Confession and abortion


I was recently reading about the concept of excommunication latae sententiae, and the fact that procuring an abortion results in it. I also read that, at least in the United States, priests are authorized to lift this form of excommunication in the case of abortions.

My question is this: If a person in the United States were to go to Confession and confess to having received an abortion, would the Confession then proceed like normal, with the normal Absolution, or would the priest have to do something different to lift the excommunication?

And for that matter, in other parts of the world (and presumably in the U.S. for other sins resulting in excommunication latae sententiae,) what would a penitent have to do to have the excommunication lifted?


The confession proceeds as usual.


As far as I know, only a good Confession and Absolution is required to lift this kind of excommunication.


I believe the means of being absolved of other sins is set out in the Code of Canon law - and if I recall correctly, some might require the direction or involvement of the bishop, and others of Rome. Since I presume it is a theoretical question, I would assume you could theoretically (:D) research the Code… Good luck - not the easiest of reading.


As far as I understand in most, if not all countries, the priest has the authority delegated to him to lift an excommunication for the sin of abortion. Sadly abortion became so widespread and frequent it was a practical matter delegating to the priest.

Of course, “automatic excommunication” only applies if the party involved knows the sin of abortion is of grave matter and carries the penalty of automatic excommunication and goes ahead with the abortion.
If a woman has an abortion but did not know it was a sin of grave matter then she has has not committed a mortal sin and is not excommunicated.
If a woman has an abortion and knows it is a sin of grave matter but goes ahead anyway she has committed a mortal sin but if she does not know it carries the penalty of automatic excommunication then she does not suffer that penalty.


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