Cardinal Wants to Keep Peru's Door Closed to Abortion

Lima Archbishop Speaks Out Against Constitutional Plan

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LIMA, Peru, NOV. 26, 2002 ( Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani spoke out to defend the unborn in the face of preliminary approval of a change in the Peruvian Constitution that would establish a «right to abortion.»

During the closing Mass of the 4th National Congress on Family Planning, entitled «The Value of Human Life,» the archbishop of Lima said that abortion is always murder.

«And it is not possible to try with vague and mistaken words — as is the case of the new draft of the Constitution — to recognize the right to abortion,» he said.

Last month the full Congress approved a change in Article 2 of the Constitution, which prohibits the death penalty, and points out specifically: «abortion is prohibited but for the exception permitted by law.»

ACI-press explained that with this line, Peru not only would have the first Latin American Constitution that speaks of abortion, but also one that opens the door to the legalization of the procedure, since it does not define the scope of the exception.

Congress must approve all constitutional reforms in a further vote before the change takes effect.

Bishop Luis Bambarén Gastelumendi, president of the Peruvian episcopal conference, published a document on behalf of the episcopate in which he also condemns this constitutional change.

Addressing thousands of faithful crowded in Lima’s cathedral, Cardinal Cipriani said that it not right to be silent «when in the name of a certain pseudo-scientific approach — because science has demonstrated that life exists from the instant of conception — a murder is committed.»

«There is no exception at all when the word abortion means the murder of one who already has life,» he stressed.

«Sometimes they say, ‘That is true for Catholics,'» the cardinal added. «No, gentlemen, every day science increasingly opens its doors to revealed truth, and is showing the world the only truth; because it is demonstrating that there is life from the first instant of conception and, therefore, to attack it is murder.»

«May the law of God fall with full force on the consciences of those who have the legal responsibility, because to take the life of the unborn is not a topic subject to opinions,» he continued.

«If the Lord says that the one who feeds the hungry, visits the sick, clothes the naked will go to heaven, what words will he have for the one who defends the weakest, poorest, most solitary life — that of the unborn?» the cardinal asked.

«Blessed are those who raise their voices to defend the unborn, no matter what their situation. And we cannot be so cowardly as to say this: ‘The death penalty, never, but to kill the unborn is permissible sometimes,'» he said, alluding to the constitutional article.

Cardinal Cipriani warned that «this is the official voice of the Church: The Church does not accept abortion under any conditions; legality is another matter. Let us pray so that we can reflect and realize that it is a very great regression to open a false door so that murderers can enter through it.»

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