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Here are some news stories and articles which might be of interest to you. I've posted the opening section, and if you want to read more, you can click on "Read the whole article" to go to the original item. You'll find a variety of things here -- current news, political analysis, opinion pieces, articles about religion -- things I've happened to read and want to share with you. It's your Reading Room, so take your time. Browse. You're certain to find something you'll want to read.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

An Important Quarrel in Rome

by Dr. Jeff Mirus

You probably remember the case of the abortions performed on the Brazilian girl who was impregnated with twins by her step-father last year. Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho publicly stated that the doctors who performed the abortions would incur excommunication. But the President of the Pontifical Academy for life then wrote an essay in L’Osservatore Romano in which he sharply criticized Archbishop Sobrinho for an alleged lack of sensitivity to the difficulties of the situation, especially for the girl. Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella argued that the Church would have been better served by a strong display of mercy and tenderness rather than a pronouncement of justice.

If this had been all that was said, it would be a case of two prelates disagreeing about the best pastoral approach to a serious situation, something in itself as unobjectionable as it is common. It would have been rare and troublesome only because of the serious and rather obviously deliberate faux pas of an archbishop in Rome unilaterally using the Vatican’s newspaper to criticize the archbishop on the scene—a criticism which was also ill-informed, none of his business ecclesiastically, and leveled without any effort to discuss the issue in advance with his Brazilian brother. Moreover, his Brazilian brother was already under heavy secularist attack. If this was circling the wagons, then Fisichella is an Apache.

But, in fact, this isn’t all that was said, for Archbishop Fisichella also went on to wring his verbal hands over how difficult the moral case was, and how the conflicting values involved required that the moral decision be left to the doctors alone. Not only is this false; it is false in a way that should never be misunderstood by the man who leads the Pontifical Academy for Life. Nobody likes the fact that a prematurely fertile nine-year-old girl was raped repeatedly by her step-father until she became pregnant with twins. Nobody likes the horrible situation this put the girl in. Nobody likes the available options. Nobody likes the suffering each of those options entails. But the moral truth is exceedingly clear. The innocent babies in the womb cannot be murdered in order to lessen the immediate suffering of the girl or her family. Earth to Fisichella... Read the whole article.

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Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.