If I had multiple abortions, am I excommunicated?

Though it isn’t often discussed, there are many people among us who are suffering from a past abortion. They might be struggling with healing or accepting God’s mercy for their sins. One Relevant Radio® listener called to ask about the abortions that have been weighing heavily on her heart.

“I saw where if you have an abortion that you’re excommunicated, and that means that you can’t be buried in sacred ground, you can’t be married in the Church,” said Mary.

“Let us be calm,” said Father Richard Simon, host of Father Simon SaysTM on Relevant Radio. “If you know that it is that serious a sin and you do it anyway, then you are excommunicated. If someone’s had an abortion and did not know that it was an excommunicable offense they are not excommunicated. And one should go to Confession or if one has already gone to Confession, it’s fine.”

“I have. I have multiple times, Father … I’ve had six,” Mary said between sobs.

“Well, have you confessed all six?”

“Yes, Father. I’m sorry!”

“Let me pray with you, let me say a prayer with you. You’re not excommunicated if you did not know that it was an excommunicable thing, you’re not excommunicated. Be very calm and take a deep breath and I’m going to pray with you,” said Fr. Simon.

He led Mary in prayer for healing and comfort. “I want you to close your eyes and I want you to imagine six little children in front of you. Don’t have to be too precise. And I want you to picture Jesus—He just comes up to you and He puts his arm around you. Imagine that; just imagine it. And I want you to say this in your heart: ‘Jesus, I give you these children. Take care of them until I can be with them in heaven. I offer them to you, these innocent souls.’ And I want you to picture now, Jesus just goes over and He puts his arms around all six. And then our Blessed Mother comes up and she does the same. Just imagine that.”

“Lord, we ask you to heal Mary and to give her the peace that even though she has done these things, she is still loved and she is forgiven. Lord, I ask you to take those children into your embrace in whatever way you do—I know you do. And give Mary that peace that these children are in your keeping. We ask these things in your holy name, Jesus,” prayed Fr. Simon.

“God bless you, Mary, and I will be praying for you. And don’t worry about being excommunicated because unless you knew it was a matter of excommunication. There’s some people who say, ‘I know it, I don’t care, I’m going to do what I want.’ That doesn’t sound like you.”

Listen to the conversation here, and tune in to Father Simon Says weekdays on Relevant Radio at 2-3pm ET / 11am-noon PT.

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.