Vatican Letter Requested Help for 9-Year-Old Prior to Abortion

Made No Request for Decree of Excommunication

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 6, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Even before a 9-year-old rape victim in Nicaragua underwent an abortion, the Holy See offered help to protect all the lives involved in the case.



In a letter, a Vatican official asked that everything possible be done to "comfort the innocent victims of such an execrable event." But there was no request for the publication of a decree of excommunication by the bishop. And none was ever published, contrary to some press reports.

The letter, dated Feb. 21, was sent by Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, to Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo, archbishop of Nicaragua, before the abortion took place.

ZENIT read a copy of the letter, which acknowledges the rape and refers to the "critical medical situation of this girl and of her unborn child (given the mother's tender age), the fear of the serious psychological consequences, the profound perturbation of family life."

The letter goes on to state that "every innocent human being is absolutely equal to all others in the right to life," so that "the painful circumstances of this pregnancy, even though serious and dramatic -- to use the words of the encyclical 'Evangelium Vitae' -- can never justify the deliberate elimination of an innocent human being."

Lastly, the letter urges that "the innocent victims of such an execrable event" be comforted and that "the minds be enlightened and the hearts moved of all those who with their service to life can be of help in the present circumstances."

The letter was signed both by Cardinal López Trujillo as well as by Bishop Karl Josef Romer, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family.