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Howie HowDoIReconcileAnAbortion wrote:

Hi, guys —

I would like to confess and reconcile myself with God and the Church. It's been at least 20 years since I've confessed and needless to say much has happened sin-wise since that time.

My main sin — if I can qualify such matters using that term — is the sin of abortion. Obviously, as a man I did not have the abortion myself. My girlfriend at the time did. While I was not 100% in favor of it, I went along with my girlfriend's wishes with little, if any, objection on my part.

  • I arranged for the abortion, and
  • I paid for it.

Although I eventually married this woman our dismal emotional and financial situation at the time (for which I blame myself) was a very heavy influence on my girlfriend's decision. If I had been a better man, this might not have happened. This is not to excuse the abortion but to put it into some kind of context.

In any case, I now know and understand what a terrible thing it all was. Nothing good came from it. Nothing good could ever come from it. I can't change it now, though I can confess it. I can be friends with God again.

  • But how?
  • How do I bring this up?
  • Is there some special procedure for such a grave sin?

Sorry if my words seem somewhat trite. They may not reflect my sincerity or the absolute need I feel for Reconciliation.

Sorry for having written so much. Any advice, thoughts etc. are welcome.

Thank you!


  { How do I reconcile the sin of an abortion (one I arranged and paid for) with the Church? }

Bob replied:

Dear Howie,

You can go to any priest for Confession (most parishes schedule it Saturday afternoons around 3pm); you say,

"Bless me Father for I have sinned, it has been at least twenty years since I have been to Confession, and these are my sins . . . ."

You can talk about your big one, and the little ones. Perhaps if you haven't been going to Mass — that's another big one. God is not a hobby, he deserves the respect and commitment that going to Mass every Sunday holds. If you really want to give your faith another go, do it right. Make a commitment to get with the program: pray, talk to God regularly (don't shut Him out of the big decisions), go to Mass and follow Christ.

He gave you a road map, follow it. God will wipe all your sins away. You are his son; he loves you and he wants a real relationship with you. He has seen and heard it all before, so don't wait.

Jesus Christ is everything you and I need to make our lives make sense, get off this planet with our souls intact, and to be the kind of person we were meant to be.

Go all in with Him and you won't regret it.


Bob Kirby

Mike replied:

Howie —

I just wanted to add an informational note to Bob's fine answer.

The sin of abortion incurs an automatic excommunication for the parties involved.

Previously, to have the sin of abortion forgiven and the excommunication lifted, the man or woman involved would have to see a a bishop, unless the bishop had given permission to his priests to absolve and remove the excommunication.

Pope Francis has recently extended this so that any priest can absolve the sin of abortion.

From the linked article: Pope Francis: Priests Can Absolve Abortion Sin Permanently

Francis clearly did not want the Holy Year of Mercy to come across as a one-time event. Rather, he sees it as the organizing principle for his pontificate and, in his view, for the entire church going forward. As part of that effort, Francis also used the letter to extend indefinitely the ability of any priest to absolve the sin of abortion — a sin that carries a penalty of automatic excommunication and had previously been reserved to bishops or specially designated priests to deal with.

“Here what is central is not the law or legal justice, but the love of God, which is capable of looking into the heart of each person and seeing the deepest desire hidden there.”

The new abortion policy sparked much discussion when Francis first announced the initiative last year at the start of the Holy Year, and on Monday Francis reiterated “as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life.”

But he repeated that he wanted to stress with equal force “that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart.” On this issue, he said, all priests should be “a guide, support and comfort.”

Hope this helps,


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