To Give Thanks to the Life of Bernard Nathanson

I happened to be at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York today with my friends from Communion and Liberation. The mass was magnificent and so was Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan’s homily. What struck me deeply were his reflections on the life of Bernard Nathanson.

Tomorrow morning at 10, the Cardinal will preside at a funeral Mass for  Nathanson, a founder of NARAL, the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, a proabortion group.

Nathanson once boasted he ran the nation’s busiest abortion business. In the 1970s,  after seeing ultrasounds of unborn children, Nathanson was provoked by their humanity. He realized what he had been championing as a woman’s right to choose was, in reality, the legalized murder of innocents. Nathanson was 84 when he died last week after a long battle with cancer.

An obstetrician, Dr. Nathanson once estimated he was responsible for ending the lives of 75,000 children in their mothers’ wombs. “I am one of those who helped usher in this barbaric age. ” he said. He performed his last abortion in 1979 and became prominent in the prolife movement. He was baptized into the Catholic faith in 1996 by Cardinal John O’Connor in a private Mass at a chapel at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan.

In his homily, Dolan said that when Nathanson was asked what the greatest gift of the faith is, he replied “I no longer have to worry.”

According to the Cardinal, Nathanson said that after his transformation to the prolife cause and before his conversion, he used to spend sleepless nights, worrying about the souls of the children he had aborted. With faith, he understood that God would take care of them now that they were in His omnipotent hands. We think of this Scripture passage as focusing on worry about our material life, but as Nathanson discovered, Christ’s words apply to our spiritual lives as well.

Now if that is how God clothes the wild flowers growing in the field which are there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow,  will he not much more look after you, you who have so little faith?
So do not worry; do not say, “What are we to eat? What are we to drink? What are we to wear?”
It is the gentiles who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all.
Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on God’s saving justice, and all these other things will  be given you as well.
So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02064673794877417232 Sarah Harkins

    Wow. What a powerful story of healing and transformation. I can't imagine what that guilt must have felt like. and to be able to hand it over to God- wow, makes me thankful for God's healing power and the power of conversion. Great story! Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16021781602272064901 Allison

    Thanks, Sarah. I didn't know his story either, until I heard it from the Archbishop today. God's mercy is far greater than any of our sins, the Archbishop reminded us today. Blessings,Allison

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03792937108732259684 priest’s wife

    wow….isn't it amazing that he might already be a saint? (I'm still going to pray for him, though)


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