During my pregnancy with my daughter, my husband and I were given a misdiagnoses that our daughter had a fatal disorder and would not survive birth. The doctor advised us to terminate and we made the appointment. We were, thankfully, interceded by someone working with the 40 Days of Life at the clinic who led us to both the church and a doctor that told us our daughter was perfectly healthy! Our daughter was born happy and healthy in June of 2013.
We were not members of the church at the time, but are both now in RCIA and hoping to join during Easter. I learned recently during my studies that abortion is an offense punished by excommunication - are we ‘worthy’, so to speak, of joining the church after considering such a horrible choice?
This should not worry you or your husband in any way what so ever.
You were acting on the best information you had at the time, in good faith.
You were not Catholic at the time; thus, not held to the norms and laws of the Church
You didn’t go thru with the act. Even if you had, that is not in impediment so great as to prevent you from being received into the Catholic Church. It might require review by the Pastor… hence my #4
4)If this still bothers you, please, set up a time to discuss this with the pastor. During our parish RCIA program there is a time for receiving the sacrament of reconciliation and your Pastor may suggest that you bring this with you at that time in RCIA, 5) Forgive yourselves.
First of all, congratulation with the opening of your eyes for the beauty and the truth of the Holy Catholic Church you’ve both been heavily blessed to be granted the grace of desire to become Catholics it doesn’t happens to everyone trust me.
And take my advise, leave this matter behind you.
You didn’t commit it so no harm done:)
Also If this really bothers you take it up as a part of your general confession prior to initiation at Easter and let father decide wether or not it is a mortal sin.
And no, you aren’t worthy to serve the the Most Holy God in his church, but no one has ever been. That’s where the mercy of Christ comes in:)
So please, continue into the RCIA program and leave this matter behind you and trust in the infinite love and mercy of Christ to be your salvation.
And yes it results in an automatic excommunication to partake in abortion for Catholics, but even for us there are mercy if we have regrets are remorseful and seek the sacrament of reconsiliation.
The only thing different from the confessing of abortion comparing to any other mortal sin is that one has to get an absolution from the bishop and not the priest.
Anyway as others has posted, this does not apply to you as you weren’t even Catholics at the time nor was you familiar with the teachings of the church.
I believe what it really is, is that the bishop has the authority to grant absolution. He can also delegate that authority to the priests of his diocese. I believe in the US, most bishops have done this, but in other parts of the world it may be less common. Also, I believe that any bishop could revoke this delegated authority at any time if he wanted to.
I’m not sure whether the ability to delegate the authority was new in the 1983 code, but I wouldn’t think it would have changed since then. However, I’m not in any way an expert in canon law, and welcome correction by those who are.
While excommunicated, the person is excluded from the sacraments, including confession. The excommunication needs to be lifted at the time of or prior to the receiving of confession. Priests need to be authorised to lift excommunication.
One is automatically excommunicated for having or assisting an abortion. Ordinarily, it is only the Bishop who can give remission of the excommunication, and this is done in confession. Hence the sin is absolved their too.
Often, the authority of the Bishop in this regard is delegated to priests.