The Knights and the Archdiocese of Chicago are co-sponsoring a national conference in Chicago on Sept. 8 and 9, to focus on the effects of abortion on men whose children have been aborted.
Featuring an international panel of speakers and participants, the “Reclaiming Fatherhood” conference will be held at the Marriott Hotel in Oak Brook, Ill.
The Milwaukee-based National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation, headed by Vicki Thorn, is organizing the conference, which seeks to bring to light what Thorn describes as the “invisible” issue in our society and even in the Church: the profound effect that abortion has on fathers whose children are aborted.
“As an organization of lay men that has a strong history and commitment to life, we think it is very important to highlight the issues faced by those fathers whose children are aborted,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “There are three victims of every abortion, the child and both of his or her parents, and it is our hope that this conference will be the beginning of a ministry within the Church to these fathers, who grieve the death of their unborn child in isolation and silence.”
Thorn has been working nationally and internationally – primarily with women – who have had abortions since 1984 through the Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Project Rachel, the Catholic Church’s post abortion healing ministry.
Experts including several therapists – as well as several fathers who have lost children to abortion – will cover topics including men’s healing process after abortion; abortion’s effects on men’s spirituality; fatherhood and abortion; and why men who have been involved in abortion come for help.
Anderson and Thorn believe the “Reclaiming Fatherhood” conference could help men deal with the psychological trauma of post-abortion reality the way Project Rachel – the Catholic post-abortion healing ministry Thorn founded – has helped women who have undergone abortions deal with their emotional and spiritual scars.
In 2007, the Knights and the Archdiocese of San Francisco co-sponsored a similar conference – also organized by the National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing. That conference was the first of its kind in the United States to deal with effects of abortion on men. More than 175 people from nine countries attended the San Francisco Reclaiming Fatherhood conference.