It is no secret that many women who have had an abortion feel like they have committed the “unforgivable sin”. The thought of God can be terrifying, never mind the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Everything inside of you is telling you it is hopeless to think there is forgiveness. It takes a huge leap of faith, or desperation to combat the fear and believe in the mercy of God in spite of your feelings, as you forge forward to the sacrament.
Most people are blessed to find the mercy of God through the experience, bringing new life to their broken world, but sadly, there have been women who have had their fears of being unforgivable enforced in the confessional, by some priests who, for whatever reason, denied them absolution. I can only imagine the deep feelings of despair when someone full of contrition is told there is no mercy for her.
In hi s book, “Hurting in the Church” , Rev Thomas Berg addresses this case and other scenarios where the church has failed to be a sign of mercy to others because of our human frailty and failings. Although not written specifically for those who have experienced abortion, many of the stories of those hurt by the church can be applied to healing.
Another aspect that people often get stuck on in healing from abortion is forgiving those who may have been instrumental in their abortion decision. The pain and anger often make it seem impossible to ever forgive and yet, that is what must happen in order for us to grow in our healing journey.
The book touches the recesses of the soul often scarred in the abortion experience or wounds which preceded it or came after. Anyone who has experienced deep hurt at the hands of the church, can benefit from this book which addresses wounds from hurts in parishes, to sexual abuse at the hands of priests, but it also reminds us of the countless faithful holy priests that are often unappreciated, and the beauty of the faith as it paves the way to healing and wholeness.
It is often said the church is full of sinners, and this is true, but the church itself is filled with the richness of life of which we all seek in the person of Jesus Christ. By our own growth in holiness and commitment by our faith in the love of Christ in spite of our experiences, we can by His grace help heal the wounds. This book reminds us of that!