Hey everyone,

If someone commits abortion…what does it to be excommunicated from the church

thanks in advance


Welcome to the board! :wave:

Willingly, knowingly, and freely getting an abortion or assisting in one is an automatic excommunication.

In order to be readmitted to the Eucharist, such persons must go to confession and comply with the teachings of the Church in this matter from then on.


I always meant to look this up, but since the excommunication has to be lifted, isn’t there a little issue about the Bishop empowering the priest-confessor to do so? Is this automatic? Anyone know?


I think all bishops have delegated this power to confessors.


Yes, as I understand it, at one time only a bishop could lift an excommunication, but because the sin of abortion has become so widespread, this faculty was given to the priests, as well.

Maybe someone has a reference to canon law on this issue?


I think the delegation is a specific action in each diocese; not a matter of canon law.


I thought it was diocesesan decision, too. So…is there a list or something? The priests here can’t even be counted on to actually give absolution. It seems it would be useful to know something about the proper form of lifting an excommunication.


No. A few serious sins are reserved for the personal intervention of the bishop, and abortion is one of them, certainly in England and Wales.
It can of course be forgiven, but only if the bishop is satisfied that the seriousness of abortion has been appreciated. Not everything is as simple as saying two Hail Mary’s.


In the Philippines all priests have the authority to forgive this sin and grant absolution. Thereafter the penitent can receive Communion. There is no reference by the priest to the bishop of the situation.


first one cannot be excommunicated unless one is first in communion with the Church, so a non-Catholic is not excommunicated, because they are not in communion in any case. The power to lift the ban of automatic excommunication incurred by any Catholic who procures, performs, assists, enables or otherwise promotes abortion is reserved to the bishop. The bishops in the United States have all given the privilege of absolving this sin and lifting the excommunication in confession to the priests. Don’t know the discipline in other countries. This was discussed rather recently so a search either under morality or liturgy and sacraments will turn up threads with links to actual sources for this.


From the CCC:

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,” “by the very commission of the offense,” and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law. 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.

2322 From its conception, the child has the right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a “criminal” practice (GS 27 § 3), gravely contrary to the moral law. The Church imposes the canonical penalty of excommunication for this crime against human life.

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. In danger of death any priest, even if deprived of faculties for hearing confessions, can absolve from every sin and excommunication.

From the Canon:


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