BALTIMORE, Md., November 16, 2011 ( – At the U.S. bishops’ annual plenary in Baltimore, three cardinals praised the work done by the bishops’ post-abortion healing ministry, Project Rachel, and urged the bishops to expand efforts to provide counseling to women and their families who have been affected by the trauma of abortion.

Cardinals Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, Sean P. O’Malley of Boston and Donald W. Wuerl of Washington noted in their report on Project Rachel that the Church’s post-abortion counseling ministry is crucial to the Church’s mission.

In a Nov. 15 press conference highlighting the work of Project Rachel, Cardinal DiNardo said, “Project Rachel Ministry is at the heart of the Church’s mission at this time in her history.” He pointed out that abortion affects more than just the woman who has an abortion and her unborn child, but impacts the lives of the fathers who lose their children, along with the doctors who perform abortions and the friends and family who may influence the decision.


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“There are millions of women and men who struggle, often for years, with profound grief and with remorse and with guilt,” he said, adding that “many become trapped in despair,” believing they can never be forgiven.

“But that is not God’s plan for us,” Cardinal DiNardo said. Despairing “of being ever forgiven by God” is false and dangerous, he continued, “because it discourages women and men in need of God’s forgiveness from seeking the pastoral care” that the Church has available to them.

Cardinal O’Malley noted that most U.S. priests have been granted the power to lift the church sanctions associated with abortion by their bishops, so that there are “no additional steps needed to be restored to full communion with the church.”

Cardinal Wuerl encouraged the bishops to continue to expand the work of Project Rachel so that “pastors and all of us can transform the parish environment to one where people know they are safe to come forward and seek forgiveness without the risk of public condemnation.”

Cardinal DiNardo concluded that through the Church’s post-abortion healing ministry anyone affected by abortion can find a way “out of the darkness of despair over a past sin” and into “a new life of hope, joy and peace.”

Visit the Project Rachel website for more information or to find help.