Healing the Wound of Abortion

(Dr. Theresa Burke)

We all know the Church is the Body of Christ. As such it shares in his glory in heaven, but also here on earth in his wounds. One of the most grievous wounds which afflicts the Body of Christ today is the sin of abortion. That wound is often untreated, festering. Still there have been some attempts to bring Jesus' mercy and healing. Last year we heard about Project Rachel which is dedicated to post-abortion healing here in the Archdiocese of Seattle. Another group with a similar name is Rachel's Vineyard. Its founder, Dr. Theresa Burke, was interviewed by the National Catholic Register. Here is part of what she had to say:

"The Holy Father, in the Gospel of Life, talks about (aborted) children being alive in the Lord and he said nothing is definitively lost which means that each child that was aborted has a soul that is very much alive with the Lord and this is the hope we give to women on the weekend. We help to establish a spiritual relationship with their aborted child or children. In order to do this, they first have to acknowledge the life they have lost.

"This is part of the denial which keeps a lot of women from even grieving, that they lost something. A lot of women do realize that, but it's later. Maybe when they are pregnant with a wanted child, they might remember their abortion and say, 'My God, I would have had another baby.' All kinds of memories come back about their abortion and this can be a very painful time. So the weekend helps them address all these issues, realize the impact the abortion has had and certainly, to own that child, to reclaim that child in love which is something important for any mother to do--to reconnect with the baby, name the baby, give honor and dignity to the baby and to realize that this child is alive with Christ...."

Speaking about the depression and anguish which is often a part of post-abortion trauma, Dr. Burke had this to say:

"Well, abortion is really a trauma...it can come back to haunt you in other ways. A lot of women might have anniversary reactions around the time of their abortion; they might develop eating disorders or try to numb their feelings in their memory with alcohol or substance abuse. A lot of women feel enormous guilt and shame over this act...and their might be people they are really angry at....I've heard probably thousands of women and men in deep grief and deep despair. They have never been warned of this. There is a denial in the industry that it's even a reality. They say that post-abortion trauma doesn't even exist."

Acknowledging that men are often wounded by their part in an abortion, the weekend retreats include men, "sometimes even grandparents of aborted children. It's a very beautiful weekend, an opportunity to look back on the abortion decision and, I guess, take stock of how it may have impacted them--something a lot of women may have never done."

If you desire more information, there is a confidential number you can call: 1-800-822-HOPE. I also encourage those who dealing the with the wound of abortion to come to the sacrament of reconciliation. Confessions are scheduled here at Holy Family Saturday mornings from 9 to 10 a.m., also Wednesday evenings at 7:30 p.m. While Fr. Jaramillo is available he will be hearing confessions most Thursdays from 8 a.m. till 8 p.m. Call the rectory, 206-767-6220 during office hours to be sure about his schedule.

P.S. I encourage you to subscribe to the National Catholic Register. The cost is $29.95 for a 26 week trial subscription. There address is National Catholic Register, P.O. Box 373, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0373. Or call 1-800-421-3230.