Portugal: Will the Church abstain on abortion?

Source: FSSPX News


The Portuguese government has announced that the decriminalization of abortion will be put to a referendum next January. Before a date can be fixed for the referendum, it must have the approval of Parliament by October 19, then that of the President of the Republic and the Constitutional Tribunal.

 Mgr. José Policarpo, Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, has stated that the Catholic Church (through his voice) will not give orders on how to vote. Indeed, he said, the fact of being opposed or not to the legalization of the voluntary interruption of pregnancy “is not a religious question”, but a question of “fundamental ethics.” I will “obviously not make any suggestion on which way to vote,” but “I think that if I had doubts on such a fundamental personal problem, I would abstain.”

 Already, back in 1998, during the referendum on the liberalization of abortion, Mgr. José Policarpo, had declared that “Voting ‘yes’ in the referendum would not lead to excommunication.” Whereas Mgr. Antonio Monteiro, the bishop of Viseu, had stated: “Whoever votes ‘yes’ must leave the Church.”

 During the referendum in May 2005 on the European Constitution, Cardinal Policarpo considered that the absence of reference to Europe’s Christian roots was “not a reason to vote ‘no’”… “When there is a referendum, I will vote ‘yes’, because it seems to me that it is a necessary step in the construction of the European Union.” He referred back to the declaration of the Commission of Episcopates of the European Community (COMECE).

 Mgr. José Da Cruz Policarpo, the Patriarch of Lisbon was made a Cardinal by John Paul II during the Consistory of February 21, 2001.