Forgive You Father For You Have Sinned

Dear Father Lynch.

You don't know me but I have heard a great deal about you. My mother regularly attends services at your church. She is often touched by your sermons and will repeat the sentiments to my siblings and I. I find this amusing since my mother knows that I consider myself an Agnostic and a Recovering Catholic. Even with this knowledge, she insists on sharing her, and ultimately your, religious views with me. I listen to her (I can still honor thy mother and father) but honestly, I am rarely interested.

My lack of interest changed last week.

The most recent conversation centered around a recent mass where you invited all families that had lost children to the come to the altar for a blessing.  My mother was quite impressed that you invited parents that had lost children to war, miscarriage AND abortion.  She was very struck by your inclusion of mothers who had aborted their children. I asked her if you had invited mothers who lost children to adoption.  She did not recall.  My suspicion, based on her tentative, slight paused and very confused response, was that you did not.

I urge you in the future, Father Lynch, please  include mothers who lost children to adoption to join in the blessing or grieving.  The Catholic Church has been separating mothers and children for decades under the false pretense that adoption is a better option than being raised by a single mother or being aborted.  Through your misguided teachings you have caused life long wounds to mothers and children the world round. It would seem to me that if your church, your sermons, are willing to bless women who have aborted children you can certainly include those that have lost their children to adoption due to the poor guidance you gave them.

I am one of those women, Father Lynch. I was once a frightened, single, seventeen year old girl with child. Raised with an Irish Catholic mother and a Polish Catholic Father, the message was clear. I had sinned. I would go to hell. I did not deserve my child but rather she deserved to be abandoned by me and placed into the hands of complete  strangers. 

I am not going to hell when I die, Father Lynch. I have lived in hell since the day I lost my daughter to a baby broker. I have spent my life since that time working tirelessly to support single mothers to keep and raise their children. I have worked hard, at my own expense with no weekly donations placed in a basket, to reunite mothers and children. I also work to educate the public, and that includes you.  If I were to still believe in your teachings, I might say I have done sufficient penance, don't you think?

I am not the praying type any more Father Lynch, but if you can, please  consider allowing me, an Agnostic/Recovering Catholic, one final prayer to your god.

I pray the next time you welcome mothers to your altar, the next time you hold the hands of grieving mothers, you will include the mothers who lost their children to adoption as well as abortion.  Consider that your penance.


Suzan Bednarz


27 Thoughts.

  1. Brilliant, beautiful, and heartbreaking. I hope Father Lynch reads carefully and takes every word to heart.

  2. You have an amazing way with words and I’m so grateful to you for fighting for the rights of birthmothers. We are definitely the forgotten ones.

  3. Amen.
    Please send it. The fella might actually *hear*, and incorporate your truth into his spiritual practice. And if not, you’ll still have spoken the truth to power.

  4. You sent it right? If not, I hope you do! Maybe sending a copy to Rome wouldn’t be such a bad idea either. And Catholic Charities while you’re at it. Good for you Suz!

  5. To all – Yes, I sent it. I pondered buying him a copy of The Girls Who Went Away but figured I have already given the church enough of me. If he contacts me, I will refer him to some good sources of information.

  6. Suzan I am so happy you sent this letter. In 1991 my mother died in August after three years of terminal illness. In October I lost my first grandchild to adoption (not encouraged by me). Thanksgiving my father died suddenly. A few weeks after my father died our minister encouraged me to attend a grief group. The group was discussing if it was easier to accept a sudden death or the death of someone who you had known was terminally ill. The only thing my mind could think was the one I cannot accept is the Living Death I have been forced to live with.
    Afterward I voiced this to my minister saying, “ I know this may sound awful but I have an awful time dealing with my parents death. Yet what is first and foremost in my mind is I feel like I am living with a Living Death and that is the worst.”
    My minister’s reply was, “That is exactly what you are living with.”
    Thank you for sharing this letter.

  7. Suz: A wonderful letter, and about time someone voiced a sermon of their own.
    This came at a time when my Auntie recently passed away. A devout catholic who served the church for well over 35 yrs. Every Sunday got up on the pulpit and read. When she died we couldnt get a priest to come and give the last rites. They were all busy! When you first started writing of the “catholics” I wanted to pray extra hard for you. Now it is so clear …..
    I would be surprised if he acknowledged you. But he will read it.

  8. Great letter.
    Curious: What sort of work do you do to help single moms to raise their children? And are there other types of work that you think can help reduce the adoption rate? I’m contemplating a career change…

  9. Check out the movie Goya’s Ghosts. The more things change the more they stay the same.

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  11. I have friends who are adoptive parents and not being a First Mother is tough for them. I have cried with them over their struggles and I often think in this situation: who wins?
    I think of what my response would be to my teenage daughters if they came to me pregnant and have come to the conclusion that even if it means raising another child as I try to retire I would not want to lose my grandchild. So much grief. So much. Thank you for standing up to remind others of your loss.

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  13. Powerful! I can tell you for a Biblical fact that surrendering your child to adoption after conceiving out of wedlock doesn’t make you a candidate for hell, regardless of what the Catholic Church might say. They are a god unto themselves and we have many recovering Catholics in our church. They are a religion and don’t teach anything about a relationship with Jesus, which is what the Bible does teach. I’m so proud of you for writing and sending this letter. Well done, my friend!

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  17. I reread this last night, but the Sandman got to me before I had the opportunity to get back to you. Very glad you’ve included this one among your best. It most definitely deserves to be there.

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