WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Norma McCorvey, who was ``Jane Roe'' in the Roe vs. Wade decision that lifted most state restrictions on abortion, will begin instruction in July to become a Catholic.
Baptized a Christian in 1995 by the Rev. Flip Benham, director of Operation Rescue National, McCorvey said in a June 15 statement that God had told her during prayer to ```come all the way home to him' in his church -- the church Jesus Christ himself founded, the mother church.''
``After many months of prayer, and many worried nights, I am making the joyous announcement today that I have decided to join the mother church of Christianity -- by which I of course mean the Roman Catholic Church,'' she said.
McCorvey said she would be instructed by Dominican Father Edward Robinson, pro-life coordinator for the Dallas Diocese, where she now lives.
She also gave credit for her conversion to ``my dear friend'' Father Frank Pavone, international director of Priests for Life, and said he would arrange for her to be confirmed in Rome after her classes are completed.
In a telephone interview from Rome, Father Pavone told Catholic News Service that he had been ``privileged to follow Norma's journey of faith from the beginning.''
He said the ``most significant moment'' in that journey came when she was baptized a Christian three years ago, but that her latest decision signified ``a full flowering of that commitment to follow Christ.''
He said he hoped that the example of McCorvey, who once sought an abortion and later worked in an abortion clinic, would serve to inspire other women and men involved in abortions to seek the healing offered by the church.
``It's a sign of great life in the whole pro-life cause,'' he said of McCorvey's decision. Father Pavone said the Rome ceremony, which he would arrange when McCorvey and Father Robinson felt her instructions in Catholicism were completed, would involve her reception into the Catholic Church, along with her first Communion and confirmation. "
Although there have been some reports that McCorvey was born into a Catholic family, Father Pavone said ``her past has been difficult in so many ways'' that she is unsure of the details of her religious background.
McCorvey first announced her decision to become a Catholic while attending an ecumenical service at Trinity Church in Waco, Texas. The Rev. Daniel Vinzant, pastor of Trinity, an evangelical Protestant church, said he supported McCorvey in ``her decision to complete the journey of her faith.''
Redemptorist Father Richard Welch, president of Human Life International, expressed delight at the news that McCorvey was becoming a Catholic.
A press release from Human Life International quoted McCorvey as saying her experiences as a speaker at the organization's world convention in Houston in April ``was one of the factors helping my decision to go into the church. I saw such unity of purpose and love there.''
McCorvey is currently working through the Dallas-based Roe No More Ministries, which she founded, to speak around the country about help and counseling services available to women who have had abortions or those considering or being pressured into an abortion.