The Role of a Priest or Pastor

June 14, 2021  2:00 PM MDT
120 minutes

Description:  The goal of any psycho-spiritual healing process is not just restoration of the former self to a state of peace and hope, but to realize spiritual integration and wholeness which results in a life of holiness.

In effect, precisely because of their wounds, the individual may realize an intimacy and trust in God as they enter a process for healing and conversion.  With proper boundaries and some foreknowledge, the clergy will serve as a vital front line person representing Christ that can safely guide the wounded soul to opportunities for spiritual, psychological and emotional healing.

This class will examine the Sacrament of Reconciliation as a vital component in the healing process. However, we will also consider the dynamics of how confession itself can become a ritual for grieving and “revisiting the grave” in order to re-experience shame, grief and guilt as a connector to the aborted child.

We will explore why individuals might use the sacrament in order to memorialize their aborted children. In many cases, confession alone may not be enough to detoxify the festering wound of traumatic grief. If this is the only intervention, it can frequently lead to a pattern of repeat confession, where an individual may confess their abortions hundreds of times.  The importance of traumatic grief work is highlighted in order to embrace the fullness of the sacrament.

In addition, we will explore the value of clergy connecting the post-abortive person to a larger support system after the initial one-on-one session.

We will use case studies and examples to outline important safety measures to avoid transference and counter-transference reactions that could sabotage recovery. We will also explore how women with histories of sexual abuse are particularly vulnerable to dependency upon the priest.

Another dynamic is the tendency of some traumatized women to confuse the affection and gratitude she feels in a helping relationship with sexual intimacy.

This seminar will offer practical tips on how to set healthy boundaries at the start of any ministry relationship and the necessity of making sure the pastor’s own needs for connection and intimacy are being met.

And finally, we will explore how post-abortion ministry touches clergy; as men, as spiritual fathers, and as priests.