Tom Peters reports that Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York will celebrate a funeral Mass for pro-life hero Dr. Bernard Nathanson.
Most people know the story of Dr. Nathanson, a one-time abortionist and one of the founders of NARAL Pro-Choice America. By his own count Dr. Nathanson partcipated in the deaths of 75,000 unborn babies. But, after witnessing a sonogram, the Doctor had a change of heart, a conversion, and became one of the most important voices for life in the United States. Think how hard it is to admit we are wrong, even in small things, and then reflect on what moral courage Dr. Nathanson's acceptance and conversion must have required! And his example must surely have encouraged others like Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe) and Abby Johnson, not to mention many whose names we will never know. Tom writes:
"Today it was made known that Archbishop Timothy Dolan will celebrate Dr. Nathanson’s funeral Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.
Imagine, someone who brought about the deaths of 75,000 human beings and who was instrumental in ushering in the era of legalized abortion being granted a Catholic burial.
But thus is the infinite mercy of Christ.
Tom then quotes his father, canon lawyer Dr. Ed Peters:
My father writes movingly about this:
'Nathanson’s baptism at the hands of Cdl. John O’Connor in 1996 completely forgave him all his sins up to that point (all of his 75,000 supervised or directly-performed abortions, including one of his own children, his multiple divorces, and God knows what else) and totally paid all of the punishments due for such sins. CCC 1263. Everything, everything, Nathanson did up to the day of his baptism is buried forever in Christ.'
This is an extraordinary point to reflect upon.
After all, the Church, in the debate over abortion, is often portrayed as unfeeling, harsh, unforgiving. I think critics of the Church who say such things should take note of Dr. Nathanson’s Catholic burial.
In truth, nothing is more forgiving than the Church because the Church forgives through the power of Christ – He who IS forgiveness for sin. The Church can be no less forgiving of sin as He is, and the same is true for us. If Dr. Nathanson can be saved, we all can. And we can pray for everyone including the Dr. Nathansons of this world to experience conversion.
The example of Dr. Nathanson, his baptism and funeral brings this one thing to mind: conversion.
As we pray for the repose of Dr. Nathanson’s soul – and petition God to show all His mercy to him – we should also pray for the conversion of those who continue to believe in the lie of abortion.
Lord, harden not their hearts. Lord, show them your mercy!"
Mary Help of Christians, pray for us!