?

  45. Anonymous6:23 AM

    Mr. Anonymous:

    I never said there was an infallible teaching on the death penalty. The Church does teach on the death penalty, though, but as I said, recognizes that unlike abortion, racism, etc., that the death penalty is not an intrinsic evil. But Church teaching is that all human life has an inherent dignity, and that the killing of human life should only be taken on when it is the only possible means of protecting society. Since the death penalty in this case is absolutely not necessary to protect society, advocating that the abortionists be executed by, in the words of the commenter to whom I am responding, "death by hanging," is inconsistent with the Church's pro-life teaching.

    Is that honestly so hard?

  46. Anonymous6:32 AM

    And by the way, this has nothing to do with subjectivism. This is not a matter of asserting that the death penalty is wrong because now we believe it is so, or any other similar relativistic statement. Rather, it is deeply rooted in the value of human life, and that killing human life can only be acceptable under certain conditions, such as self-defense, just war, protecting society from criminals, et cetera. If one can defend oneself or defend one's society without killing human life then those means must be taken, and thus when those means are available but we kill human life anyway, then that killing is objectively wrong.