“Monica, pull over here. I want to buy something,” Norma McCorvey (“Roe” of Roe v. Wade) said to me as I was driving her back to Dallas after she had given an audience-packed pro-life talk on campus at Texas A&M, sponsored by St. Mary’s Catholic Center where I worked as a campus minister. It was an antique shop off of the small Highway 6, and what did this fallen-away Catholic end up buying? A statue of Mary! Moreover, I remember feeling uncomfortable that Rhonda, her very pro-life (yet anti-Catholic) associate, had to sit in the back seat next to Mary’s statue, snugly buckled in!
After that, I decided it wasn’t pushy to ask, “Norma, I know you are a pro-life Christian now, but you used to be a Catholic Christian. We have two more hours. Would you like to ask me questions about Catholicism?” Her questions were the typical ones: the priesthood, confession, purgatory, the Eucharist, and Mary. How ironic that the woman who was listening so intently to me explain why Catholics honor Mary, had bought just a few minutes earlier a statue of Mary. Mother Mary.
I am convinced that the main influencer in Norma’s life was Mary who kept drawing Norma to her Incarnate Son. Christianity began in the womb of a woman, with a tiny fetus, Jesus Himself. Eventually, the Body of Christ—the Eucharist—in Norma’s life drew her to Him. I was there at St. Thomas Aquinas in Dallas in 1998 where I had arranged several Aggies to drive up to play music at Norma’s reception into the Catholic Church. Fr. Frank Pavone’s homily still rings in my memory (though I paraphrase): “Rather than ‘This is my body, I can do whatever I want with it,’ Norma now says, with her Savior, ‘This is my body, given for you.'”
And now, now we have Roe no more (which was the name of Norma’s non-profit). I never thought our country would ever repeal this law, the height of injustice against children and their moms. Despite what the media says, Fr. Frank Pavone heard her very last words before—we hope—she met her Maker: “I want you guys to promise me to never back away from undoing the decision I was a part of.” (https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2020/05/26/the-last-words-of-norma/)
Norma, we didn’t, and it’s gone! On this Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, the richest reality of real Love, that evil ruling is abolished. Now… an even harder task, to continue to change the entire culture to see that the body matters, whether it’s the mom’s pregnant body or the infant’s tiny body. As Pope John Paul says in the Theology of the Body, “Look, a body that reveals the person.” Let’s buckle up with Mother Mary and keep giving the truth of love and life! Norma, please keep praying for us; we will pray for you, for you are no longer Roe.