Q. Do aborted children go directly to heaven? A friend says that aborted children are martyrs — is this true?
A. Children killed through abortion are entrusted to the love of a merciful God. Baptism is the assurance of God’s saving grace in our lives. Children who suffer abortion are not baptized, of course. But, like all children who die before they are baptized, we entrust their redemption from original sin, and their salvation to Jesus Christ.
Paragraph 1261 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that, “Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: ‘Let the little children come to me, do not hinder them,’ allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism.” We confidently hope for the salvation of children who have been aborted, trusting in God’s mercy, and the love of the Lord for children, especially those who have never personally chosen any act of sin.
Traditionally, the Church uses the term martyrs to refer to those who have died in witness to Christian faith—who have died because of hatred for the faith, and the persecution of Christian believers. By that definition, the unborn who suffer abortion have not been “martyred” in their deaths. But Father James Schall, SJ, says that those who suffer abortion are “martyrs of reason”— that rejection of any rational sense of human ethics has directly caused their deaths. He says that unborn witness to the profound consequences of rejecting rational human ethics. Certainly, aborted children witness to a fundamental rejection of reason, of ethics, and of moral truth.
We should pray for an end to abortion, for the salvation of all souls, and for the conversion of all those who might participate in an abortion. And we should hope, confident in God’s love and mercy, for the salvation of those who are victims of the tragic crime of abortion.
Write to Ask the Register online or at 3700 Sheridan Blvd, Lincoln NE 68506-6100. All questions are subject to editing. Editors decide which questions to publish. Personal questions cannot be answered. People with such questions are urged to take them to their nearest Catholic priest.