Dear Father Angelo,
I am a 24 year old man.
I am an only child, (at least this is what I’ve always been told), I have always felt the need and the desire to have a brother and a few months ago I found out that in reality I have a brother who has never been born as a result of voluntary abortion decided by my parents.
As we know the person who is developing is already a creature of God and has the right to live from the moment of conception.
I was deeply hurt by this truth and even my parents are still suffering because of the decision they made.
For the moment I try to pray for him and for my parents, but I feel that it isn’t much and I would like to ask you if it is possible to do something more for this soul who never came into the world, for example baptism, and also for my parents.
A big hug for you
Answer from the priest
1. one is a human person from the first moment of conception.
The conceived, even at the level of the zygote, is a new human being, absolutely unique, that never existed before and will never be generated again in the future.
From that moment until birth and in every stage of life, we refer to him as a person.
In the DNA it’s already written everything that a person will become from a physiological point of view.
For this reason, the instruction of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Dignitas personae (8.8.2007) states: “The dignity of a person must be recognized in every human being from conception to natural death” (DP 1).
And after having said that “although the presence of the spiritual soul cannot be observed experimentally”, it mentions that “the conclusions of science regarding the human embryo give “a valuable indication for discerning by the use of reason a personal presence at the moment of the first appearance of a human life“.
2. Therefore, the child that your parents aborted was your own little brother.
We hope that he is now in heaven as we are certain of God’s universal saving will, which is undoubtedly effective and offers all the means (grace) to be saved.
3. What can you do for your little brother?
You certainly cannot baptize him because on whom would you infuse the water? Water presupposes a body and there is no longer a body.
Certainly you cannot even offer suffrages for him, because he is not in Purgatory. He had no personal sins to remedy.
4. John Paul II, when in Evangelium vitae writes to mothers who have had abortions, says: “To the same Father and his mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child” (EV 99).
Well, you can do the same thing too.
You can pray that the Lord will give him the grace to spend his paradise by distributing gifts on earth.
Prayer is necessary to open a gap between us and him and allow him to actually love us.
What the Catechism of the Catholic Church says for the souls in Purgatory is even more true for those who are in heaven: “Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective” CCC 958.
5. Therefore you can ask to celebrate Masses for this purpose, making it clear that the intent is to make communion more alive and effective, not a request for a suffrage mass.
In order to avoid misunderstandings and not to disclose the reason for the request, which among other things wouldn’t honor your parents, you can simply ask the priest to celebrate a Mass according to your personal intentions.
Also you can recite the Holy Rosary with this intention and live for a few moments with him who is now before God and together with the Saints.
6. After having loved him in this way, you can also ask him to help you in the same way that Saint Thérèse of Lisieux asked four of her brothers who died before the age of reason, but were baptized, to free her from a very serious distress: “I turned to the four angels who had preceded me up there, because I thought that those innocent souls, having never known troubles or fears, must have had pity on their little sister who suffered on earth. I spoke to them with the simplicity of a child, I pointed out that, being the youngest of the family, I had always been the most loved, the most filled with tenderness on the part of my sisters; that if they had remained on earth, they would certainly have given me as many proofs of affection … Their departure for Heaven did not seem to me a good reason to forget, on the contrary, since they were able to draw from divine treasures they had to take peace for me, and thus show me that in Heaven one still knows how to love! The answer didn’t take long, soon peace flooded my soul with its delicious waters, and I understood that, if I was loved on earth, I was also loved in Heaven … From that moment on, devotion grew towards my little brothers and little sisters, and I like to often converse with them talking about the sadness of this exile … the desire to join them soon in the heavenly homeland! ” (Story of a soul, 131).
6. For your parents you can and you must pray.
They certainly regret what they have done and I am confident that they have already confessed it.
Nonetheless, the thought of having opted for an abortion probably continues to tear them apart internally.
Pray for them so that where sin has abounded, grace may overflow because of the merits of Jesus, their suffering and their repentance.
This is also why you should pray the Holy Rosary for them from time to time.
I wish you well, I remind you to the Lord I bless you.
24 February 2017 | A priest answers – Liturgy and pastoral care – Pastoral section