The case of the Brazilian child impregnated by her stepfather has divided the Catholic Church
Richard Owen in Rome--Times Of London
Dimas Lara Barbosa, the secretary-general of the Brazilian bishops said "We must take the circumstances into consideration". He said that equally there was "no clear case" for excommunicating the doctors, since only doctors who "systematically" conducted abortions should be excommunicated.
Kind of looks like Benedict has another internal communications problem on his hands. Another apparent case of the left hand not agreeing with the right hand. In this case Archbishop Fisichella disagrees with Cardinal Battista Re, but the Archbishop got space in L'Osservatore Romano and the Cardinal didn't. I'm sure that's got to be significant. That might be my own wishful thinking because I think the Archbishop has the far better nuanced and Christian response to this particular moral conundrum.
Perhaps Archbishop Fisichella sees that the Church has backed itself into a corner in which the unborn are more valued than the born. A position which is not and never has been part of the biblical or Catholic Tradition. Maybe now someone will sit down and ask a very simple question. How did we let ourselves get backed into this corner? They may not like looking at where that answer takes them.
I wrote yesterday that this story of the Brazilian girl has not left me alone. I think part of that is because she represents a loose thread in the seamless garment of life and if one pulls on that thread one is going to start to unravel the whole seamless garment.
Jesus taught that no life is to be held as more sacred or more innocent than any other life. We were called to see Him in all lives, and just as He made decisions about who would be or not be healed, and just as He did not raise all the dead, we too have to make decisions. Those decisions become really difficult in the case of absolute moral theology because there is no room for a right answer, only more, or less, wrong ones. Yogi Berra was quoted as saying "It ain't over till it's over." With absolutism too many times "it's over before it's begun".
Instead of trying to come up with absolute moral statements, perhaps we should have been asking how Jesus made His decisions. Why did Jesus raise Lazarus and not any of the other myriad of people dieing around Him? Was it because Martha and Mary had a special place in His heart? Was it because Lazarus himself still had some part to play? Was it because of their faith in Him or was it a combination of all those things. Here's the really interesting speculation, or was it because Jesus knew a whole lot more about how things actually work and we don't.
I tend to go with the He knew a whole lot more than we do. I also think the Church frequently operates from a position of assuming things we don't know. For instance, we don't know that aborted fetuses don't have the choice of incarnating again, to the same parents, or different parents or in different circumstances all together. Allowing for this choice seems to make more sense to me than assuming they stay in some sort of perpetual limbo just because that assumption validates Thomistic theology about baptism.
Admitting we don't really know what happens to aborted fetuses or when they are ensouled or any number of other unknowns should give us pause before we start excommunicating people because they saved the life of the innocent they did know something about. Perhaps that's the whole point Archbishop Fisichella is somewhat convolutedly hinting at. The Church might need to step back from a precipice where even Angels fear to tread.