Instead of male clergy raging against abortion and thinking they have been anointed to tell women what they can and cannot do with their bodies, they might take notice that there is something useful they can offer around the abortion reality.
Several years ago, when I was conducting a retreat at Big Sur in California, a woman took me aside and said she would like to talk to me privately. When we met, she told me how she had had an abortion a number of years previously and was still processing her feelings around it. Feelings of sadness and guilt and wonderment about her relationship to the deceased fetus. We talked about it, and we created a simple ritual whereby she blessed the fetus and herself so that both could move on.
A year ago, I received a letter from a smart, older, catholic (now an ex catholic) whose 48 year old daughter had just told her–and broke down doing it–that she had an abortion her last year of college.
We need rituals for women who have had abortions. Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes created such a ritual which she led women through at my University of Creation Spirituality a number of years ago. She gathered women who wanted to deal with the issue in our “cave” which was our chapel in the middle of the University building and together they processed their feelings and healed one another’s souls and those who have moved on.
It was important and healing for the women who chose to attend.
Instead of denouncing women who have had abortions, and forbidding people from safe access to abortion, and electing kooky politicians with bad track records with respecting women to do the same, and salivating to deny communion to politicians who know the difference between good morality and good law, healthy religion could assist whatever healing process is needed by creating rituals for healing.
To do so, clergy need to get off their high horses of righteousness and blame and misogyny and power-over and invite people into circles to create a much-needed ritual together.
Is that too much to ask?
See Matthew Fox, The Making of a Postdenominational Priest, p. 331.
To read a transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Queries for Contemplation
Do you agree that rituals for persons who have had abortions are a contribution religion can offer if they are requested to do so? And putting effort there might prove far more beneficial than arousing shouting about abortion and pitting the Supreme Court against 70-80% of the population that believe Roe vs. Wade should remain?