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The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Brazilian Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho. He gets the award for the following-

A senior Vatican cleric has defended the excommunication of the mother and doctors of a nine-year-old girl who had an abortion in Brazil after being raped.

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, head of the Catholic church's Congregation for Bishops, told the daily La Stampa on Saturday that the twins the girl had been carrying had a right to live.

"It is a sad case but the real problem is that the twins conceived were two innocent persons, who had the right to live and could not be eliminated," he said.

Re, who also heads the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, added: "Life must always be protected, the attack on the Brazilian church is unjustified."

The row was triggered by the termination on Wednesday of twin foetuses carried by a nine-year-old allegedly raped by her stepfather in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco.

The regional archbishop, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, pronounced excommunication for the mother for authorising the operation and doctors who carried it out for fear that the slim girl would not survive carrying the foetuses to term.

"God's law is above any human law. So when a human law ... is contrary to God's law, this human law has no value," Cardoso had said.

He also said the accused stepfather would not be expelled from the church. Although the man allegedly committed "a heinous crime ... the abortion - the elimination of an innocent life - was more serious."

Let's review what the stepfather exactly did

He sexually molested the girl in question beginning at age 6
He got her pregnant at age 9
He also sexually molested the girl's handicapped sister.

And what the doctor and mother did to save the nine-year old is WORSE?

By the way abortion is illegal except if a mother's life is in danger. A nine-year-old is not physically ready to give birth. The danger of things like a uterine rupture are increased greatly.

I prefer if the twins didn't need to be aborted, but to say what the doctor and girl's mother did is worse, is just idiotic in light of the stepfather's history and that is why I name Brazilian Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Hat tip- Doug at Below the Beltway


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Comments (26)

Sorry, Bill, it IS better t... (Below threshold)

Sorry, Bill, it IS better to be raped than killed. Though rape is a heinous crime, the murder of these twins was worse.

This rapist should go to prison for the rest of his life, no possibility of parole. But those poor little babies now will never have a chance to live. The pregnancy and delivery would have been difficult and dangerous, but better to try to save a life than end it because it's "difficult."

I speak from experience, because I am a child of rape. My mom couldn't have an abortion because they were illegal and she didn't know how to get a back-alley one. She didn't put me up for adoption, which she should have. I suffered lots of abuse growing up from her. She took out all her rage and humiliation on me but at least she didn't kill me. She didn't KILL ME.

Now I'm grown and married (been through lots of therapy, yo) and have four beautiful kids and a husband that I adore. All that would have been snuffed out if she'd killed me.

Still think this Archbishop is a knucklehead? I don't.

If the girl's family had gi... (Below threshold)

If the girl's family had given the Archbishop money, there is a good chance he would be happy to look the other way.

Here in the Palm Beach diocese 6 years ago under Bishop now Cardinal Sean O'Malley, a diocesan employee was on hospital bedrest and was told by a diocesan employee her health insurance would soon end. While she is lying in bed at less than 25 weeks pregnant desperately trying to save her child. The $80 a week insurance premium the church could save was more important to the Roman Catholic Church than the life of the mother or her unborn son. The father wrote and faxed the Bishop, but never got an answer

That boy is now buried in a Boynton Beach cemetery. Life is only sacred to the church hierarchy when it serves their purpose!

Frazetta Girl: you would ha... (Below threshold)

Frazetta Girl: you would have doctors kill a child to save two unborn children? Sick.

God's law is above any human law.


Bill: am I right to understand that you are in fact a Catholic, along with your wife? What exactly would it take to dissuade you of membership in this twisted cult?

I am an absolutist on abort... (Below threshold)
Ken Hahn:

I am an absolutist on abortion. The one and only exception is the tragic decision between lives. This is one of those cases. The life of the mother was threatened without any question. Abortion is usually a murder of convenience but this was clearly a medical necessity. I hate the necessity but it is there.

The choice between lives is the gravest decision one can ever face. I cannot condemn this action although I would willingly prosecute 99% of those who have or perform abortions.

The rapist should be castrated and then fed to the piranhas.

You can murder a person onl... (Below threshold)

You can murder a person only once, when you rape someone (especially a child) you make them die a little bit each and everyday.

I am an absolutist on ab... (Below threshold)

I am an absolutist on abortion.

Exactly, Ken. To a reasonable person with functioning moral values, for every moral "absolute" there are perahps an infinite number of ceteris paribus clauses to the rule--except within the context of certain religious minds, whereby the role of context is minimized such that it bears no weight whatsoever on the scales of rightness and wrongness.

"God said don't kill the unborn."

"Yeah, but... in this case... the born will likely die, and, like, she's already been baptized so--"

"SHUT UP. I'm the Arch-Bishop, and God said don't do it. You're out of the club of the blessed now, doctor. Chances of you getting into Heaven have been reduced to zero. Have a nice afterlife."

THAT is the most fucked-up part: not only would this Cardinal have condemned the girl to die, but he has also--in his eyes, and the eyes of his followers--condemned the doctors and the mother to an eternity in Hell, whereas the step-father gets away with mere mortal punishment. An eternity in Hell, versus a mere lifetime in prison--the Catholic Church in action for ya! F*ck all that hippie-dippie-Jesus forgiveness business, it's all fire'n'brimstone for these crazy cats.

These costumed barbarians are lucky there's no such place as hell, because it would be stuffed full of theocratic monsters like this Cardinal Giovanni sumbitch.

Wouldn't all three most lik... (Below threshold)

Wouldn't all three most likely die if the babies were brought to full term?

The Stepfather would not be expelled from the Church. UH... continue protecting child rapists... nice... Maybe he'll just be moved to another place where he can do it all over again, because at least he's not KILLING anyone.

Nothing in the Ten Commandm... (Below threshold)

Nothing in the Ten Commandments about raping your step-children, so let the eeeevil secular courts handle that one!

It should be no surprise that an organization that wraps itself in a vocabulary of "holiness" would be so evil.

Anti Catholics of the World... (Below threshold)

Anti Catholics of the World Unite! Quick lets take single bad decisions made by some members of the Catholic heirarchy and use it to cast damnation on an entire church of a billion people. Yay! Isn't this fun.
We can also bring up completely unrelated instances of Catholic bad decisions that happened in different countries years ago and apply it to the current situation. Yeah, that'll show those stinking papists.
We won't even pretend to notice the cognitive dissonance of condeming a man for action that we believe to a Papist construct that has no actual effect in the spiritual or real world. Excommunication is now important to us damnit, how dare the man perform one without consulting with us first! And why doesn't he personally hunt down the molester with a pig spear? How dare the church even consider leaving the punishment of a crime to the domestic courts, isn't that why we have a wrold wide theocracy?
Oh this is fun. Hey hyperbolist, I have some first edition Jack Chick tracks you have just got to read. Did you know that the Catholic Church has started every war for the last hundred years and is in fact planning to blow up the sun, those evil bastards! True story.

STaylor, it's an organizati... (Below threshold)

STaylor, it's an organization predicated upon the infallibility of a human being who lives in Vatican City. Just because it has a large membership, and just because it's 2,000 years old, doesn't mean the Catholic Church doesn't fit the definition of a cult.

I'm glad that they're speaking gibberish when they speak about excommunication. However, in the eyes of a Catholic believer, this girl's mother just got banned from heaven whereas her rapist step-father did not.

Defend the Catholic Church if you will. There's a reason its membership is on the decline in the developed world.

Uh yeah... the Catholic Chu... (Below threshold)

Uh yeah... the Catholic Church is a religion and is predicated on far more than the papal infallability clause that was instituted only a couple hundred years ago. Besides most religions are predicated on the infalliaiblty of one person or another; Islam on Mohammad, Buddism on Budda and every Christian religion on Christ. Under your definition almost every religion is a cult, which I suppose could be your intent.
I actually agree this is wrong decision by this Bishop and as a practicing Catholic it does carry weight for me; and since you are presumably not a practicing Catholic, butt out. This does not concern you and you admit you don't believe in it either, so it should not matter to you in any way except to salv that chip on your shoulder.

On another note...
"it's an organization predicated upon the infallibility of a human being who lives in Vatican City." Replace Vatican City with Washington and suddenly Liberalism becomes a cult to. ;)

I don't think Jesus is supp... (Below threshold)

I don't think Jesus is supposed to be infallible. I think God is, as well as God's official spokesperson in Vatican City. And I have equal disdain for any religion or cult that attributes infallibility to a human being.

This does not concern you

The welfare of an innocent 9 year old is none of my business? Why not?

Replace Vatican City with Washington and suddenly Liberalism becomes a cult too

The seat of liberalism isn't Washington, it's in 18th/19th century Europe. I'm part of the cult of Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Nietzsche. I worship at the altar of the indominability of the human will and the primacy of objective rationality over faith.

Never been to Washington, and never intend to.

Wow. Bill Jempty the anti-... (Below threshold)

Wow. Bill Jempty the anti-Catholic strikes again. I'm so surprised.

What the hell happened to this site? Jay Tea, Paul, et al.? Used to be fun to read...

"Wow." Kozaburo drives by t... (Below threshold)

"Wow." Kozaburo drives by to stick up for those who would cast into hell the defenders of the victims of incestuous rape, but not the rapists.

Defending a medieval, monolithic entity like the Catholic Church doesn't make you a bad person, but it doesn't make you a bad person either for saying that the leadership of the Catholic Church is a bunch of morally bankrupt villains who have no credibility in the 21st century.

Hyper strikes again. Decry... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Hyper strikes again. Decrying the Catholic Church when he stated that doctors should be able to kill newborns under certain circumstances.

Yep Hyper you are the champion of humanity that we should all emulate.

BTW for those that dont kno... (Below threshold)
retired military:

BTW for those that dont know it there are several types of excommunication.

We dont know if the girl would have had problems. We only have a doctor who said that she probably would have. The youngest mother on record was age 5.

I am not saying that having the children would have been easy, but IMO an abortion should not have been performed.

The article did not even say if the girl wanted to keep the babies (I felt she should have had them either way - I am merely pointing out the hypocracy of the left). The left say "right to choose" but if it means that the girl chooses to keep the baby than that is bad. Look at Palin's daughter and the abuse heaped on her by the left.

Does the father deserve punishment? Most assuredly so. Should the girl have had to endure abuse? Absolutely not. Yet 2 wrongs dont make a right.

Two wrongs- Girl was raped,... (Below threshold)

Two wrongs- Girl was raped, church excommunicated her mother and doctors who saved her life. Definitely these two wrongs don't make a right.

BillThere is NO pr... (Below threshold)
retired military:


There is NO proof that the doctors saved her life.

The Catholic Church has certain rules to follow. If you do not follow those rules you are subject to excommunication.


The 2 wrongs were
The girl was raped.
An abortion was performed.

Whats your proof they didn'... (Below threshold)

Whats your proof they didn't? They're medical professionals, you aren't and neither is the Brazilian Archbishop.


We cut off insurance to pregnant mothers. $80 a week is important to the diocese! How about the life of the mother and child then! I can produce the letters from the diocese HR department. Do you know that??????

We allow our clergy to molest children and rather than kick them out of the priesthood, we move them to other parishes and allow them to molest more children.

Two consecutive bishops down here appointed by Rome had to resign due to sex scandals. TWO in a row.

That's the work of God? That's the work of corrupt or fallible humans. Don't tell me the bishop can't be wrong. He made his decision based on church rules, not the medical situation of the girl. If the mother can't successfully have a baby, the twins were good as dead already.

IMO an abortion should n... (Below threshold)

IMO an abortion should not have been performed.

And in the opinion of a doctor, it should have. She is nine years old. Have you ever had a daughter?

You occasionally say something reasonable but then you go on to say stuff like this and it makes everything else you have to say a lot less interesting.

HyperA stepdaughte... (Below threshold)
retired military:


A stepdaughter yes.

As a matter of fact s stepdaughter born from a rape.

Any other questions.

As I stated the record for youngest mother is 5 years old. we had this discussion before. In fact, I believe you made a comment along the line of how many 9 year olds get abortions.

I have no clue what the motive of the doctor is. I have no clue the motive of the mother. No I am not a doctor, at the same time I have yet to see a doctor say "If you have this baby you will die". Look at the research. The chances of a woman dying from giving birth is very rare. Yes I am sure it increases for young girls but the doctor cannot make a gaurentee that the girl would have died or the babies would have.

As it is now the only thing we are certain of is 2 unborn children were killed. But hey that doesnt matter to you. Whether it is 2 or 2 million.

The chances of a woman d... (Below threshold)

The chances of a woman dying from giving birth is very rare.

Can I assume that there are some words missing from this sentence? You don't mean to seriously suggest that in an undeveloped place like Brazil, there is little-to-no risk of a woman dying during birth... do you?

By the way, nobody has claimed that the girl would have died; only that the risk to her life was so serious that the doctor--a Catholic--decided that the best course of action was to perform the abortion. He did the right thing; the Archbishop responded like a savage; but in the end, the girl's life was quite possibly saved and the public outcry against the Church is a victory for reproductive rights in a conservative Catholic country.

HyperSo your sayin... (Below threshold)
retired military:


So your saying they have adequate facilities for abortions but they dont have adequate facilities for treating complications during pregnancy.

Got it that makes sense. NOT.

Good point. But I think th... (Below threshold)

Good point. But I think the same recommendation would have been made in a place like Canada or the U.S. So, my previous comment stands, but Brazil being undeveloped doesn't really matter.

It does, however, when one thinks about the general illegality of abortion in that country: over 1 million illegal abortions per year, with one quarter of them resulting in serious complications for the woman. That's something to think about when you consider whether or not abortion ought to be made illegal in the United States. (Specifically, it isn't a deterrent--even in a staunchly Catholic place like Brazil--and it simply creates greater risk for the pregnant woman who wishes to have the procedure performed.)

Hyper Your analogi... (Below threshold)
retired military:


Your analogies are bogus (as usual).

a. Proabortion folks always use this argument.
Facts are that most complications happened prior to Roe V Wade due to penicillian not being developed yet. After the development of penicillian deaths fell dramatically and most illegal abortions took place in doctor offices not back allies with coat hangers.

b. If Roe V Wade is overturned it would go back to the states. States like California will still have legal abortion.

c. I dont know where you get your "25% complications" figure. Got a source you can cite or are you just pulling numbers out of your ass.

d. With a million abortions a year you should be happy. I guess a million children dying a year isnt enough for you. What will it take to satisfy your lust for the death of unborn children? 2 million? 3 million?

e. Brazil has a population of
They have a live birth rate of
18.72 per thousand.
Their population is about 191 million.
That means that they have approx. 3.5 million live births a year. That means they are killing off about 1/4th of their population.
People like Hitler would probably be proud.

"Knucklehead" is too kind f... (Below threshold)

"Knucklehead" is too kind for Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho. It's almost like saying " Ah, sucks, just like a priest, one of the boys." In Brazil abortion is illegal -- except in cases of rape and when the mother's life is in danger. In this case both conditions existed. Yet the Catholic Church didn't care if the 9-year-old child was raped. Too bad. Nor did it care if the girl would die. Yes, it's sad, but too bad. And The church excommunicated the distraught mother and doctors who performed the emergency abortion to save the girl. The rapist, however, will NOT be excommunicated.

Why are Catholics leaving the rapist alone and allowing him to stay in good-standing with The church? Ethic Soup blog has written about a theory that "the many, many pedophile priests in the Catholic Church must feel a bond with the rapist." They are alike. You can the article at:







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