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What Kate Michelman and Pope St. John Paul II Taught Me

AP Photo/Okello Dunkley

Susan E. Wills - published on 08/30/14

Although insurance covered “most” of his expenses, when bills are astronomical, the out-of-pocket portion is enough to put one deeply in debt. Facing a similar, though far less drastic situation this past year, I was finally able to empathize with her. And that led me to examine my own behavior.

How many of us have noted that people in the abortion industry treat human babies not as persons but as objects unworthy of their concern? There I was, objectifying Ms. Michelman. She was the Enemy who had to be exposed and held up to ridicule for every false statement. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard or read caustic comments directed at people who are working to advance the culture of death. We have a duty to vigorously oppose what they are doing, but an equally great duty to accord them the respect due all human beings. 

I now wonder how I could have presumed to write her off when it’s clear that God had not given up on her? I’m not suggesting that God has been punishing her for the way she misused the talents he gave her in promoting abortion. He doesn’t work that way. But when tragedy strikes, we have an opportunity to be transformed with his help, to bear suffering courageously, to love sacrificially, to spend ourselves in caring for others, becoming a little more Christ-like in the process.

And it seems as if she has seized the opportunity she was given to spare no effort in caring for her daughter and for her husband until his death. Her public career has been an affront to God, but her private life, before and after her abortion anyway, may well have been saintly. Fortunately, for all of us, God’s mercy is without end. Let’s try to keep in mind what he told St. Faustina Kowalska: “the greater the misery of a soul, the greater its right to My mercy” (Diary, no. 1182). And add Kate Michelman to you prayer list because God wants us all to join him in heaven. 

Susan E. Wills is Spirituality Editor of Aleteia’s English edition.

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