To clarify on several things, including my personal thoughts, and how 'right' or 'wrong' the Church, in general, was.
Yes, I am legitimately angry about this, even though it happened 3 years ago. I admit to being a rather antagonistic person in general towards Organized religion, but there are moments where I feel justified in yelling from the rooftops about a decision or action by the church's leadership that effectively forces my brain to spend a few reboot cycles figuring out what the shit happened.
The Church has, in its books, a selection of laws and statutes that applied to this issue; one of them simply states that anyone who performs a mortal sin, unless they do not have the mental capacity, or are under the age of 16, is automatically excommunicated. You would ~think~, then, that Rape, of a family member no less, would be considered a mortal sin. However, the only people Excommunicated were the 9 year old's mother, and the doctor who performed the abortion, as the Church would rather have 3 dead people than one living child who never should have been put in that position in the first place.
Secondly, the abuse of the girl by her stepfather had been going on for 3 years; that is more than enough time for the abuser to poison her mind and justify the abuse, such as 'everyone she knows is hurt by her'. What message did the Cardinal send when he publicly declared the excommunication against the girl's mother, who was only trying to help a scared, hurt child? That would reinforce the abuser's negative reinforcement that she would 'deserve' the abuse, because everyone that 'helps' only gets hurt by her.
Thirdly, as per the Code of Canon Law 1323 and 1324, due to the Extenuating circumstance involved, the excommunication should have been immediately revoked, due to subsections 4, 5 and 8 in Canon 1324.
Can. 1323 The following are not subject to a penalty when they have violated a law or precept:
1/ a person who has not yet completed the sixteenth year of age;
2/ a person who without negligence was ignorant that he or she violated a law or precept; inadvertence and error are equivalent to ignorance;
3/ a person who acted due to physical force or a chance occurrence which the person could not foresee or, if foreseen, avoid;
4/ a person who acted coerced by grave fear, even if only relatively grave, or due to necessity or grave inconvenience unless the act is intrinsically evil or tends to the harm of souls;
5/ a person who acted with due moderation against an unjust aggressor for the sake of legitimate self defense or defense of another;
6/ a person who lacked the use of reason, without prejudice to the prescripts of cann. ⇒ 1324, ß1, n. 2 and ⇒ 1325;
7/ a person who without negligence thought that one of the circumstances mentioned in nn. 4 or 5 was present.
Can. 1324 ß1. The perpetrator of a violation is not exempt from a penalty, but the penalty established by law or precept must be tempered or a penance employed in its place if the delict was committed:
1/ by a person who had only the imperfect use of reason;
2/ by a person who lacked the use of reason because of drunkenness or another similar culpable disturbance of mind;
3/ from grave heat of passion which did not precede and hinder all deliberation of mind and consent of will and provided that the passion itself had not been stimulated or fostered voluntarily;
4/ by a minor who has completed the age of sixteen years;
5/ by a person who was coerced by grave fear, even if only relatively grave, or due to necessity or grave inconvenience if the delict is intrinsically evil or tends to the harm of souls;
6/ by a person who acted without due moderation against an unjust aggressor for the sake of legitimate self defense or defense of another;
7/ against someone who gravely and unjustly provokes the person;
8/ by a person who thought in culpable error that one of the circumstances mentioned in ⇒ can. 1323, nn. 4 or 5 was present;
9/ by a person who without negligence did not know that a penalty was attached to a law or precept;
10/ by a person who acted without full imputability provided that the imputability was grave.
Fourthly, Why did the church NOT excommunicate the Abuser/Molester/Rapist? There was no explanation given stating why a 23 year old man that raped a pre-teen for 3 years was given the privelege of 'Not being thrown out of the church'. There were NO followup reports at all on that angle, which leaves a LOT of questions unanswered.
Fifth, the Bishop of Gap, France as well as Archbishop Rino Fisichella, then President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, cited the laws in the Canons I pointed out above in their Defense of the girl, the girl's mother, and the doctor. So this moment of Extreme public stupidity on the part of Cardinal Giovanni Batista Re.
Now, hopefully, all this will force the church to pulls its head out of is collective backside and start making some progress on things, but it's far more likely that, like in Ireland and the Northeast USA's child abuse scandals, the people involved will be quietly shuffled about until the uproar subsides.
Edit: This link leads to an interview with the doctor who performed the abortion. http://spuc-director.blogspot.ca/2009/03/doctor-in-abortion-of-nine-year-old.html
I think this comment, from the Doctor, best sums it up.
Iím an active Catholic, but in this case I found myself before a nine-year-old girl who risked dying for being sexually abused. From the legal point of view the Brazilian law allows us to stop pregnancy resulting from rape or where thereís a risk of death. From the moral point of view, what we did was acceptable, something I would do to anyone close to me, even a relative. And from the religious point of view, our intention was to promote good. Despite the strict codes of the Catholic Church, we didnít feel intimidated by these codes, so we acted to save the life of the child, which was most important.