Question about abortion and confession


#1

Anyway, for the past 10 years I have been open to being convicted by the Holy Spirit for the abortions. By ‘open’ I mean that I am proactive in watching abortion discussions of all sorts (I watch primarily Christian channels so they come up fairly often). I’ve gone to Fr. Frank Pavone’s “Priests for Life” website and viewed the stages of development of potential humans/babies/fetuses (I don’t want this to be sidelined over terms.) I worked in the medical field for 25 years and at one time (18 y.o.) worked in the pathology department of a hospital where aborted fetuses were saved, so I wasn’t surprised. All I’m saying is that I still remain willing to be convicted by the Holy Spirit.

It hasn’t happened and I am at a loss as to what others angles I can approach this situation. Perhaps it revolves around my thinking at the time, “I made the best decision I could with the information I had (about my state of mind/beliefs).” Being military, it wasn’t about finances and it wasn’t about social stigma of having a child out of wedlock as it was quite common.

I watch the programs and listen to the testimonies of those who regret their decision. I’m just not one of them, thus far. And if I count all of the possible abortions from having an IUD for a long period of time (which doesn’t prevent conception but only implantation - which I knew at the time), then what? How does doctor-assissted abortion differ from an IUD abortion? I don’t hear people naming the possible children lost by IUD use … in fact, I hear nothing on EWTN about IUD use at all. Come to think of it, I’ve never heard any pro-lifer talk about IUDs. Hmm.

The lack of conviction by the Holy Spirit has me wondering if ‘true life’ doesn’t really begin only after the first breath. That perhaps there is spiritually more to that moment between delivery and the first cry that we all wait with baited breath and hope happens (I worked in OB as a medic on rotation for three months in the National Guard).

Even if I subsconsienciously believed that all children go to heaven under the age of 7, it doesn’t explain the situation with regard to *my own *soul - which I now care greatly about.

I was convicted of those I slept with outside of marriage, and confessed each one individually praying that the life force I stole from them in my depravity would be returned to them.

However, when it comes to the visible abortions (as opposed to the hidden ones by IUD), I get no other readings. Maybe the babies told God they were grateful I wasn’t their mother on this earth and to not hold it against me? I just don’t know.

I can’t be the only person in this situation but I’ve been unable to find information to help.

Thanks for any input anyone may have. Please don’t read this as a debate about pro-life vs. pro-choice. To recap: it’s about a missing element for Confession to be valid.


#2

As for your idea that “life” begins with the first breath, perhaps this passage will illuminate you as you say you are seeking the Holy Spirit to speak to you.

Luke Chapter 1
1:36 And behold, your cousin Elizabeth has herself also conceived a son, in her old age. And this is the sixth month for her who is called barren.

1:39 And in those days, Mary, rising up, traveled quickly into the hill country, to a city of Judah.
1:40 And she entered into the house of Zechariah, and she greeted Elizabeth.
1:41 And it happened that, as Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
1:42 And she cried out with a loud voice and said: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
1:43 And how does this concern me, so that the mother of my Lord would come to me? 1:44 For behold, as the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.

You see here that Elizabeth was in her 6th month of pregnancy, draw your own conclusions. May the Holy Spirit open your mind to the truth.


#3

Truly a pity, those that lose their lives solely for the convenience of another. Now that’s what i call “pro-choice”. I get to choose weather or not you live. If inconvenient at this time, you die and are no body. If I want you to be born, now your somebody. If i change my mind tomorrow and don’t want you, now your nobody again. Got to love choice. :cool:


#4

Abortion is murder. No question about that. We have no right to kill something God want to grow up.

You seek for the Holy Spirit to talk with you? Listen to Christ and you will hear Him, listen to Him thru the Gospels, listen to Him in the Psalms, where The Son is, there are The Father, and where The Father is, there is The Holy Spirit.

You are not Catholic, so confession is not possible for you, at this point. But you can always talk to a Catholic priest, or nun, if that feels better and easier, but talk, tell what you feel and why. It is not a confession that end with absolve your sins but you will feel better after you have told someone about your feelings and thoughts, and maybe you one day will join us? But above all, talk with someone and you will feel better.


#5

I suggest you contact Rachel’s Vineyard regarding post-abortion counseling. It is quite common for those who have had an abortion to remain invested in the idea that it is not really a baby. Perhaps some counseling can help you come to terms with the situation and make a good confession.

I do hope you will find healing. The Church tells us that life begins at conception, that God gives us each a soul at that time. Is this not satisfactory for you, that you believe that these children are not human and deserving of life until they are born?

As for IUDs, I am not sure why you think pro-life groups “never” say anything about that, it is quite the opposite. American Life League, Heritage House, One More Soul and others all have literature on the IUD and other methods of contraception, and when I sidewalk counseled at Planned Parenthood I handed out those materials and talked to women about these items regularly.


#6

Jeanne, From my reading of the word convict in your post, I read that you do not feel charged by the Holy Spirit for the sin of abortion. You are waiting for some sign from the Holy Spirit of your guilt. Without this feeling you understand this to be an element lacking in a good confession? You also feel it may be some concession that you have not sinned because you lacked full knowledge at the time, or that the children were pleased they died and are in heaven. You also hope it may be a sign that true life starts at the first breath.
You are still seeking this sign after much inquiry into abortion?
To quote Shakespeare “I think she does protest too much.”
In other words, may I suggest that you rationally know of past wrongs but you cannot face the emotional guilt this should engender. No one else can examine your conscience, but I would find the answer in prayer. Pray to the Holy Spirit for knowledge and wisdom. You are a person seeking goodness. Do not be too hard on yourself, but look hard at your soul and embrace Our Lord asking for mercy.
Even if you have the same emotional blockage to any guilt, ask Him to judge you and show you mercy. We have all done things we don’t want to look at again. Prayer may save you from a long road on continued enquiry. God Bless!


#7

I see a distinction, like Isaac, where some children are Children of Promise and not conceived in lust. The wiles of Tamar and Ruth give me pause as I can’t see their offspring as Children of Promise. But that’s a discussion for a different thread (and in a different forum, most likely).


#8

I was born, raised and educated Catholic. Today, I believe that Peter was selected to be the ‘rock’ of Christ’s ministry and that Christ knew that the Catholic Church would ‘take up the cause’. To the best of my ability (and endeavor to grow), I love the Lord my God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my strength and with all my mind; and, love my neighbor as myself.

To say that no one who is not Catholic or who has no access to a Catholic priest must necessarily die in their sins is pretty radical. If that was the case, why evangelize all nations to take them the NT? Christ did not make such a narrow provision.

1 John 1:9 ESV - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

James 5:16 ESV - Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

It is amusing that you assumed I was not Catholic because I’ve sinned. :wink: I’ve been convicted of, confessed and received Forgiveness for many transgressions of my former heathen ways. I have even become so sensitive to the ways of the Holy Spirit that when a seemingly ‘tiny’ matter of childhood came into my mind, I confessed it - and discovered that removing that ‘little’ sin unearthed a bigger one beneath that was buried in my subconscious. ‘Line upon line … and layer beneath layer’. Only the Holy Spirit could uncover what the devil within had determined would remain hidden from me.

The issue, for me, isn’t hardness of heart or a seared conscience anymore. The problem is that I can’t give testimony to the Forgiveness of the sin of the abortions (visible and invisible) without Conviction first.


#9

**IUD,
Morning-after-pills (be it RU486, Yuspe Regimen, Levonorgestrel or Ulipristal acetate)
Injection,
**are all ABORTIVE methods of birth control, since they impede implantation of a newly formed fetus if they were previously not able to prevent fertilization.

Condemning public voice as “silent” on condemning it tells us something else. Who is the public to speak? We are the ones to speak and so we should:

"IUD, Morning-after-pills and Injection are
ALL ABORTIVE! PRACTICING THEM IS ALL THE SAME MURDER!"

Having trouble with your history? Accept the truth and find a guide from a “spiritual figure” of your appreciation. Telling what you feel will loosen your burden.


#10

You have imperfect contrition, as in, you do want to confess in order to avoid hell. That’s enough. It sounds like you want to use your abortion to change the hearts and minds of others, but that is your idea and may not be God’s.


#11

You have given me an angle to follow as in pondering “remaining invested in the idea that it is not really a baby.” I always saw the potentiality of a fetus becoming human after birth, but not an actuality of human-hood while in the womb. It’s worth investigating and I appreciate your experience with problems surrounding the dilemma.

Thanks also for the info concerning IUDs. I guess I just haven’t happened onto radio or television programs that mentioned a problem with them. (Although I did do a search few minutes ago and found that “they now believe that IUDs prevent conception rather than prevent implantation”. Interesting.) Today, I am neither anti-abortion nor pro-abortion (and don’t advise either way). I simply don’t know what to think without direction from the Holy Spirit - but I remain willing to do the footwork to get to where He/She is on this matter.


#12

Well it certainly would be, but the Church has never taught that and does not teach it now.


#13

Changing people’s minds and hearts on abortion to make them see it bad (which is the truth) no matter in which form, may be not God’s? What do you mean?


#14

What sort of direction from the Holy Spirit are you expecting other than the unanimous consent of Christ’s Church for two thousand years that was promised by Christ “He who hears you hears me”?

If the direction the Holy Spirit led other Christians in for two thousand years was unanimously to believe Abortion to be a grave moral evil, then I doubt he would lead you in a separate direction.


#15

Frankly, I’m not a believer in the “they really don’t know how it works” line. Right. The FDA is going to approve inserting something inside women when the manufacturer “doesn’t really know” how it works exactly. No. They do know. There are several different types of IUDs, some with hormones and some without.

God bless you on your continued discernment.

You may also want to look to the women at Silent No More as well as Rachel’s Vineyard.


#16

Please be charitable. That was not what was written, or even implied, by the poster. They certainly made no such suggestion as “you must not be Catholic because you sinned.” If only non-Catholics sinned, then why would we even need the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession)? Doesn’t that seem a bit contradictory? :hmmm:

Your “religion” is listed as “Bible,” so the poster obviously assumed you were not Catholic (at this time), and was trying to offer you other appropriate means of support for your struggles. If someone is not Catholic, they do not have access to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but that is not AT ALL the same thing as saying non-Catholics (or Catholics without access to the Sacrament) must necessarily die in their sins.

And I agree with Petaro and 1ke.


#17

princeton.edu/~prolife/articles/wdhbb.html

Enter there and see if this can be helpful to make you sided on either anti-abortion or pro-abortion.


#18

I evidently spent a lifetime of ‘imperfect contrition’ if Wiki has the definition correct: “Imperfect contrition (also known as attrition) in Catholic theology is a desire not to sin for a reason other than love of God. Imperfect contrition is contrasted with perfect contrition.”

My usual way was to resolve not to do a certain thing because of fear of social or legal consequences. Not doing somethng because it displeased a God I didn’t know personally (nor like from OT), was not in the mix.

It was in AA’s rigorous 4th Step that I had the insight: “Wow. I don’t do ‘good’ things for Goodness sake; I do ‘good’ things so that others will tell me I’m good - so that I can believe myself that I’m a good person.” Trouble was, that band-aid kept falling off and I would need to do more ‘good’ things to keep hearing that I was a good person. (When down deep, I felt shameful, underserving, worthless, unwanted, unlovable…)

Early this morning on the “Amer. Religious Town Hall Meeting” program, one of the pastors made a statement that struck even deeper than the one above. He said, “It is the *proud spirit *who gets tired of doing good if his labors go unnoticed.”

It was instant recognition and conviction. How many times have I stopped doing a helpful act when I was no longer praised for doing so or received no praise at all? How many jobs have I left because my efforts were not adequately acknowledged? (Read: The amount of praise given didn’t offset the degree of ‘wrongness within’ needing coverage.)

My workaholic/perfectionist bent wasn’t from Godly Character but from desperation not to face the core of my misery. Epiphanies are Grace induced. “Awareness is the answer; willingness to see, the key.” I’m grateful that I was in ‘willing mode’ this morning.

It sounds like you want to use your abortion to change the hearts and minds of others, but that is your idea and may not be God’s.

That would make sense if I was out campainging for abortion rights to remain legal to ‘cover my guilt’. Or to keep abortion legal so guilt doesn’t surface.

Personally, I know that outlawing abortion isn’t the Answer. Long before modern abortion, herbal concoctions were used throughout history by women (and insisted upon by men). These methods are in use in other countries today. The practice of abortion stems from spiritual deficiency. Banning abortion, to me, is tackling the wrong end of the problem. Making abortion illegal will not solve the greater spiritual problem.

I’m not looking for a ‘stamp of approval’, but to Understand. I simply can’t just walk away from the absence of Conviction on this issue and assume the Holy Spirit approves somehow. If wrong, send me conviction; if right, show me the precept that makes it so. If it was right in my case but wouldn’t be in others, show me the criteria.

Perhaps the witholding of Conviction is so I will dig deeper and find something I wouldn’t find if I thought ‘it was all taken care of’. When an issue appears closed, I naturally concentrate on other areas. By this one remaining open, I feel bound to keep searching for the ‘piercing of the Sword’ moment. I exhausted all the avenues I could think to look, so I opened it up to other eyes.

I do appreciate the input of everyone causing a ‘stirring of the pot’ of my mind to rethink things or find new angles of search.

I’ve just had ‘fallout’ from writing something above. Maybe the Holy Spirit is more interested in my Understanding the ‘causes and conditions’ of the promiscious soul in the first place. Search the root, so to speak, not just seek forgiveness for the bitter fruit my tree produced; to be made anew, not be patched up. I don’t wanna be a fig tree no more - or a parasitic mistletoe, whichever the case may be. :wink:


#19

Jeanne,
science has clearly determined that a fetus is a human being from the moment of conception. If you worked in the medical field, you surely know this. It’s impossible that it should be anything else – fetuses do not turn into trees or elephants, but into infants who grow up to be adults: each is a stage in the development of a human being.

I simply don’t know what to think without direction from the Holy Spirit - but I remain willing to do the footwork to get to where He/She is on this matter.

As Catholics, we are required to agree with the Holy Father and the Magisterium, who have told us that abortion is a grave act equivalent to murder. You may not feel it emotionally, but it’s enough for a good confession to know it intellectually.
I authorized an abortion years ago, and still regret the loss of that young woman’s chance at life – she would be in her 30s now. Can you tell me you really don’t, at some level, grieve the loss of your child’s chance to experience life?
In any event, that’s not the point. You know enough to make a good confession.
God bless.


#20

Sorry, I did somehow miss the fact that you are Catholic. You should really confess, your life will feel better after that, but I guess you know that.

And open your heart and you will hear what The Holy Spirit want to tell you, and only you know what you want to hear, it might not be what you will hear but whatever it might bee, listen.


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