A 9-year-old Brazilian girl and the doctors who performed the girl’s abortion needed the Catholic Church’s care and concern, not its condemnation, said a leading Vatican official. Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, criticized what he called a “hasty” public declaration of the excommunication of the girl’s mother and the doctors who aborted the girl’s twins. “Before thinking about excommunication, it was necessary and urgent to protect her innocent life and bring her back to a level of humanity of which we men of the church should be expert witnesses and teachers,” he said. “Unfortunately, this is not what happened, and it has affected the credibility of our teaching, which appears in the eyes of many as insensitive, incomprehensible and devoid of mercy,” he said. Doctors at a hospital in Recife, Brazil, performed an abortion March 4 on the girl, who weighed little more than 80 pounds and reportedly had been raped repeatedly by her stepfather (now in police custody) from the time she was 6 years old.
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