Where love and mercy are needed
Guest commentary by Maria Pirrie
The silence surrounding those who have experienced an abortion loss is palpable. It is as though a glass ceiling and walls obscure the result of the action or the truth in the experience.
The silence is likely often in fear of condemnation and rejection. Oh, yes, we have strong conversations every January and October regarding abortion, and we sponsor many important protests to stop it, but, for the rest of the year, the conversation often ceases except in the political arena. After 43 years since its legalization, the United States numbers 58,000,000 innocent lives lost, with countless mothers and fathers grieving their choice. Abortion is sold as a quick fix to resolve a crisis and get on with life. But it is a life-changing event with serious spiritual, relational and emotional consequences that often fester for decades.
Abortion not only impacts the lost child and the mother and father, but it also entire families, including grandparents and siblings. Regret and shame extend to the friends who were involved, to counselors, to the abortionist and staff and to the community. The wounds affect pro-life people who tried to prevent abortion and couldn’t. The negative consequences of abortion affect all of society at some level.
Yet frequently, society’s message to those with abortion loss is “Be silent. Don’t talk about your experience.” Silence enables denial, isolation and suffering for all involved. Because of this powerful informal edict, many with abortion loss are walking around numb and in turmoil, ashamed and guilt-ridden and angry. The Guttmacher Institute tells us 70 percent of women regret their abortions.
This silence and lack of awareness of post-abortion symptoms has a powerful negative impact on the personal, emotional and physical health of men and women who are post-abortive, which in turn can negatively affect marriage and family life.
A necessary mission of the Church and the community of God is to break the silence, to become aware and to be operative in the post-abortive healing journey.
The silence about abortion in many of our churches does not necessarily indicate a lack of care and concern for the unborn or those who suffer. More often, it reflects an anxiety and uncertainty on how best to communicate love, mercy and truth about abortion and abortion loss. Silence on these matters leaves an unhealthy long-term effect on our faith community.
Silence from the Church wrongly communicates that the aftermath of abortion is not a serious area of concern or that abortion is not an important part of church ministry. The post-abortive members of our congregations can interpret the silence as condemnation, thinking that the sin of abortion is so great that there is no hope and so no one bothers to talk about it.
Proclaiming the Gospel of repentance, healing and restoration in Christ is the necessary mission of the Church. As the Church and community reach out to her members wounded by abortion, all will benefit from hearing the truth proclaimed with love and compassion. It is important for everyone to learn of common post-abortive symptoms so that we can all support our brothers and sisters who are hurting. Be not afraid to break the silence.
Abortion has gravely wounded the Body of Christ. Healing occurs through a compassionate, loving clergy that offers counsel with the sacrament of reconciliation. Healing is enabled through a sensitive, listening community who promotes and fosters a spiritual and emotional healing program. The abortion wound can be safely opened to the light of Christ and can be opened to miraculous encounters of mercy with the Lord.
The healing has already begun, and it continues with your prayers and with your support
As the director of A Haven for Healing, I extend an invitation to all post-abortive women and men to participate in confidential small group(s). A Haven for Healing meets at a confidential location in downtown South Bend, Monday nights from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Father Kevin Bauman serves as spiritual counselor.
Contact us to learn about our ministry. We welcome invitations from churches, women’s groups or other organizations to discuss this needed ministry and to help people recognize if they or a loved one needs healing. Silent No More speakers and other resources are available. For more information, call the confidential help line at 574-514-7471, go to www.ahavenforhealing.com or find us on Facebook. Divine Mercy Ministry is available in the Fort Wayne area and stands beside the diocesan program, Project Rachel.