Life will be victorious

Column: Let the Lord free your guilt in the Year of Mercy

Life will be victorious

by Joseph F. Naumann

January 22, 2016, the date of the publication of this edition of The Leaven, is the 43rd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court decisions that struck down all state protections for unborn children from abortion.

The cost to our nation has been enormous: 57 million American children killed by abortion. The number of post-abortive women is less because many had multiple abortions, but still it is an alarming 35 million. It is estimated that 10 million of those post-abortive women are Catholic. The numbers of men whose children have been killed by abortion is estimated to be comparable to the number of women.

These numbers are staggering. Of course, we cannot estimate adequately the impact on our nation of the 57 million unborn children aborted. For instance, in something as mundane as Social Security funding, the lost workers over the past 43 years contribute significantly to the looming crisis. A million-plus abortions every year has meant lower school enrollments at every level, which, of course, equates to fewer teaching jobs.

More importantly, we know these lives lost to abortion are somebody’s lost brother or sister, somebody’s lost friend or even spouse. We will never know how these lost lives could have contributed to our nation.

Of course, abortion is not just a U.S. problem. It is impacting demographics throughout the world. China is concerned enough about a depopulation disaster that it has relaxed its one-child policy. Vladimir Putin is encouraging his nation’s citizens to have more children — not out of any moral concern, but because of the depopulation bomb threatening Russia. Islam is poised to overrun Europe — not by terrorism or military invasion, but simply as a matter of sheer demographics. Muslims are having children and people of traditionally Christian countries like France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, etc., are not.

However, the most devastating impact of abortion is on the other victims, particularly the mothers. If you are reading this article and are among the millions of Catholics that have had an abortion, I do not have to explain that claim.

For others, I simply ask: Can you think of anything more difficult than experiencing the death of a child? Now, consider what it would feel like not only to suffer the death of a child, but to live with the reality that you chose the death of your child. Imagine the weight of that burden.

However, even that does not adequately describe the impact of abortion on the parents. Consider suffering the devastating death of a child, but not being able to reach out to family or even friends for support and comfort.

Statistically, most often the father abandons the mother after an abortion. Even when a man remains committed to the woman, the complicated emotions surrounding the abortion make it difficult, if not impossible, for the relationship to survive.

Post-abortive women are often ashamed to tell their parents about the abortion.  Moreover, even family and friends who perhaps encouraged or facilitated the abortion, do not want to hear about post-abortion regret and pain. If the natural guilt and grief occurring after an abortion are not addressed, they can impair the relationship with a future spouse and can cause difficulties with parenting subsequent children.

Even more devastating is the impact abortion has upon doctors, nurses and clinic support staff. The tragic testimonies of the suffering and anguish of many former abortionists and abortion clinic personnel (e.g., Dr. Bernard Nathanson, Dr. Berverly McMillan, Abby Johnson, Ramona Trevino, etc.) illustrate the harm abortion does to those most intimately involved with its provision.

Pope Francis has indicated his hope and desire that the jubilee Year of Mercy will be the occasion for those experiencing post-abortion spiritual and psychological trauma to seek help. The bishops of the United States, at our most recent meeting last November, recommitted their support for the church’s post-abortion ministry.

If you or someone you know is suffering because of abortion, I encourage you to contact Project Rachel, our post-abortion ministry, by calling (913) 621-2199 or by sending an email to: We know the Lord is eager to bestow mercy and healing. The jubilee Year of Mercy is the perfect time to surrender your sins to the Lord so that he can free you from your guilt and comfort you in your grief.

Why wait any longer? The devil wants to keep you trapped in your guilt. Jesus desires only to set you free.

About the author

Archbishop Joseph Naumann

Joseph F. Naumann is the archbishop for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

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