“Ask a Priest: May I Date Someone Who Had an Abortion?”

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Q: Is it OK to date someone who had an abortion years ago? She is not Catholic and was not brought up in church. We have been close friends for 13 years. She only told me and no one else, as she needed to talk to someone about the guilt she felt when she had it. She wants to date, accepting my beliefs of the Catholic faith and is willing to sit in at church with me. I said no, as I feel it goes against my beliefs. However, I also feel it’s not my job to judge. Maybe she was put in my life to show her the way of Christ. – T.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It sounds as though the Holy Spirit is working in this woman’s heart.

She has gone from having had an abortion years ago to now showing an interest in attending Mass with you.

Her guilt for the abortion indicates that she has a conscience and is listening to it. This shows a repentant heart. And “a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn” (Psalm 51:19).

Her acceptance of your Catholic beliefs might be a sign that she herself is attracted to the faith. She is on a spiritual journey, and you might be a key person to help her along.

Part of what you can help her to learn is that God is merciful and that he loves her deeply.

She needs to hear that message of mercy and hope, and your own example can help to transmit that message.

In principle, there is nothing to bar you from dating your friend. For her sake, though, it would be good if she receives some kind of counseling if she hasn’t gotten it in the past.

You might suggest that she attend a retreat with a group such as Rachel’s Vineyard.

Spiritual healing would be important for her as well as for your relationship. Your friend likely has had a heavy heart these many years.

Her having met you might mark a moment of special grace. Even if a romantic relationship doesn’t develop, you as a Christian could help her on a path toward healing.

It’s good to remember that not everyone has had the benefit of the sacraments of the Church. Those of us blessed with the Catholic faith do well to remember Jesus’ words that “more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more” (Luke 12:48). Don’t worry about judging anyone; just be an agent of mercy.

You might want to intensify your prayers for your friend and ask for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Count on my prayers for the both of you.

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One Comment
  1. Thank you, Father, for providing this guy with such a graceful answer. I pray it helped him as much as it did me.
    A friend of mine had an abortion years ago before I became Catholic. Even then, I wasn’t comfortable with it. (The child she aborted was not mine, as we were only friends.) The only “role” I played in the event was providing comfort and support to her after the procedure, yet I still felt guilty for even that. I now feel better knowing that even though I did not agree with her decision, I was right to show compassion to my friend.
    May God Bless you

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