Padre Pio said: “The day, in which people, frightened by the economic boom, from physical damages or from economic sacrifices, will lose the horror of the abortion, it will be the most terrible day for humanity. Abortion is not only homicide but also suicide. And with these people we see on the point of committing two crimes…do we want to show our faith? Do we want to save them? “
“Why suicide?” Padre Pellegrino asked.
“You would understand this suicide of the human race, if with the eye of reason, you could see the Heart populated by old men and depopulated by children: burnt as a desert.”
I wanted to find if Padre Pio ever granted absolution to someone who confessed abortion and if so what were his reasons for doing so. In the case I will relate Padre Pio refused absolution to a woman who had had an abortion – but some time later – Padre Pio granted absolution to the very same woman.It was the late Dónal Enright who gave me his eye-witness account. Dónal was a dear friend of Padre Pio’s. As his name suggests, Dónal was an Irishman who hailed from the same part of Ireland that I hail from, Cork. During Padre Pio’s lifetime, Dónal spent many long days at San Giovanni de Rotondo, ever ready to lend assistance to Padre Pio mostly by comforting and be-friending penitents who were trying to save their souls with the help of Padre Pio’s window to their souls, enlightening them as to what they had done wrong and what they needed to confess.When he was still living I visited Dónal at his home in County Cork, I asked him pointedly if he had known a woman who had been refused absolution because of having had an abortion. Dónal told me of one such post-abortion woman who gave him permission to re-tell her story.Dónal first met her mere minutes after she had left Padre Pio’s confessional. She was in great emotional distress having been refused absolution. She was, however, receptive to meeting Dónal who greeted her calmly with his soft Irish lilt. Dónal offered her the chance to talk things over with him and she agreed. Dónal did not pry – and did not ask prying questions – an atypical Irishman one might say. But the lady felt at ease in his company and volunteered the information that she had suffered much following her abortion, and knowing it was a sin, she took it with her to Padre Pio’s confessional, but Padre Pio had refused her absolution by saying to her, “you are not truly sorry for your sin”. This is the key: Padre Pio could see her soul and could see that she was not sufficiently contrite or “truly sorry” to use Pio’s exact words.Emotional guilt, the sort that causes distress and depression and genuine contrition where we are sincerely sorry to God for offending Him – are different and in their pure forms entirely separate phenomena. After being refused absolution, the lady had to pray for contrition. Interestingly, it is when offering the Mystery of the Rosary ‘The Scourging at the Pillar’ that we ask for true contrition for our sins. In my view true contrition and the personal cultivation of it has not gotten much attention in the Year of Mercy which ends this November.True contrition did not come easily to the lady in question. She struggled for months: she was firmly of the mind that her post-abortion guilt was the same thing as contrition for her sin. Dónal (and I’m sure Padre Pio) prayed very much for the lady. It took her one whole year – but she developed true contrition which entailed sorry to God for arranging the death of her little one who had not asked to be conceived. When the searing ache of true contrition pierced her soul, she returned to Padre Pio’s confessional and once again confessed to having had an abortion. On this occasion, Pio did not refrain from granting her absolution, and said, “now you are truly sorry, I can give you absolution”.
True contrition is not the same as guilt. We need true contrition for the holocaust of abortion and that starts with the rejection of sexual perversion, contraception and all the violations against life with IVF and genetic engineering. Padre Pio knew this but many of the Bishops and Priests of this country do not. As long as the majority of Catholics in this country live in mortal sin through sexual perversion and reject the Churches teaching on the evils of contraception and IVF, we will continue to fall into the abyss and the holocaust of abortion will scourge our land until it falls into the abyss.