Friday 12 June 2009

Brazilian archbishop thanks SPUC and others for their support

I have received a letter of thanks from Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho of Olinda and Recife (pictured), thanking SPUC and others for their support of his actions in the case of the nine-year old girl whose twins were aborted in March this year, which I blogged about on 7 March and 18 March. I reproduce a translation of the archbishop's letter in full below:
"After have received messages of solidarity and congratulation from several national and international organizations and mainly from hundreds of brothers and sisters – from Brazil as well as from various other countries - due to my position in relation to the recent clamorous event which has happened in the archdiocese of Olinda and Recife (i.e., the violation of canon law – on abortion) – when I publicly mentioned the legal position of Our Holy Church, which establishes the application of automatic excommunication – I wish to express my profound gratitude to each and everyone, invoking upon you the many blessings of Our Saviour Jesus Christ who has “come so all would have life and have it abundantly” [John 10:10].

"The application of canon law penalties is a way used by our Holy Church, since the apostles’ time, to lead Christians to follow God’s law and to eternal salvation. “God wants all be saved” [1Tm 2:4] , and for this, conversion is necessary, in other words a behaviour change, of no longer practicing evil and conforming one’s life to God’s laws. Mercy is not a connivance with evil, of violations of God’s laws.

"Article 1398 of the Code of Canon Law is a current law of our Holy Church, approved by the Vicar of Christ on earth, the servant of God John Paul II (He promulgated the new Code in 1983). This law aims to help spiritually all Church members to avoid a very grave violation of the 5th commandment of the Decalogue, the suppression of defenceless and innocent lives. It is a spiritual “medicine” (“remedy”) used by the church to lead a sinner to conversion, to lead him to change his behaviour. To ignore this automatic penalty – or even worse, to wish its abolition is a great evil to the common good of ecclesiastic society and the eternal salvation of God’s children.

"To lead his disciples to do good, by conforming their lives to the demands of the Law of God, Jesus Christ himself clearly talked about the real dangers of eternal damnation (Mt 11:23; 13:41-42; 25:31-46; Mc 9:43-48; Lc 16:19-31). This is the aim of the penalties established by the Church.

"We have ample proof that the great publicity of the event which happened in our archdiocese is producing very good fruits in the spiritual lives of many individuals.

"I would , therefore, like to repeat my profound gratitude first of all to the Author of Life, “the Father of light from who comes all perfect gifts” [ 1 John 1:14]. I also thank all my brothers and sisters who sent me messages of solidarity which witness their total fidelity to God’s Law and the Canon Law of our Holy Church.

"May God grant us, all, the grace of continuing to work together in defence of life."

Recife, May 19, 2009


Dom José Cardoso Sobrinho
Archbishop of Olinda-Recife