Absolution For Abortion

What does a priest do if a pregnant girl or woman has an abortion, knowing she’s committing a mortal sin, but feels like she has no choice, then afterward feels remorseful? Does she receive absolution or is she excommunicated, or what?

She can receive absolution with a valid confession.

Abortion incurs an automatic excommunication if the person knew she would be excommunicated and wasn’t forced into having the abortion. There are one or two other things that might mitigate the action and cause excommunication to not occur.

If she sincerely regrets it and confesses, the priest will ask as many questions as he has to to determine if she, in fact, excommunicated herself.

If she did excommunicate herself, he may have the faculty to lift the excommunication, in which case she is absolved and the excommunication is lifted.

If he hasn’t been given the faculty to lift the excommunication, he may have to request it from the bishop, being careful not to reveal her identity, and see her in confession again. Or he may have to send her to confess to someone who has the faculty to lift the excommunication.

I can’t believe this :nope: How does this demonstrate compassion and God’s merciful love?
Can only hope that most Priests would act with greater kindness, as Jesus would.
God bless you.

I may be mistaken, but I’m sure according to Catholic teaching only the reigning Pope and he alone may grant absolution for receiving an abortion willingly.

No. While there are excommunications that can only be lifted by the Pope, the one for abortion is not one of those.

I don’t understand. The priest is going to do everything he can to have her forgiven. Would you have him lie to her and pretend to do something which he is unable to do?

If she has plucked up the courage to go to Confession, having for whatever reason gone through the trauma of an abortion, why can she not be granted Absolution? Is there not a risk that if women know that they will be excommunicated, then they will just live with it, never mention it and carry on as practising Catholics, in the same way that people treat contraception or living in a same-sex relationship.

Understand that the priest is not excommunicating her, if in fact she’s excommunicated, she has excommunicated herself. If the priest is able to lift the excommunication he will. If he can’t, he’ll help her find someone who can.

Really, all Catholics should know that one is automatically excommunicated if one has an abortion or performs one. If you don’t know that that occurs, then you are not excommunicated.

There are resources to help.

rachelsvineyard.org

Would it be unfair to ask the question this way:

“Is there not the opportunity, that if women knew (beforehand) that they would be excommunicated, then they will just not have the abortion in the first place?”

:shrug:

Women have abortions for many heartbreaking and desperate reasons. It is often a very hard decision and certainly not an easy option. I have comforted several women who have made that choice, grieved for them and tried to ease their anguish when they leave the clinic.
Why would they even think that a Church would condemn them and excommunicate them at a time when they have had to undergo something so traumatic. We cannot know why people have an abortion - only God knows the truth about any of us. I cannot imagine Jesus being cruel or turning them away from a Church where they have sought forgiveness.

Absolutely – except in rare cases, I would think, abortion isn’t a choice that a person makes cavalierly.

Why would they even think that a Church would condemn them and excommunicate them at a time when they have had to undergo something so traumatic.

Two thoughts here, and my apologies in advance if this sounds harsh. No one “has to undergo” an abortion; rather, people choose to do so. Perhaps, of course, they feel they have no other option; yet, that’s never the case! They do have other options – perhaps ones that are difficult or unpleasant, but nevertheless, the options are there! The fact that they wish not to exercise those other options does not imply that they’re not present. On the other hand, perhaps they feel bullied or compelled to make that choice (in which case, their culpability is diminished, and the person bullying them takes on that culpability). Yes, I know it sounds cold … but the notion “I had to have an abortion” is one that we accept all too readily, and is one that, I believe, must be challenged.

Secondly, the Church doesn’t “condemn” people for abortion, but wishes that they return to God’s love, and provides the means by which it might happen. Also, as others have indicated, a ‘latae sententiae’ excommunication (that’s the technical term for it) is one that a person incurs on himself or herself by virtue of an action that he or she takes. It’s not that the Church excommunicates us, it’s that we ourselves step away from communion with the Church by virtue of our actions.

I cannot imagine Jesus being cruel or turning them away from a Church where they have sought forgiveness.

And yet, that’s not at all what you’ve read in this thread! Abortion can carry an ecclesiastical penalty; if the confessor is unable to lift the penalty, he doesn’t “turn them away”! Rather, he acts in order to ensure that the penalty is lifted, and then provides absolution! He doesn’t respond “so sorry… can’t help you!”, but rather, “we will get through this; let’s work together to return you to a state of grace”…

What about rape? Would you condemn someone to carry a rapist’s seed to full term? :eek:

The Church would ask, firmly but with love, why you would murder an innocent child because of the sins of the rapist?

Emily, it seems that you do not have a complete understanding of the Church’s teaching on abortion. No matter the cause of the pregnancy (rape, incest, unmarried, unwanted, artificial insemination) the Church sees the baby is human and is deserving of life. No one, except for the God that put the soul into that life has the right to end that life.

I sense how emotionally involved you are with this subject however I would ask that you read more on what the Church has always taught, and why. I think you will be in a better position to understand the responses here.

A baby is still a human being, in spite of the tragic circumstance of it’s conception. Yes, I would expect (not condemn) someone to carry the baby to full term and then make the right decision concerning the child’s future.

The real question here would be “is it a sin to kill a baby in utero?” Regardless of the circumstances of the conception, the answer is clear: yes, all abortions are intrinsically sinful.

And, to tell you the truth, I haven’t yet met the child conceived through rape who would say, “It was wrong for my mom not to abort me. She shouldn’t have been ‘condemned’ to give birth to me.” :wink:

p.s., it is morally licit to try to prevent conception following rape, but it isn’t morally permissible to kill a child once conceived…

With respect - Would you feel the same way if it was your daughter or sister who had been raped? What if the victim is a very young girl?
I cannot understand how any compassionate Christian could think that a woman who has been traumatised and often physically injured by rape should consequently be punished for a further 9 months. It’s inhumane.

Wait - what you’re asking is if I’d feel the same way if it were my grandchild or niece whose life was being threatened? Yes… I would.

I cannot understand how any compassionate Christian could think that a woman who has been traumatised and often physically injured by rape should consequently be punished for a further 9 months. It’s inhumane.

You’re right: a compassionate Christian wouldn’t think that. They would realize that a child isn’t a punishment.

Gorgias,

We have strayed from the o.p, for which I apologise to other posters.
You and I must just agree to disagree on this issue.
Nothing will ever convince me that it is right to subject an already traumatised rape victim to continue with a viciously enforced pregnancy, which can only compound the brutal attack she has already sustained.

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