Fr. Rob Johansen of Thrown Back writes about hearing confessions. Link courtesy of Eve Tushnet.
Among other things, Fr. Rob talks about hearing confession from women who have had abortions.
I know two priests who have never had a women confess an abortion to them. One of them told me that no one in his parish had ever had an abortion. He knew that because no one had ever mentioned it during confession. Meanwhile, I knew two women in his parish who were post-abortive.
He also told me, "No one in our parish has had an abortion. No, the Catholic Church has been very strong on that issue all along, right since the very beginning of 1973."
He only made the Sacrament of Reconciliation available for fifteen minutes on Saturday but I don't think that is why he had never heard of an abortion in the confessional.
Some priests give off vibes that say, "Don't come to me if you want to confess an abortion." Who knows what tiny glimmers a woman is picking up, perhaps even in the confessional as she considers getting to that issue but decides to draw back.
Fr. Rob probably knows this but for a woman experiencing the traumatic emotional aftermath of abortion, many times the Sacrament of Reconciliation is but the beginning of her journey of healing--a journey she may now have the strength to make due to the graces received in that Sacrament.