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  #1  
Old Feb 28, '08, 11:55 am
PenitentConvert PenitentConvert is offline
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Unhappy Absolution after abortion

I posed this question in the AAA forum, but as I need some help ASAP I thought I'd post it here as well.

Here is my situation: I am going to be brought into full communion with the church this Easter, and I need to make my first confession - the sooner the better. The prospect has me completely terrified because when I was 16 years old I had an abortion. I have regretted it ever since. At the time I was young and scared that my parents would throw me out on the streets if they found out I was pregnant, and I felt pressured by my boyfriend (to get an abortion) also. Still, I was not FORCED to do it, and I did it anyway. I cannot blame anyone but myself for my actions.

Emotionally I think I have come to terms with this a long time ago (I am now in my late 30's) but I have this horrible sin on my soul. I worry that the priest will not grant me absolution - what then?

I have been told that the only sin that cannot be forgiven is one that you are not sorry for. Is this true? I was afraid to ask my catechist about this because I'm ashamed of what I did all those years ago.

I appreciate any advice any of you can give me. I'm in quite a tizzy at this point and I need to do this as soon as I can.

Thank you in advance.
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  #2  
Old Feb 28, '08, 12:06 pm
bilop bilop is offline
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Default Re: Absolution after abortion

Quote:
Originally Posted by PenitentConvert View Post
I posed this question in the AAA forum, but as I need some help ASAP I thought I'd post it here as well.

Here is my situation: I am going to be brought into full communion with the church this Easter, and I need to make my first confession - the sooner the better. The prospect has me completely terrified because when I was 16 years old I had an abortion. I have regretted it ever since. At the time I was young and scared that my parents would throw me out on the streets if they found out I was pregnant, and I felt pressured by my boyfriend (to get an abortion) also. Still, I was not FORCED to do it, and I did it anyway. I cannot blame anyone but myself for my actions.

Emotionally I think I have come to terms with this a long time ago (I am now in my late 30's) but I have this horrible sin on my soul. I worry that the priest will not grant me absolution - what then?

I have been told that the only sin that cannot be forgiven is one that you are not sorry for. Is this true? I was afraid to ask my catechist about this because I'm ashamed of what I did all those years ago.

I appreciate any advice any of you can give me. I'm in quite a tizzy at this point and I need to do this as soon as I can.

Thank you in advance.
Conratulations on joining the Church!

Don't worry, as long as you are repentent, you will be forgiven.

Find a good, faithful priest and confess all your sins. Make an appointment, since your first confession will likely be a long one. Go to confession behind the screen if the privacy would make you feel better (I always use the booth/screen).

As long as you confess all mortal sins that you can recall (not specific instances, just type of sins and approximate frequency) ALL your sins, even those you may not recall will be absolved.

God Bless
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  #3  
Old Feb 28, '08, 12:09 pm
duskyjewel duskyjewel is offline
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Default Re: Absolution after abortion

Any sin you are truly sorry for, and which you confess honestly and fully, will be absolved.

Can I also recommend Rachel's Vineyard, an organization that offers compassionate post-abortion counseling? Here is their website: http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/
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  #4  
Old Feb 28, '08, 12:10 pm
water water is offline
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Default Re: Absolution after abortion

bilop had already answered, so I just wanted to say "Congratulations and Welcome Home!". Repent and be at peace for God is mercy.
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  #5  
Old Feb 28, '08, 12:15 pm
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joamy joamy is offline
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Default Re: Absolution after abortion

Welcome home!!!

Confession is a wonderful sacrement (they all are) - it is one of healing. Talk to your priest - tell him about your sins and tell him what you are worried about (ie why you are worried that he would not absolve you). I can just about guarentee that you will feel wonderful after you are through.

Seconds on the Rachel's Vineyard - you can also check w/your diocese to see if there are any retreats coming up.
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  #6  
Old Feb 28, '08, 12:15 pm
jimmy jimmy is offline
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Default Re: Absolution after abortion

Quote:
Originally Posted by PenitentConvert View Post
I posed this question in the AAA forum, but as I need some help ASAP I thought I'd post it here as well.

Here is my situation: I am going to be brought into full communion with the church this Easter, and I need to make my first confession - the sooner the better. The prospect has me completely terrified because when I was 16 years old I had an abortion. I have regretted it ever since. At the time I was young and scared that my parents would throw me out on the streets if they found out I was pregnant, and I felt pressured by my boyfriend (to get an abortion) also. Still, I was not FORCED to do it, and I did it anyway. I cannot blame anyone but myself for my actions.

Emotionally I think I have come to terms with this a long time ago (I am now in my late 30's) but I have this horrible sin on my soul. I worry that the priest will not grant me absolution - what then?

I have been told that the only sin that cannot be forgiven is one that you are not sorry for. Is this true? I was afraid to ask my catechist about this because I'm ashamed of what I did all those years ago.

I appreciate any advice any of you can give me. I'm in quite a tizzy at this point and I need to do this as soon as I can.

Thank you in advance.
You don't need to worry. As the scriptures say the only unforgivable sin is that which is against the Holy Spirit. That is basically a sin of unrepentance. Look at saint Paul. He was a murderer but recieved forgiveness for his sins. We are all sinners and Christ forgives us.
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  #7  
Old Feb 28, '08, 12:16 pm
Christine Blake Christine Blake is offline
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Default Re: Absolution after abortion

Quote:
Originally Posted by PenitentConvert View Post
I posed this question in the AAA forum, but as I need some help ASAP I thought I'd post it here as well.

Here is my situation: I am going to be brought into full communion with the church this Easter, and I need to make my first confession - the sooner the better. The prospect has me completely terrified because when I was 16 years old I had an abortion. I have regretted it ever since. At the time I was young and scared that my parents would throw me out on the streets if they found out I was pregnant, and I felt pressured by my boyfriend (to get an abortion) also. Still, I was not FORCED to do it, and I did it anyway. I cannot blame anyone but myself for my actions.

Emotionally I think I have come to terms with this a long time ago (I am now in my late 30's) but I have this horrible sin on my soul. I worry that the priest will not grant me absolution - what then?

I have been told that the only sin that cannot be forgiven is one that you are not sorry for. Is this true? I was afraid to ask my catechist about this because I'm ashamed of what I did all those years ago.

I appreciate any advice any of you can give me. I'm in quite a tizzy at this point and I need to do this as soon as I can.

Thank you in advance.
I am so sorry that you had to go through this. I have taught high school for many years and seen the pressure on girls to hide pregnancies, abortion being one of the "outs"...
That being said. Confession is for YOU - it is a GIFT that we are given and not only will your sin be forgiven, but you will be released from all the pain and guilt that you carry. I have heard many priests say, after years of service, that there is not a commandment they have not heard broken...an abortion will not surprise, shock, or disappoint your pastor, have no fear. You are confessing to Jesus and He already knows...Beyond confession, look into Project Rachel - it is a Church sponsored group that helps women heal from abortions...if you are in a place of peace, perhaps you can help others get there...
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  #8  
Old Feb 28, '08, 12:18 pm
Faustina Pio Faustina Pio is offline
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Default Re: Absolution after abortion

Quote:
Originally Posted by PenitentConvert View Post
I posed this question in the AAA forum, but as I need some help ASAP I thought I'd post it here as well.

Here is my situation: I am going to be brought into full communion with the church this Easter, and I need to make my first confession - the sooner the better. The prospect has me completely terrified because when I was 16 years old I had an abortion. I have regretted it ever since. At the time I was young and scared that my parents would throw me out on the streets if they found out I was pregnant, and I felt pressured by my boyfriend (to get an abortion) also. Still, I was not FORCED to do it, and I did it anyway. I cannot blame anyone but myself for my actions.

Emotionally I think I have come to terms with this a long time ago (I am now in my late 30's) but I have this horrible sin on my soul. I worry that the priest will not grant me absolution - what then?

I have been told that the only sin that cannot be forgiven is one that you are not sorry for. Is this true? I was afraid to ask my catechist about this because I'm ashamed of what I did all those years ago.

I appreciate any advice any of you can give me. I'm in quite a tizzy at this point and I need to do this as soon as I can.

Thank you in advance.
My sister is a Catholic and had an abortion when she was a teenager. She recieved absolution. There is no reason why you cant receive absoulution and I would not worry about it. Padre Pio had a girl confess her sins to him, but she forgot to admit the abortion. Being he could read souls, he told her she couldnt receive absolution until she really thought deep into her sins. He wanted her to remember. She did, went to confession again and he absolved her. So this is a situation where you can see, they want you to confess that sin, they want to give absolution.
The only sin not forgiven according to Jesus in the bible is blasphemy of the holy spirit. As far as being sorry, there is non perfect contrition and perfect contrition. Non perfect means that you are confessing and are sorry because you are afraid of hell and punishment. Perfect contrition is confessing and being sorry because of pure love for God. Both receive absolution. The degree of our regret and perfect or non perfect contrition is in accord with time in purgatory. One more thing Padre Pio said....Most people say you confess a sin one time and its forgiven. It is true, if your sorry. But St Pio said if you feel the need to confess a sin more than once, than do so.

Alicia B
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  #9  
Old Feb 28, '08, 12:22 pm
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SMOM SMOM is offline
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Default Re: Absolution after abortion

WELCOME HOME!!!!!

All sins are forgiven if you are sorry. HOWEVER, this one may be a little trickier. For a Catholic, according to the catechism, abortion incurs excommunication which may only be lifted by the bishop, unless he has given permission to his priests to do so. Because you are not YET Catholic, I don't know what that means for you. You may want to ask for a private confession with your priest before the scheduled one to raise this issue.

This may help explain better than I have:

Q. 1. Does the Catechism of the Catholic Church teach us anything about how a Catholic can be forgiven of the sin of abortion?

A. 1. The following two sections of the Catechism of the Catholic Church state:

# 2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae," [CIC, can. 1398] "by the very commission of the offense," [CIC, can. 1314] and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law. [Cf. CIC, cann. 1323-1324] The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society. [1463]

# 1463 Certain particularly grave sins incur excommunication, the most severe ecclesiastical penalty, which impedes the reception of the sacraments and the exercise of certain ecclesiastical acts, and for which absolution consequently cannot be granted, according to canon law, except by the Pope, the bishop of the place or priests authorized by them. [Cf. CIC, cann. 1331; 1354-1357; CCEO, can. 1431; 1434; 1420] In danger of death any priest, even if deprived of faculties for hearing confessions, can absolve from every sin and excommunication. [Cf. CIC, can. 976; CCEO, can. 725] [982]

Q. 2. What does that mean in simple English?

A. 2. It means that anyone who has an abortion, participates in an abortion, or supports an abortion, he or she, by the previously mentioned actions, is automatically excommunicated from the Catholic Church. (C.C.C. # 2273)

Accordingly, that person can no longer receive any of the Sacraments of the Catholic Church, be it the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist (Communion), Marriage or the Sacrament of Confession. For an excommunication to be lifted (ended), the sinner must approach the local Bishop, inform him of his/her "latae sententiae" excommunication through the sin of abortion and ask the Bishop to have the excommunication lifted (ended) and to be absolved of the sin of abortion. The Bishop may authorize a priest to specifically deal with this absolution on his behalf. (C.C.C. # 1463) Contrary to the popular belief of Catholics, this does not mean that all priests can absolve a penitent of the excommunication. Only a priest who is specifically appointed by the Bishop to do so, may do so.

Q. 3. Does that mean that if a woman had an abortion and confessed it to a priest who had not been specifically appointed by the local Bishop to lift her excommunication, that her sin was never forgiven?

A. 3. That is correct! There have been many instances where priests did not realize that an abortion incurs an automatic excommunication. As such, while they may enjoy the authority to forgive sins, they do not have the authority to lift excommunications. Consequently, while a person is excommunicated, that person cannot validly receive any of the Sacraments, that including the Sacrament of Confession. (Exception: In danger of death any priest, even if deprived of faculties for hearing confessions, any priest can absolve from every sin and excommunication.)
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  #10  
Old Feb 28, '08, 12:23 pm
Ms. Cilantro Ms. Cilantro is offline
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Default Re: Absolution after abortion

I assure you that you are condeming yourself more than the priest hearing your confession ever will. You are not the first person to confess this. I encouraged a friend of mine who was Catholic and who had an abortion to go to confession and it was a very powerful healing experience for her. How good is God that he has brought you home to his church so that you can receive absolution. Understanding and compassion are wonderful but absolution is powerful.
Be courageous.
Ms. Cilantro
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  #11  
Old Feb 28, '08, 12:36 pm
Orionthehunter Orionthehunter is offline
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Default Re: Absolution after abortion

PenetitantConvert:

While you said that you "Emotionally I think I have come to terms with this", it is obvious that you still suffer from it. But this is exactly the fruit that comes from the Sacrament of RECONCILIATION: Peace and understanding that nothing you can do is unforgivable, that God loves you perfectly and unconditionally, and that only true Peace comes from God. The greater we suffer from our sins, the greater the fruits when we take them to our Lord.

I'm so impressed that you don't blame others for your act. It shows you have been graced by God. Satan likes us to think that fault lies with another because it prevents us from going to God w/ contrition. Because of the deep emotions and contrition that you feel, I suggest that you ask that your first Confession be privately scheduled. This will allow both of you to feel that you have no time limits. Sometimes when I feel a need for a more intensive Confession, I don't go during times when others will be waiting.

The advice to contact Rachel's Vineyard or any of its derivatives (local Catholic organization formed to deal w/ the aftermath of abortion) is good. Not all across the country are named after St. Rachel. Even after you have recieved full absolution from Christ, you may still feel a need to deal with it from a temporal standpoint. This might provide the opportunity.
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  #12  
Old Feb 28, '08, 12:42 pm
PenitentConvert PenitentConvert is offline
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Default Re: Absolution after abortion

Thank you all so very much for your kind replies. I have been wound so tight worrying about this I can hardly think straight. I was aware about the penalty of excommunication for a Catholic woman who has an abortion, but I really had no idea what to expect in my own situation. My catechist told me to confess mostly sins I struggle with currently, rather than going over all the past with a fine tooth comb, but did say that the exception was if I had had an abortion, which I had to confess regardless of when it happened.

I have just had this horrible fear the priest might tell me I'd have to do a year of penance or something before being allowed to become fully Catholic.

I am scared but I'm trusting the Lord to see me through this, come what may. I know that God already knows everything about me, and I get the feeling that He's waiting for me to "meet Him halfway", as it were, and to do this.

Thank you all so much and I appreciate any prayers you can throw my way.
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  #13  
Old Feb 28, '08, 12:49 pm
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joamy joamy is offline
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Default Re: Absolution after abortion

Coming from a convert, it's normal to be scared. I was terrified b/4 my first confession. How do you summarize 40 years of stuff? I floated out of the confessional afterwards, though.

Don't stress about it and enjoy this time. Easier said than done,but it is so worth it.. .
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  #14  
Old Feb 28, '08, 1:00 pm
PenitentConvert PenitentConvert is offline
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Default Re: Absolution after abortion

I wanted to add this also, especially with all the Rachel's Vineyard recommendations....

Obviously this has not been my only serious sin over the years, and in my late teens/early 20s I lived a pretty sinful life. When I was 20 I again became pregnant. I was in a very supportive relationship and my bf & I decided to give up our baby for adoption. (I guess being a little older & wiser abortion was NOT an option...) It was an experience that completely changed my life and began to turn things around for me as far as sin/repentance & my relationship with God go.

When people heard we were giving the baby up, so mnay said to me "oh at least you're not having an abortion!" Yeah, lots of mixed feelings there. I ddn't think I deserved any praise. I felt like this was the least I could do to atone. One child died, and one child lived. I love them both.

I don't know if Rachel's Vineyard would be for me - I really do feel that I've worked through those issues. Anyway, my point is that because I have this sort of unusual background/situation, I hope in future to work with some sort of crisis pregnancy or abortion alternatives ministry or apostolate. I haven't been able to do so yet but I hope that will change soon.
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  #15  
Old Feb 28, '08, 1:08 pm
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: Absolution after abortion

SMOM's information does not apply in this case of OP, and furthermore, source, attribution and link were not provided.

OP was not Catholic when this sad incident occurred, and she was a minor. Neither a minor nor a non-Catholic can incur the penalty of excommunication. Her confession can be heard by any priest and her absolution will be complete and valid. Furthermore bishops in most countries HAVE given the faculty to their priests to lift the penalty from those who have incurred it by abortion. SMOM should check her facts.

Welcome home, to OP, and I cannot recommend highly enough a Rachel's Vineyard retreat for true healing. you also were the victim of this violent act, all the sadder for the part played by your parents and boyfriend. confession will take away any part of the sin that was yours, but healing is still needed, which always comes through the Eucharist, but the RV retreat is a powerful experience.

yes by all means confess current sins and current sinful habits and conditions, but you are obliged to confess all sins of your past life, including this one that is most troubling to you. again, welcome home, and we will be praying for you as you approach the peace and joy of this beautiful sacrament.
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