FR. CATOIR: Abortion and Divine Mercy


In this column I want to reach out to all women, especially those who have had an abortion. Without diminishing the seriousness of the sin, I want to tell them about the Good News of the Gospel.

I’ll begin with this universal truth: “Never put a limit on God’s mercy.” You’ve heard it said that God is love. Well it’s true. God’s love is infinite, unconditional, and unchanging. Do not live in some dark corner apart from His loving kindness.

There are no unforgivable sins. The only sin called unforgivable in the Gospels is the sin of refusing God’s forgiveness. A person who refuses to accept God’s forgiveness cannot receive it. The main point however, is that God wipes away all the sins of everyone who repents and asks Him for forgiveness. As far as worrying about the baby’s well-being, you must leave it up to God to shower him or her with love.

When I hear confessions, I conclude with these words, “You’ve made a good confession; now put your mind at ease and try as best you can to trust God’s love completely. For now, renew your good intentions and go in peace.” 

At a recent White House Press Corps dinner, their entertainer made jokes about yanking her baby out of her womb. She even used the word “baby.” Watching an audience laughing at this kind of humor was horrifying. Mother Theresa and millions of saints in heaven, must have been outraged. So were millions of Americans of all faiths. There is nothing funny about abortion.

It’s difficult to write about Divine Mercy on this topic. It seems like you’re downplaying the magnitude of the evil. I tried it once many years ago, and to my utter shock, the article was used in abortion clinics to encourage women to proceed with their abortion. That’s like trying to get absolution before you kill someone.

I’ve been wary ever since. Even so, I’ve risked it again today because I fully realize that many women were almost paralyzed with fear when they aborted their child; a deed they detested in their heart of hearts. They did not the give full consent of their will.

Permit me to conclude with a mini-lesson in moral culpability. Men who force women into having an abortion are guilty of murder. In such circumstances the women are often more sinned against than anything else. A mortal sin requires serious matter, sufficient reflection, and full consent of the will. The murder of a human being is a serious matter. But many women are pressured into it without sufficient reflection and full consent of the will. Some cowardly man or family member pushed them into it, and without the necessary support system they succumbed to misery.

Permit me to conclude, I think that’s why Pope Francis tempered the zeal of those who make abortion the central issue of Christian revelation. Their condemnations are too sweeping.

Brava to those heroic women who found the moral strength to save their baby in such extreme circumstances. To all men and women, I send the assurance of Divine Love.

“May the passion and death of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints, and whatsoever good you do, or suffering you endure, may it lead to the remission of your sins, the increase of grace, and the gift of everlasting life with God in heaven.”