Thursday, September 06, 2007

Urging sacramental confession

Doing some research today in preparation for teaching Moral Theology to our candidates for the diaconate, I came across an interesting resolution of General Convention. It is the only case I know of where such a resolution has urged a group of people to go to confession. It is a rare approach in our tradition, so it took me by surprise. What group of people does this concern, you ask? Those who have procured an abortion.

As cited in Church Teaching Series, Vol. 6: The Christian Moral Vision, by Earl Brill on page 152, the 1976 General Convention (it doesn't give the resolution number) stated the following:

4. That in those cases where it is firmly and deeply believed by the persons concerned that pregnancy should be terminated for causes other than the above [which are: danger to the mother's health, severe fetal deformity, or pregnancy from rape or incest], members of this Church are urged to seek the advice and counsel of a Priest of this Church, and, where appropriate, Penance.


Courageous Grace said...


ANYONE seeking an abortion should seek advice and counsel of a priest, no exceptions. If even in the rare situation that the mother's life is in serious danger, she should seek counsel. Not necessarily to make a "decision" but because she will need help and comfort in such a time of distress.

As for confession, just because someone is forced into doing something due to circumstances beyond their control (serious danger to mother's life for example), if that something is a sin, it needs to be confessed.

Same example applies to divorce. Even if a couple divorces because doing so saves a battered wife from being beaten to death doesn't make it right. It would be the better decision, and obviously healthier for the battered spouse, but that doesn't mean the reason for the sin absolves them from it.

Just because someone has a "good reason" doesn't make a sin not a sin. As I recall my mother saying often, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Sorry for ranting, Father. I'll step off of my soapbox now ;)

Jon said...

How does one repent of taking the better path? Feeling bad isn't good enough.