Thursday, March 19, 2009

More vexation on the Feast of St. Joseph

A friend from Brazil, Adriano, writes in reply to my first post on the very troubling series of events in Brazil:

"Fisichella did a bad work.

"He was not well informed about what was really going [on] here in Brazil. He was right when he talked of the need of protecting the girl and her family, but he was [poorly] informed about the rest.

"Our pro aborti[on] politic[ian]s, doctors and activists will keep his letter to justify their future 'social abortions'.

"The message sent: the church is a mess, with poor communications, abortions are endorsed in th[ese] cases.

"Dom Jose was trying to save the 3 children. Last week a girl [who was] 11 gave birth here, helped by the local church, she is well. She was raped, too.

"The doctors who performed the abortion, were from a staff of abortists, with political connections and interests.

"Only they say she was immediatly in danger."

To which I replied:


Thank you for further enlightening us from your closer view of the matter. I would urge you to read my follow-up post on this very troubling series of events. In the end, the thing that Fisichella spoke out against was the very public way in which the local ordinary handled the matter. He conceded that those who procured and performed the abortions were excommunicated latae sententiae. I think, as you suggest, he was asking to see and hear more compassion for the 9 year-old girl, who is a victim many times over in this horrid series of events. As with here in the States, all that was likely heard in Rome was the archbishop's condemnation.

Also, after looking into things further, I cannot reconcile the abortions even using the principle of double effect because the good effect (i.e., saving the girl's life) went through the bad effect (i.e., the abortions). At the end of the day, I regret posting anything on this at all. However, I do not want to be a revisionist. So, I will leave these posts confusions and convolutions and all. I am grateful for you and Joseph for constructively engaging me. So, thank you for your clarification and correction. Like Archbishop Fisichella, I do not want to encourage those who do not look at human life from the proper perspective.

Adriano also passes along the link to a letter written and signed by the Archdiocese of Olina and Recife's chancellor, vicar general, archdiocesan seminary rector, attorney, and the priest within whose parish the abortions were conducted, in response to Archbishop Fisichella's article, setting forth the pastoral care and concern taken for the girl, her mother, and everyone involved, as well as making some clarifications and corrections as to matters of fact to the L'Osservatore Romano article .

On this, the Feast of St. Joseph, let us pray to him on behalf of this young girl and on behalf of her step-father, whose rape was the cause of all that followed. Let us ask for his intercession on our behalf that we, like him, when he learned his bethrothed was with a child that was not his, might do the right thing in any all circumstances.

Here is a passage, a reprise, from my homily for the Holy Family:

"When we consider the Holy Family it is easy to become sentimental. In recent years, however, we have recovered the human context of the Incarnation from the perspective of Mary, an event that made her, for a time, an unmarried, pregnant teenager. But in order to see the bigger picture, we need to recover the perspective of St. Joseph, too. He was betrothed to a young woman, with whom he had not had relations, but who turns up pregnant before coming to live with him. Despite this, he did not abandon her, but accepted the will of God, which, even though made known to him by an angel, must have remained incomprehensible and difficult for him, especially in the months leading up to the birth of the divinely conceived child. It is the kind of manliness exemplified by St. Joseph that we desperately need today. After all, the collapse of the family falls disproportionately on women and children, crushing many. The need for this kind of responsibility is reflected in the divine command to ancient Israel to care for the widow and the orphan, something for which they were frequently chastised by God through the prophets for failing to do. The crisis of fatherhood today, which results in the grave sin of men failing and refusing to provide materially, emotionally, and developmentally for their children, stems from our rejection of the family as an institution ordained by God through nature and grace."
To all the Josephs out there, including Msgr. Joseph Mayo, my pastor, and Msgr. Joseph Terrence Fitzgerald, our tireless vicar general, happy day!


  1. Hi,deacon
    Take a look at blog Rorate caeli,there you will find the answer of diocese of recife,in english.
    A great statement.

    thanks for your attention,adriano

  2. I linked to it already. Again, thank you very much for bringing all this to my attention. I appreciate your kindness in doing so.


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