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Abortion
Question from P.M. on 12-03-2015:
In 1986 I had an abortion, I was 42 years old. In 1987, I confessed to a visiting priest presenting a parish novena. Sometime later I found out that a person who had committed this sin was automatically excommunicated. I was very upset. Would that knowledge had stopped me? I don't know. I went to confession to my pastor, who told me that I was in full communion. I kept confessing the sin, until I was told by a priest to stop. Now I find out that the Pope has given this power to all priests. Does this mean that all this time I was in fact excommunicated? If so, I have led a sacrilegious life. I'm very upset.
Answer by Catholic Answers on 12-04-2015:
P.M.--

In the U.S., abortion is so common that many bishops usually delegate the faculties to lift excommunication for abortion to their priests. What Pope Francis did was to extend this to all priests everywhere in the Year of Mercy.

You have confessed this many times, and the priest who asked you to stop doing so was correct. Please try to believe that the Lord forgives you. He did so the very first time you confessed. It may be that you are still dealing with grief for your lost child and that has been why you have felt the need to continue to confess. Rather than confession for an already-forgiven sin, at this point perhaps you might want to consider post-abortion counseling. Most dioceses have this service available. Just call your diocese for information, or contact Project Rachel. God bless.

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers


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