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Jane Smith wrote:

Hi, guys —

I'm Protestant and 29 years ago I had an abortion (God and I have talked about this often) and I'm in the process of converting to Catholicism.

I'm also in the process of having my first marriage annulled. This happened long before I married him, but he is aware of it and is trying to use this information against me, so that he won't look bad in the process. He doesn't mind the annulment but wants it on his terms. He's remarried to a Catholic girl and he doesn't want her to find out some of the things I was intending to include in my reasons for an annulment — alcoholism and emotional abuse are just a few of the reasons.

He says that if the Church knew about my abortion they would never let me join.

Since I'm converting, I'm not sure of how the Church would view me and even if they would let me join. It was a very long time ago and I've turned a lot of things around since then but I don't know what I need to do now.

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Jane Smith

  { Can I join the Church if I've had an abortion and my former husband is trying to mess things up? }

Mike replied:

Hi Jane,

Thanks for the question.

The Church welcomes you with open arms and I see no problem with you being able to join no matter how difficult your ex- is making the process. Fr. Jonathan may have more to add about your situation.

I use to run a free program that sent Catechisms to seeking Protestants and non-Christians but no longer have the financial or operational means to do this anymore.

Seeing you may be preparing to take RCIA classes in the near future, I would encourage you to consider buying a cheap copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to learn everything we believe as faithful Catholics.

You also may be interested in my favorites page.

Mike

Fr. Jonathan replied:

Hi Mike,

  1. She is certainly welcome to come into the Catholic Church. Since she is presumably already Baptized, she won't be Baptized again which would wash away her sins, but she will be given an opportunity, as part of the entering the Church, to go to the Sacrament of Confession.

    Even now as a Candidate for entering the Catholic Church she could see if the diocese near her has a Project Rachel office. This group helps people who have had abortions speak about their remaining feelings and they also assist with finding appropriate and trained Confessors. If her diocese doesn't have one, she could still benefit from their experience by calling some other diocese's Project Rachel Hot line.

  2. If her former husband has filed for an annulment then she will have an opportunity to tell her side of the story. If she can she could include this information, about the abortion years prior to her first marriage, it will help the Tribunal come to a decision as it is part of her history.

    The Marriage Tribunal is not looking for fault but only the truth of what happened.
    What is recorded in the Tribunal study will have no outside audience and is kept strictly confidential. In other words, her fitness to becoming a Catholic is not something that the Tribunal judges or shares. This women should have no worries that the Church will reject her after she tells her story to the Tribunal or that the information will even be shared with the local Church preparing her.

The bottom line — the Church will not judge you differently and you will be able to join despite what he has said.

Fr. Jonathan

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