Over 46,000,000 children have been lost to abortion in the United States since 1970, according to the CDC. That means that there are tens of millions of mothers and fathers who are living with the pain of abortion.
What can a father do after an abortion? How can he make penance for the grave sin he has committed and fulfill his fatherly role though his child is gone? This was on the mind of a caller from Minnesota who called Go Ask Your FatherTM for help.
First things first—make a good Confession. If you were directly involved—paying for, cooperating with, or encouraging the mother to abort the child—the penalty of excommunication would apply. The Sacrament of Confession is a necessary step to lift the excommunication and begin the journey towards healing and communion with the Church.
“We have obligations to others, especially those we’ve negatively impacted,” explained Msgr. Stuart Swetland. Even after the crucial step of making a good Confession, “you still have fatherly responsibilities.”
The question you should ask yourself is, what would I have done in raising that child?
“Try to do those things spiritually that you can to still care for that child,” advises Msgr. Swetland. “Obviously that means praying, I recommend Masses being offered for all involved especially that child, and I would also think about the fact that there are children out there that need care, that need help.”
Consider all the ways that you might carry out your fatherly role in the life of another child who needs it. “There are youth out there that need someone to be a big brother, to be a father. Maybe that’s not your gift but you can contribute financially to help other children be brought up,” explained Msgr. Swetland.
Additionally, embrace the mercy of God. Even after going to Confession, the gravity of your sin could weigh heavily on your heart. It’s important to remember his mercy and “the fact that he has taken on the ultimate penalty by dying and being raised up for us.”
“But we also recognize that our mistakes—they don’t define us,” said Msgr. Swetland. “And so we can go on and do good … you can do things that spiritually or in other ways adopts another child to help that child be raised as that child should be.”
If you or someone you know is struggling to find healing after an abortion, Project Rachel can help.
Listen to the segment here:
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