Jane Roe on the Damascus Road

In 1973, Norma McCorvey sued District Attorney of Dallas County Henry Wade over her desire to abort her unborn child.  Given the pseudonym “Jane Roe,” the case went all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States.  The result has been a holocaust of tens of millions of unborn babies murdered legally in the US.

On February 18th, 2017, Norma McCorvey died of heart failure.  

And I have little doubt that she is destined for glory in Heaven.

To be sure, she was the impetus for all of the horrors of legalized abortion in our country.  It can be argued that if it wasn’t her, another woman would have been “Jane Roe.”  But regardless, McCorvey  was the one.  

In her personal life, she also has many struggles.  She had an alcoholic mother and became a juvenile delinquent, often becoming a ward of the state.  She married her husband Woody McCorvey when she was 16 and divorced him soon after he allegedly assaulted her.  She also began to abuse alcohol like her mother and started a long time lesbian affair with a woman named Connie Gonzales.  

After the landmark case making abortion legal, she became an abortion advocate and worked in the clinics.

All of this factually accurate portrays a life far away from God’s plan for us.

Norma never ended up having the abortion that she sued for the right to have.  Instead, her daughter was born and placed for adoption.  I remember when I was a kid seeing a news report about how McCorvey wanted to find that child and reunite with her.  I am ashamed to say that in my lack of charity I thought, “No way!  She didn’t even want the kid so she has no right to have any relationship with the girl she tried to murder!”

I wonder how many people treated McCorvey with the same hard-heartedness that I expressed?  I pray very few. Because we must never forget that every human being is the stuff out of which saints are made.

Oscar Wilde once said, “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”  

Not only is this true of McCorvey but also one of the most important men in all of Christianity: St. Paul.

Paul (also known as Saul) was a zealous pharisee who persecuted the Church.  In fact, he was so strident in his persecutions of the Christians, that his infamy spread to the entire Church.  He was an enemy who brought violent destruction upon those who opposed him.

On the road to Damascus, where he was headed to attack a nest of Christian, Christ appeared to him in a blinding light and said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts of the Apostles 9:4).  That moment changed everything for Saul.  He was soon baptized and went on to preach the word of God until the day he was beheaded on the Ostian Way under Emperor Nero.  In that time he wrote more books of the Bible than any single man, he was persecuted, imprisoned, scourged, nearly stoned to death, and shipwrecked three times.  And he never stopped until Christ welcomed him into heaven with open arms.

McCorvey came to understand that abortion was the killing of human person.  She left work at the abortion clinic. She then was later baptized by an Evangelical minister and then in 1998 she entered the Roman Catholic Church. She soon declared that she had left the homosexual lifestyle and became a staunch advocate for the unborn.

While we recognize Paul’s early sins, terrible as they were, he more remembered for the grace by which he lived the rest of his life.

Let us do the same for Norma McCorvey.  

Her story reminds us that Jesus is Mercy.  

In the eyes of God, her sins of the past were remembered no more.  How often we feel like we cannot get beyond the sins of our past.  Yet they are gone, remembered by Him no more.  We are made clean by the Blood of the Lamb.  As CS Lewis wrote, “I think that if God forgives us we must forgive ourselves.  Otherwise it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than God.”  (Letters of CS Lewis, p. 230)

So when we get into heated arguments with others who advocate abortion and all other kinds of immorality, when we see those who are actively pushing for the worst kinds of evils and perversions to be accepted in our society, let us remember to not look at them with condemnation and judgment.  Let us instead pray for them.  Let us remember the life and example of Norma McCorvey.

For no sinner is so far gone that they cannot yet become a saint.

Copyright 2017, WL Grayson

W.L. Grayson

W.L. Grayson

I am a devoutly Catholic theology teacher who loves a popular culture that often, quite frankly, hates me. I grew up absorbing every movie, TV show, comic book, science fiction novel, etc. I could find. As of today I’ve watched over 2100 movies and tv shows. They take up a huge part of my life. I don’t know that this is a good thing, but it has given me a common vocabulary to draw from in order to illustrate whatever theological point I make in class. I’ve used American Pie the song to explain the Book of Revelation (I’ll post on this some time later) and American Pie the movie to help explain Eucharist (don’t ask). The point is that the popular culture is popular for a reason. It is woven into the fabric of our lives and imaginations, for good or ill. In this blog I will attempt to bring together the things of heaven with the things of earth. Of course this goal may be too lofty for someone like me.

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