Dear Fr. Phil

I have read many articles about the right to life movement and the Church. However, I have yet to come across anything with regard to a woman who has been raised Catholic and has had an abortion, but is sorry and wants to come back to the Church. Is it possible to do so, and what does one have to do? Thank you for your response.



Dear T.

Important question. The way back is to see a priest in the sacrament of reconciliation (confession). Most priests I know are highly compassionate to a woman who has had an abortion. The woman may even want to call a specific priest and ask for an appointment so there can be more time. I usually recommend to read paragraph 99 of Evangelium Vitae (Gospel of Life)--where the pope directly addresses the woman who has undergone an abortion. Also Project Rachel has tremendous help in this area.

It is true that the sin of abortion incurs an automatic excomunication, but the priest can lift that in the sacrament of confession, and thus restore the person to Christ and the life of the Church.

May I post this on my web-site? I am sure many others have the same question. Where are you?

God bless.

Fr. Phil


I am in Atlanta. My question is even more complicated because when my father was dying a priest came to the house and gave me absolution so that I could take Communion. So now I'm even more confused. I feel like I should be walking in salt on my knees or something.

I'm sorry I seemed so short in my last response. I am at work and my boss was walking up behind me. I am from Atlanta, Georgia. Yes, you may use my question. I am so happy to have found you on the Internet. I still have my other question about absolution, though. I believe that absolution takes away sins, so do I still have to go through talking to a priest? I've been carrying this around so long I think I would probably faint before opening my mouth! Thank you for your help.


Dear T.

I apologize for being so slow in getting back to you--and that I missed the question on absolution. You have probably already gone to a priest, confessed and it felt wonderful! If not, put yourself in that future frame of mind knowing you will soon be there. What I am saying is you do need to confess the specific sin to a priest. That is one of the conditions of "general absolution," to make an integral confession (at least of serious or mortal sins) when it is reasonably convenient. Let me know. My prayers are with you.

God bless,

Fr. Phil

Letter to a Woman who Had an Abortion

Abortion and Free Choice

Pro-Life Directory

Germaine Greer on Birth Control

Stem Cell Research: Teaching of Bible & Catholic Church

Human Cloning: A Catholic Perspective (How the Unthinkable Became Inevitable)

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