The OR editors have apparently just made another questionable decision that violates journalistic standards. Earlier this year, the OR published what was later seen to be a hasty ill-advised essay by Mons. Rino Fisichella, in his first few weeks as President of the Pontifical Academy for Life - in which he criticized Brazilian bishops for actions taken fin connection with the medical abortion of twins conceived by a 9-year-old girl raped by her step-uncle, without fully informing himself of the circumstances nor even bothering to check out his facts with the bishops concerned.
Worse, Fisichella's article appeared to say that in this case, the abortion was justified. Many pro-life workers felt the article, at the very least, served to sow confusion about the Church's teaching on abortion, and the bishops of Brazil expressed their protest.
Whether the OR should have published the article at all, given the circumstances, is certainly debatable, at the very least. Especially as it had not previously reported the Brazil events at all as news, which would presumably have been objective.
But this new disclosure is outright violation of journalistic fairness.
Brazil archbishop complains
Vatican newspaper won't publish
his side of abortion controversy
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Latin America Correspondent
RECIFE, BRAZIL, June 3, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, is asking that the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano
publish his response to Archbishop Salvatore "Rino" Fisichella, who criticized him on its pages on March 15 for having announced the excommunication of the doctors who assisted in a now-famous abortion on a nine-year-old girl.
"It seems to me important that L’Osservatore Romano
should publish my response," Cardoso told the French newspaper Present
in a recent interview. "This is what we are trying to obtain, as we have been from the start."
"We sent the archdiocese’s response to Mgr Fisichella’s article to Rome. It’s a natural right to be allowed to respond if someone has been publishing false information, for who knows which motive: the readers of L'Osservatore should also be in a position to know the other point of view."
The article, entitled "On the Side of the Brazilian Girl," shocked the pro-life world by defending the doctors who killed the unborn twins of a nine-year-old child in Recife, Brazil, and criticizing Cardoso for announcing the automatic excommunication from the Catholic Church incurred under Church law for committing an abortion.
Cardoso observes that the piece by Fisichella contained raw factual errors
. In particular the article implied that the world would never have known about the case if the Archbishop had not mentioned the excommunication, suggested that Cardoso had immediately announced the excommunication without prior contact with the media, and that the girl's life was in danger from the pregnancy.
In reality, the Brazilian media had already been reporting on the girl's situation for several days, and the hospital where she was initially admitted acknowledged that she was in no danger at the time of the abortion (see LifeSiteNews' extensive coverage).
Cardoso also explains that he had already spoken to the media several times even before the abortion was committed. “I expressed myself several times [to the media] because this affair of a nine year-old pregnant girl attracted widespread media attention," he said. "Above all, we did all that depended on us to save three lives: not only the life of the little girl, but the three lives. When the abortion finally did take place, I simply recalled once more the law of the Church.”
Pro-abortion activists, including the former President of "Catholics for Choice," Frances Kissling, openly applauded the article by Fisichella, which critics have said used rhetoric similar to that of the pro-abortion movement.
Although the Archdiocese of Olinda and Recife has responded to the charges, L'Osservatore Romano
has yet to reprint any of the material defending the decision by Cardoso.
However, two members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Judie Brown and Joseph Seifert (see coverage), have objected publicly to what they have said is an attack on Cardoso, as has Human Life International and other pro-life organizations.
Deal Hudson has this to say about the matter:
Vatican nnwspaper refuses
to correct errors - once again
Posted on June 04, 2009
by Deal W. Hudson
The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano
, continues to provide evidence that it needs a new editor.
The editor, Giovanni Maria Vian, has already provided the Catholic Left its messaging for Obama's reelection campaign in 2012 with its inaccurate and biased coverage of his pro-abortion stance.
Now Vian refuses to publish any mention of a statement from a South American bishop disputing the facts of an article criticizing him in the Vatican newspaper. (You may recall, it was only under pressure that Vian published any mention of the U. S. bishops who criticized Obama's Notre Dame speech which L'Osservatore Romano lauded.)
The decision of the Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho to excommunicate those who provided an abortion for a pregnant 9-year old girl in his diocese was criticised in OR by none other than Archbishop Salvatore "Rino" Fisichella, the head of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
Archbishop Fisichella defended the doctors who provided the abortion because, he claimed, the girl's life was in danger. The girl's life was never in danger, according to Archbishop Cordoso, yet OR will not print a correction. When the girl was originally admitted to the hospital, the hospital spokesman stated the girl's life was not in danger.
Fisichella also implied Cardoso announced the excommunication without any prior contact with the media. Cardoso, in fact, had already been interviewed in the media about the pregnant girl over several days -- "Above all, we did all that depended on us to save three lives: not only the life of the little girl, but the three lives. When the abortion finally did take place, I simply recalled once more the law of the Church.”
The list of unanswered questions about the leadership at L'Osservatore Romano
grows longer by the week. OR praises our pro-abortion president; lauds his appearance at the Notre Dame commencement; its editor declares Obama "not pro-abortion;" publishes criticism of Archbishop Cardoso's defense of life, and then ignores its crucial factual errors.
Very strange times at the Vatican newspaper, and very alarming!
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/7/2009 7:40 PM]