Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Myths of Brazilian Abortion Case

I have specifically avoided any mention of the Brazilian abortion case involving a 9 year old and her incestuous father, partly because it's too horrible to even talk about and partly because the American media in particular has misrepresented the facts of the case with regularity, making the Catholic Church out to be a punitive, uncaring bureaucracy.

However, after reading Joshua Treviño's article over at First Things, I am astonished at his depth of knowledge, clarity, and charity regarding the matter; Treviño is an Orthodox Christian writing from Sacramento, California. Treviño draws from Canon Law, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Pope Pius XII’s 1951 Allocution to Large Families, Scripture, and good old-fashioned journalistic integrity to make his case. I can do no better than to refer you to his article.

I recommend reading it in full.

This reporting generally advances three related ideas: that the Church imposed excommunications in retaliation for the abortions, that the Church imposes a lesser sanction upon a pedophiliac rapist than upon a well-meaning abortionist, and that the Church believes the little girl’s life is worth less than those of her unborn children. All three are false.


What, then, explains the failures of English-language, and specifically American, journalism in this awful affair? Partly it is a professional laziness, or more charitably, an inexactitude encouraged by understaffed newsrooms and deadline-driven reporting. Partly it is the foreignness of it all, with everyone directly involved speaking Brazilian Portuguese, and a consequent reliance upon translations and paraphrases transmitted from bureau to bureau.

Unfortunately, the foreignness doesn’t end there but also includes the stark unfamiliarity of faith and its demands. And so what we get is paraphrase that swiftly becomes inaccuracy, and inaccuracy that evolves into a series of fantastical lies: A self-imposed penalty becomes a mean-spirited rebuke; an Archbishop pleading for the life of the unborn becomes a malicious clerical martinet; and a depraved rapist of children becomes a Catholic in good standing. At the end of it all, the only truths in the media reports are those of two unborn children dead, one nine-year-old child horrendously violated, and the morass of anger and incomprehension resulting thereof.

[read more]

1 comment:

Patrick said...

That is truly a horrifying situation.


Related Posts with Thumbnails