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Dear Father,

First of all God bless all you do. I am a Father of 5 under 11 and a husband whos Wife just went through a very difficult experiance. Although it was not abortion..Pleasae allow me to breifly explain. My wife was pregnant with our 6th baby that we prayed very hard for. After 3 months our child was diagnosed with Trysome 18 and all of the issues that go with it. The babies brain kidneys heart and extrematies were all under developed. All the Doctors and specialists echoed this disorder did not suport life. you can imagine all the things we were told to do to end the childs life. We did not take that route but were later encouraged to induce labour because there was no way this baby would go full term and there were to many health risks involved that could threaten my wifes life. All of these issues played on my her mind she was afraid of dying, she never slept she heard voices that tormented her, became very depressed and filled w/anxiety she thought everyone was lying to her regarding her health just to make her feel better, started doubting if she would keep the baby if given the chance to abort, she wouldnt take any medication for fear of hurting the baby and when she started to I think she started having thoughts of taking her life. All of this went on and got worse for another 3.5 months when health issues started occuring. We were in and out of emergency with what we did not know. They finally diagnossed a very severe bladder infection that caused intense pain. during those last two days my wife could no longer take it and just snapped. Sory to say this but she went in the bathroom and tryed to induce labour not kill the bay though- with some sort of tube like thing With no success. After she did that she had one more if not two examinationes to locate a rupture or find a reason for fluid leak but could not find any. The fluid was tested positive and diagnosed as urine because of the infection. At that time our baby was still living with no changes to the unexplained perfect heartbeat. 24 hours later my wife had intense bleading and delivered a still born at home trying to get to the hospital.

She suffers emotional issues of guilt unwortyness undeserving of mine and Gods love and forgiveness and all the thoughts you would expect. She has confessed her actions and thought but it is not helping any. Because we belong to a very Trad Catholic Church she does not feel she is worthy to be with these Holy people and that she is a hypocryte. We know she did not harm heself or the baby but it does not help.

Father I do not know how to help. What can I say to her? I want to read the life of a Saint that has done something and was still forgiven- but the ones that come to mind she says there sin is not as grave as hers. I there any books we can read? We live in the Detroit area if there any support groups. I should add her thoughts often centered around asking and praying God would take the baby and that she did not want or could not handle a baby that was unresponsive.

Thank you,

Dan J+M+J

dan

please contact the Respect Life of your archdiocese to get your wife

some counselling in order to heal from this horrible trauma that she and you have gone through. God is NOT punishing her. She and you have been entrusted with 5 other precious children; and God wants your wife's spiritual and emotional healing so that she can be a good mother and wife.

peace,

F.V.


Dear Father,

First of all God bless all you do. I am a Father of 5 under 11 and a husband whos Wife just went through a very difficult experiance. Although it was not abortion..Pleasae allow me to breifly explain. My wife was pregnant with our 6th baby that we prayed very hard for. After 3 months our child was diagnosed with Trysome 18 and all of the issues that go with it. The babies brain kidneys heart and extrematies were all under developed. All the Doctors and specialists echoed this disorder did not suport life. you can imagine all the things we were told to do to end the childs life. We did not take that route but were later encouraged to induce labour because there was no way this baby would go full term and there were to many health risks involved that could threaten my wifes life. All of these issues played on my her mind she was afraid of dying, she never slept she heard voices that tormented her, became very depressed and filled w/anxiety she thought everyone was lying to her regarding her health just to make her feel better, started doubting if she would keep the baby if given the chance to abort, she wouldnt take any medication for fear of hurting the baby and when she started to I think she started having thoughts of taking her life. All of this went on and got worse for another 3.5 months when health issues started occuring. We were in and out of emergency with what we did not know. They finally diagnossed a very severe bladder infection that caused intense pain. during those last two days my wife could no longer take it and just snapped. Sory to say this but she went in the bathroom and tryed to induce labour not kill the bay though- with some sort of tube like thing With no success. After she did that she had one more if not two examinationes to locate a rupture or find a reason for fluid leak but could not find any. The fluid was tested positive and diagnosed as urine because of the infection. At that time our baby was still living with no changes to the unexplained perfect heartbeat. 24 hours later my wife had intense bleading and delivered a still born at home trying to get to the hospital.

She suffers emotional issues of guilt unwortyness undeserving of mine and Gods love and forgiveness and all the thoughts you would expect. She has confessed her actions and thought but it is not helping any. Because we belong to a very Trad Catholic Church she does not feel she is worthy to be with these Holy people and that she is a hypocryte. We know she did not harm heself or the baby but it does not help.

Father I do not know how to help. What can I say to her? I want to read the life of a Saint that has done something and was still forgiven- but the ones that come to mind she says there sin is not as grave as hers. I there any books we can read? We live in the Detroit area if there any support groups. I should add her thoughts often centered around asking and praying God would take the baby and that she did not want or could not handle a baby that was unresponsive.

Thank you,

Dan J+M+J

dan

Dear Dan,

my deepest sympathy for you and your wife - what a tortuous situation. Obviously your wife needs some serious counselling to help her heal from this traumatic experience. I would recommend you try to reach the Respect Life office of your archdiocese and share with them what your wife has gone through, so that they can recommend someone who can empathize with her pain.

Certainly God is NOT punishing her. God has entrusted 5 other children to your loving care. What God wants is your wife's spiritual and emotional well being for the sake of your family.

Peace.

F.V.


Dear Priest,

I am in a serious dilemma. I am in love with a lady who aborted as a second year student three years ago. She opened up to me about the ordeal based on her trust and love for me and because she thought not telling about the issue would affect us adversely in future as a couple. She says she has accepted that it is a sin before God and has since reconciled with God by asking for penance. My dilemma is: is it wise for me to marry her after knowing this reality? Will marrying her affect me as a person? Will this scar affect our marriage and children? What implications Does this have on our future?

Peter

Only you can answer those questions, Peter. If we believe in God's mercy, the young lady is forgiven as she confessed it. In sharing this information with you, she is asking if you, like Christ, will forgive her. There's nothing prohibiting her from entering into a good marriage, just as Peter's denial of the Lord did not prevent him from becoming the head of the Church once he experienced and accepted Christ's mercy.

God bless you, Peter... forgive as you have been forgiven, Jesus says to all of us.


I am a post-abortive woman who finally and fortunately sought healing and forgiveness five years ago for the hideous sin I chose to commit. Five years ago when I went to confession for the first time in too many years, was the start of my going frequently; I mean really frequently. I would go in make my confession and leave feeling like I didn't confess something, or I didn't phrase things correctly, or I didn't state something the exact way it occurred. One of my struggles is that my mind doesn't retain things exactly as they were said to me or I don't always recall the exact way something was done. So should I have to repeat just for the sake of letting someone else know or it is something I feel I need to confess, if I cannot repeat it in the same manner it was said or done I feel that I lied; this has happened to me after I leave confession. Also, there have been times when in confession and the priest is speaking or giving absolution that something pops into my head that I feel I should have probably confessed but yet I don't interrupt. I know I must sound crazy and believe me sometimes I feel as though I am. But ultimately what I want is God's forgiveness and mercy. Not only for myself but for those I love (ie., my children, my husband, other family members) and of course everyone throughout the world. I don't want eternal punishment. I fret so much over my confessions, it's such a struggle. Please give me some advice and guidance so that confession isn't such a struggle for me. My feeling these struggles and these worries aren't because my sins aren't forgiven, correct?
Anonymous in NM

The most important thing about confession is God's mercy; second most important is the sorrow in the heart of the one going to confession.

God doesn't expect you to be a computer memory bank. God's mercy and your sorrow are the most important things. exact details and numbers regarding your sins are NOT as important. Perhaps to ease your mind, it would be good for a time to write down your sins before you go to confession and read it to your confessor. If a sin is serious, you will remember it. Less serious sins are still forgiven even if you forget them. Reconciliation, being touched by God's mercy, is a gift that should be a joy. Don't let scrupulosity rob you of the joy that God wants you to experience.

peace,

F.V.


Hi,

I was curious as to whether or not Rachel's Vineyard incorporates the Divine Mercy devotions into their retreats, counseling, recovery, etc.? (If not, WHY not?)

Surely you've heard of this devotion with the message of God's generous mercy? I would think the Divine Mercy devotions would help tremendously in the healing for those who've had an abortion(s). Here are a few websites:

www.thedivinemercy.org www.divinemercysunday.com www.divinemercysundayusa.com

Divine Mercy Sunday is May 1, 2011.

Thank you for your time and consideration!

Anon.

I'm not involved in the retreats, so I can't answer your question.

Please go to their website with your information.

thank you,

WWW.rachelsvineyard.org


I am posing this submittal to a priest, but if anyone else can give valuable input it would be most appreciated. I am a post-abortive woman. I had one abortion almost twenty years ago. It is a choice and action I most definitely regret and if I could redo things in my life I would. Almost 15 years went by before I sought healing from my choice and all the terrible choices of my past. I am really making effort to lead a better life and make better choices. I am married and I have two living children whom I absolutely love. They are such a blessing to me and I am so blessed to be their mother. I attended an RV retreat in 2008 and while I've still struggled so much after my retreat I do feel it did help me. I continue to struggle with anxiety from time to time and doubt, wondering of Heaven is attainable. I do believe I have and continue to struggle with being scrupulous. I've been thinking about this struggle and that is the reason for my post today. My family and I attend church every Sunday. My husband who is not the father of my child in Heaven went with me to the abortuary. I have anxiety and worry over his search for healing and when we attend Mass he still partakes in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. I did as well before I went to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and that is also a sin that I am very sorry for. I have told him a few times that we are not partake in that but it hasn't changed anything. Am I being judgmental towards him? I don't want to be but I also want him to realize the mistakes we've made and to make effort to correct them? But it's almost like he doesn't truly understand the seriousness of it all, my opinion. I feel like by him doing this, it's my sin all over again and again. Also, there are churches we've attended that have church service on Saturday at 4 p.m., the new priest at our parish has stated to some parents that the anticipatory mass must be held later on Saturday (after 5 p.m.). Have all the times I've attended mass earlier than 5 p.m. been a sin? It feels and appears that there is just so, so, so, much that could lead a person to commit mortal sin. I feel so anxious and I think many times in despair because I do not want eternal punishment, for myself or anyone else, most especially those very dear to me. Please help alleviate some of my anxiety and doubt. Is it okay for me to love my husband even though we made such a terrible mistake together? I've struggled with knowing if it is right to love him? I am so afraid of offending God again, I know it must sound crazy. It has been a struggle showing him affection. This also leads me to worry if I don't show him affection will he go looking for it someplace else. I realize that affection and intimacy are such an important part of a marriage but I've just struggled. Yet I've also thought that God says we need to forgive others and ourselves. Just the anxiety and worry about him finding his healing in Jesus worries me so. It is affecting all aspects of my life. I'm rarely ever at peace. My mind is constantly working, thinking about whether or not what I've done, said or thought it sinful. How can I find all of this?
Extreme Anxiety

First of all, the anticipatory Saturday evening Mass is not to begin before 4:00 p.m. I don't know where your new priest got the info about 5:00 p.m. That is incorrect. If you confessed your sin, it is forgiven. period. If you believe in God, then you know that he is a merciful God as Jesus taught time and time again through his treatment of Simon Peter and Mary Magdalene and the thief on the cross. Those doubts you experience are NOT the will of God... so let it go. Through God's mercy, you are loved and forgiven - a good husband and two beautiful children are living proof of God's love - don't waste that grace by giving in to any nagging doubts about God's love. Nor are you obliged to be your husband's conscience. He's a big boy. Love him. He is one of God's best gifts to you, so do not hold back on your affection for him. Your loving example is the grace from God that he needs as much as you need such love and re-assurance.

Peace be with you,

F.V.


I went through a period in my life in my early 20's where I made some really bad choices and did things that I am truly sorry for and included on the list were 2 abortions both occuring prior to me joining the Catholic church. Since then I joined the Catholic Church (20+ years ago). I was previously baptised in the Methodist church when I was a child, when joining the Catholic church I was confirmed and went through a very informal confession. I did not talk to the priest about the abortions partially out of fear and embarassment. Flash foward 20+ years later I am happily married, and have 2 beautiful children and I am active in our parish. I really feel like I have been truly blessed in my life and my faith is a big part of that. My question is since I was not Catholic at the time of the abortions do I need to formally go to confession 20+ years later? If so, how do a find a Priest to go to who is compassionate, that is not the Priest at my parish? Does the confession have to be done face to face or can it be done from a confessional booth if they still exist?

Thank you so much for your assistance. God Bless

Christi NY

A good confession would benefit you greatly to finally put an end to the hold the abortion has had on your life these many years. Contact your diocesan Respect Life office to get information about a priest who works with Project Rachel in your area or else find a retreat center whose priests specialize as confessors. You do not have to go face to face but I think you would find it easier in the long run to do it that way.

God bless you,

F.V.


Dear Father,

I had my first abortion 34 years ago. That experience marked me for the next 17 years as I adopted a self destructive lifestyle. Drugs, promiscuity, infidelity and 5 more abortions followed that first decision. The second and third abortions were during my college years as I was an avid supporter of Planned Parenthood. My choices caused me to loose my dignity as a woman and as a human being.

When I was 24 I met my husband. We married 2 years later. During our relationship we aborted 3 children; the first because we were not yet married. I carried my second pregnancy with him to term. We aborted the two subsequent pregnancies because we were going through difficult financial times and we felt we would be unable to support another child. My fourth pregnancy was a turning point in my life. I could not go through with it and convinced him that we should have this baby and that I could no longer bear the guilt of yet another aborted child. Shortly after I had an intense conversion and returned to God and my catholic faith. I went to confession and have increasingly turned my life over to my Lord.

I have tried to find ways to do pennace for all the terrible things I have done in my life. I never feel it is enough and though I know in my heart that God has forgiven me I still have a very hard time forgiving myself. God has blessed me with 2 amazing children, one now married and my youngest, the one that cuold have been a victim of this henoius crime of abortion, is now discerning a religious vocation and is very active in the pro-life movement. This, by the way, is not something I instilled in her. It is a gift from God!I still struggle with my guilt, shame and inconsolable sadness. My biggest burden is that I was never able to touch my husband's heart and convince him to return to the sacrament of reconciliation. He died in a tragic accident 2 months ago and my heart bleeds when I think of this terrible sin we both committed. I pray every day that God have mercy on his soul. He returned to his faith but never to confession.

Today I feel God may be calling me to share my life story. I don't know how to do this and have not had the courage to share my secret with anyone at all. I am so full of shame.... I have prayed about my 6 aborted children, have tried to visualize them in our Lady's arms and aks that God grant me the grace to pay this heavy debt. I try to remeber what St. Augustine tells us: “God judged it better to bring good out of evil, than to suffer no evil to exist.”


Jean

The mercy of our God includes not only his forgiveness but also removing the punishment due to those sins. The "penance" we do is almost always merely "symbolic" because so often the "debt" we owe is bigger than we can make up for. As you rightly believe that God has forgiven you (your beautiful children are living proof of that), so believe in God's willingness to remove your "debt" as well. Before the throne of God, I believe your children are praying for you and for your husband. If your husband returned to the faith, I suspect that conversion included real sorrow for participating in those abortions. Even though he may not have gone to the sacrament of Reconciliation, God reads our hearts and in His compassion offers forgiveness for that sorrow. Continue to be faithful to the gospel and the Spirit of Christ will guide you in how you should proceed, whether that means telling your story at some time in the future or not. I don't think that is required but if you are so moved, I'm sure others would benefit from hearing your testimony.

PEACE,

F.V.


I went through a period in my life in my early 20's where I made some really bad choices and did things that I am truly sorry for and included on the list were 2 abortions both occuring prior to me joining the Catholic church. Since then I joined the Catholic Church (20+ years ago). I was previously baptised in the Methodist church when I was a child, when joining the Catholic church I was confirmed and went through a very informal confession. I did not talk to the priest about the abortions partially out of fear and embarassment. Flash foward 20+ years later I am happily married, and have 2 beautiful children and I am active in our parish. I really feel like I have been truly blessed in my life and my faith is a big part of that. My question is since I was not Catholic at the time of the abortions do I need to formally go to confession 20+ years later? If so, how do a find a Priest to go to who is compassionate, that is not the Priest at my parish? Does the confession have to be done face to face or can it be done from a confessional booth if they still exist?

Thank you so much for your assistance. God Bless

Christi NY

obviously, the abortions still weigh heavy on your heart. Nothing heals as effectively as making a good confession. I strongly encourage you to do so. As for seeking out a compassionate confessor, I would suggest you call the chancery of your diocese and ask if they have a "pro life" or "respect life" office. They could tell you if they have any clergy who are involved in Project Rachel who in turn work closely with women like yourself who are seeking healing from abortion. If not, a retreat center in your area would have priests who are especially good as confessors. If you prefer, you may ask to go to confession "behind a screen," rather than face-to-face - although I think you would find that (as difficult as it is) going face to face adds an element of comfort. In any case, don't hesitate - let the sacrament give you the healing and comfort that you are seeking and that God wants you to enjoy. PEACE,

F.V.


I am a Catholic woman in my 30s. I made a lot of mistakes when I was younger, I had an abortion really young because I was ashamed to tell anyone and I was devestated. The worst thing is that I got myself into a big mess a few years later and had another abortion. It was the worst experience in my life. I was always deeply sorry and asked God for forgivness but not through the sacrament of confession. Recently someone very dear to me passed away, my grandma. I was very very close with her, and after her sudden passing I found a lot of comfort attending Mass and "talking" with God. I am afraid however that I will never see my grandma again because God will not allow a sinner like me to come to heaven when I die. I am now haunted by the abortions and I cannot forgive myself. I have a wonderful child now that I thank God for everyday, but how do I move past the horrific acts I have committed? I want to go to confession so badly, but I am just afraid I will hear the words " you are NOT forgiven".... Is it possible God will not forgive me?
Lisa

No priest in confession, Lisa, is going to tell you that

you "are not forgiven." Please do yourself the favor of going to confession. After all these years you are still tortured by the abortions you went through. The gift and powerful grace of the sacrament is for you to hear: "your sins are forgiven - go in peace."

Those words are God's will for you. If Jesus could forgive Simon Peter for publicly denying him and could forgive a murderer who repented at the last minute of his life, he can and does forgive you.

"Tough your sins be crimson red, they shall be white as snow.

Though they be like scarlet, they may be white as wool." (Isaiah 1:18)

PEACE,

F.V.
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