Cristiano Ronaldo Is Alive Thanks to a Conscientious Objector

Mother of Talented Portuguese Soccer Player Says She Would Have Aborted Him But for Refusal of Her Doctor

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Seventy individual prizes, among which are two Gold Balls and a FIFA World Player, a jumble of trophies won with the jerseys of Sporting Lisbona, Manchester United and Real Madrid. And even a string of records that require a good measure of patience for one who wants to read them all, as well as two high honors conferred by the Portuguese State.

No small merit for these achievements is owed to an unknown Portuguese doctor. Small and fragile is the vulnerable body that grows day by day in the womb of a woman, but great is the noble gesture of one who carries out his work with professionalism and faith and thus succeeds in saving a human life from abortion.

Back in 1984, the life that this man saved was that of Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the most prolific soccer players in terms of achievement in recent years. It was the mother herself of the star player of Real Madrid and the Portuguese national side who revealed the behind-the-scene-action in her autobiography Mother Courage, which came out last Friday in Portugal. In one of the most touching passages of the book, the woman, who is called Dolores Aveiro, recounts when she discovered she was pregnant with the child who would later become the famous Cristiano Ronaldo.

“At the time I was already 30 and had three children, and it seemed to me I couldn’t face a new birth and enlarge the family so I turned to a doctor who, however, refused to operate on me,” she explains. It was anything but a rosy picture in her home, having to feed her children Hugo, Elma and Catia Liliana, which every day became a more arduous challenge with a husband, Joser Dinis, who was unemployed (he died in 2005 an alcoholic, and with savings reduced to a minimum).

However, that doctor’s reluctance and his attempt to dissuade her from aborting did not stop the woman’s determination, who tried to end her pregnancy with a “home-made” medicine” suggested to her by a friend. “She told me to drink dark hot beer and the child would die.”

However, the beer did not succeed in stopping the vital energy of the beating heart in Dolores’ womb. A few hours after having taken the potentially murderous drink, tranquility continued to reign in the lower part of her abdomen, a sign of the ineffectiveness of the “home-made medicine.” Little by little the woman – already accustomed to nursing, diapers and night crying – decided to have her fourth child. “If it’s God’s will that this child be born, so be it,” was her profound thought.

On February 5, 1985, in a city of the Selvagge Island, a small archipelago of the Atlantic Ocean closer to the African coast than the Portuguese, Cristiano Ronaldo was born, a strong and healthy baby, who saw the light of day in an anonymous place and who would become famous throughout the world for his exceptional soccer talent.

A rather delicate behind-the-scenes story, which his mother decided to publish after being authorized by her son Cristiano, who today even has the strength to joke about it: “See, mother, you wanted to abort me and now it is I who hold the purse strings at home,” and to think that the temptation to end the pregnancy stemmed in fact from economic difficulties. If that doctor had not been faithful to his oath and, therefore, firm in his opposition to abortion, today the soccer world would have one star less in its firmament. And to look at the firmament, we know, we must look up. This is why conscientious objection is always a gesture that looks on high.

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Federico Cenci

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