But this excommunication in Brazil is really horrific, and the Vatican's reasons for backing Cardinal Sobrinho are beyond the pale.
A 9 year old girl becomes pregnant with twins after being abused and raped repeatedly by her stepfather. She probably could not have survived the pregnancy. She only weighed 80 pounds. Cardinal Sobrinho excommunicated all involved in the abortion that became necessary to save the girl's life. The Vatican went so far as to say that the abortion was worse than the rape, and that the lives of the embryonic twins counted for more than the life of the 9 year old forced to be their mother. While the doctors and hospital staff whose only motivation was to save the life of the 9 year old girl were all excommunicated, the raping step father got off scott free in the eyes of the Church hierarchy. Hell, they might as well have given him a medal.
Saying that an embryo or a zygote has an equal claim with already born and living children is one thing. Saying that little cell cluster has a superior claim, especially over the life of another child already born, is going several steps too far in my view. Public opinion in Brazil is outraged. President Lula of Brazil publicly criticized the Cardinal's decision. This will probably lead to liberalizing Brazil's harsh anti-abortion laws.
But then, the Roman Catholic hierarchy has a long record of winking at child abuse and child rape. The state legislature of New York is about to end the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse; and wouldn't you know, the Catholic hierarchy is fighting it tooth and nail, with help from orthodox Jewish rabbis and the Republican party. They claim it would bankrupt the church. Perhaps after so many decades of looking the other way or enabling crimes against children they SHOULD go bankrupt. Lord knows enough prosecutors looked the other way for years rather than take on powerful local clergy.
That's the very last thing the Princes of the Church want, accountability, especially to their subjects. I say, ecrasez l'infamie!
But then, we can always blame it on the gays!
Speaking of Christianity in decline...
Apparently, opinion within the Vatican is not unanimous on this case.