Sunday, April 12, 2009

Knobhead of the week: Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho

I know its Easter so it seems inappropriate to be talking trash to leading figures in the church, but when said figures are acting inexplicably knobheadishly, then they leave us little choice.

In the deeply Catholic nation of Brazil, abortion is illegal except in cases of rape or where the mother's life is at risk. So when a 9 year old girl, pregnant with twins due to rape by her stepfather, recently had an abortion, you'd think it wouldn't raise too many hackles. Apparently her tiny uterus was not big enough to hold one baby, let alone two. So that's understandable, right?

Until the Archishop of Recife, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho got involved. He excommunicated all those involved, including the girl's mother and the doctors.

Know who he didn't excommunicate? The stepfather. The archbishop said that while the stepfather had committed a "heinous act", it was not necessarily grounds to expel him from the church.

President Luiz Ignacio da Silva said that as a Catholic he regretted the attitude of archbishop Sobrinho, while the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil denounced the decision. Still, 4000 people protested against abortion in Sao Paolo, after a Vatican archbishop said that the abortion was justified on the grounds that the 9 year-old's health was at risk.

People, few can deny that abortion is a deeply uncomfortable and problematic issue. Even those of us who are firmly pro-choice can accept that there are far, far too many abortions committed in this world.

But you've got to pick your battles. Picking on 9 year-old children who have been impregnated through the horror of sexual abuse is always gonna be the wrong one.

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