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Mary Ann Thomas wrote:

Hi, guys —

Six years ago, my daughter found out she was pregnant. We found out his gender at 20 weeks. The doctor discovered that the baby was a boy and had severe spina bifida. His back had a huge open lesion and it was determined that he was paralyzed from the neck down, blind, deaf and his brain was sinking into his spinal column.

Left with two options, my daughter decided to have a medical extraction [an abortion]. Her and her husband were devastated as was our whole family. She has had an extremely hard time recovering mentally from this decision.

  • Can you please tell me if what I read about Church mandates and commandments is true: that she was excommunicated?
  • I know that Jesus forgave even the hardest of criminals, so doesn't she qualify for the same?

She's had another child and this one was also born with spina bifida, although not as severe as her brother. Through surgeries and physical therapy, she's now able to walk.

She wants to come back to the Church but, is afraid of what will face her when she goes to Confession.

Please advise us.

Thank you very much.

Mary Ann

  { Can you advise my daughter who wants to come back to Church but has had an abortion? }

Paul replied:

Dear Mary Ann,

By medical extraction I assume you mean an abortion. Your daughter is correct that according to canon law those who procure an abortion or who have assisted in someone doing so, have automatically excommunicated themselves. However, some say that one must know about the excommunication law for the penalty to be incurred.

The good news is that it seems your daughter is remorseful and repentant. If I'm not mistaken, Pope Francis has given every priest the authority in the Confessional to forgive persons in Christ's name who have had abortions. It used to be that only a bishop could forgiven this sin.

My suggestion is that she go to Confession immediately. She will feel so much better and will be reconciled to our Lord and His Church, enabling her to receive Holy Communion again.

If she needs more support, have her contact Project Rachel or Rachel's Vineyard.

When you say:

  • I know that Jesus forgave even the hardest of criminals, so doesn't she qualify for the same?

we need to remember that all that is needed is true repentance and a purpose of amendment, for one to be forgiven by God. Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross has justified all repentant sinners, regardless of how heinous their moral crime may have been. Thanks be to God.

Sincerely,

Paul

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