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January 29, 2007



It seems to me that it is not *necessary* to add the "moral coloring" of the fact that the possibility of an abortion was foreseen. The penitent has already confessed the mortal sin of fornication.

The additional circumstance is "free matter" and not strictly necessary.

I don't think we want to encourage scrupulosity. On the other hand, it would likely be an occasion of tremendous grace and insight to reflect and possibly confess (as free matter) that an abortion was forseen but the sin was committed anyways.

Why does the penitent "need" to confess the circumstance?


Maybe I should email you about this, but there may be questions about someone actually procuring an abortion which excommunicates her. How one can be brought back into the church? Does confession and penance bring one back? Or do they need to do more? Or have you covered this in a previous post?


Hello Suzanne,
I believe this has been discussed in the past. From what I recall, the authority to lift the excommunication has been delegated (don't know the church term) to parish priests in the US, at least, after the sin is confessed in confession. Maybe Jimmy will add some authoritative clarification.


"From what I recall, the authority to lift the excommunication has been delegated (don't know the church term) to parish priests in the US, at least, after the sin is confessed in confession."

Given that Catholic women in the United States have abortions at roughly the same rate than non-Catholic women do, it seems unlikely that anything resembling excommunication happens after a women confesses to having an abortion. This sort of thing never seems to be mentioned in public, although if the priest has the authority to lift the confession that seems to imply that no actual excommunication procedures ever take place. In that case, there doesn't seem to be a distinction between not being in a state of grace and being excommunicated. It's essentially the same thing.

Some Day

Respectable behavior.
Glad you repented. That stuff haunts you when you don't. Our Lady bless you.

I just think it's sad that Abortion is the sin that dare not speak it's name but the death penalty is a-okay, and the church constantly endorses candidates overtly or covertly who support "lock 'em up and throw away the key" failed policies of justice that therefore lead to overcrowding of prisons and inhumane treatment of persons for whom incarceration would only exacerbate their issues and their threat to the community upon release. Yet, these things never get mentioned - they're not sexy. It's always abortion, loose women having abortions. What about the guys who they have it with? Where is their culpability in the matter? Where is the Catholic moral teaching on standing with the girl you knock up? Guys have it so easy as catholics.

Agree or disagree with abortion, but i don't think its a great issue of shame. Pregnancy Happens, abortion happens, Biology happens. It is simply one response to biology.

If anything I think the real shame is the for the guy. People who can't take responsability are lame. Having the abortion or having the baby, both responsable choices in my mind, but walking out is just dumb.


As Bishop Sheen used to ask: "So what's your sin?"


"Pregnancy Happens..." No, it is the result of an action.

"...abortion happens..." No, it is the result of an action.

"It is simply one response to biology." So is punching your lights out. Does that mean you want somebody to do it?


"Having the abortion or having the baby, both responsable(sic) choices in my mind..." Do you really think that God agrees with you?

"...but walking out is just dumb." I'm with you on that one, although I think "evil" would be a more accurate word than "dumb".


Remember God's Mercy. Seek it and Him. He forgives *all* repented sins, even the sin of abortion. But you must seek his Mercy; He will not force it on you.


"...the church constantly endorses candidates..." The Church does not endorse candidates. Not even "covertly".


"...'lock 'em up and throw away the key' failed policies of justice..." Guess that depends on what you mean by "failed". Such policies certainly protect law-abiding citizens from career criminals who would prey on them. But, to support such a policy, one must have a desire to protect the sheep from the wolves.

bill912, Professional Sheepdog

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