The Conversion of Norma McCorvey

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director of Priests for Life
June 22, 1998

Truth and sin have very little in common, but there is one characteristic they both seem to share: start flirting with either one of them, and they draw you all the way in.

Norma McCorvey’s life and conversion, so powerfully summarized in her recent book Won by Love, illustrate this truth dramatically. The deceit of the abortion industry drew her in and brought her to the depths of anguish, misery, and confusion. Then she began flirting with the truth, a little here and a little there. She listened to my good friend, Rev. Flip Benham, admit in all humility that he too needs God’s forgiveness, and thus she allowed her stereotype of pro-life people as "self-righteous" to crumble. She listened to a little girl invite her to come to Church, and finally (after many invitations) thought it would do no harm to check it out. Little by little, truth drew her in and proved itself more attractive than the abortion industry.

She finally accepted Christ in faith, was baptized, and became a believer. At the beginning, however, she still thought some early abortion would be acceptable. She was open to truth, however, and truth did not let her go. It drew her further, and she quickly became convinced that abortion is wrong at any stage, no matter what the reason. She even wears a tee-shirt at pro-life gatherings that says "100% Pro-life, Without Exception, Without Compromise, Without Apology."

The truth has continued to draw Norma further. In my contacts with her over recent years, I noticed her interest in Catholicism. Shortly after her baptism, she asked me to bless her home. (Not being used to the custom of Holy Water, she and her friend inadvertently drank the entire spare supply I left with them.) She attended with interest a Mass I celebrated in Dallas, and the following summer came with me to EWTN to tape a television interview. In the course of that interview, she asked me to bless the cross she wears, a cross which was made out of what used to be a pro-choice bracelet.

Some months ago, Norma asked me to teach her to say the Rosary. As we continued to talk about her faith, I realized she felt very strongly the call to fully embrace Catholicism. I simply answered her questions, which she raised in her own time and her own way. Then one day she sent me an email in which she told me that "The Big Boss" told her she was to join the Church.

I look forward to welcoming Norma here to Rome to complete her initiation. The warm embrace which the Church extends to her is a sign of hope to everyone, but I especially see it as a sign of hope to our brothers and sisters who are still enmeshed in the abortion industry. We vigorously oppose what they do, but we do not hate them. We embrace them, too. The door of the Church is open. Truth continues to lead her children forward.

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