Why Pro-Choice Catholics Matter | Patricia Miller
On an unseasonably warm January day exactly one year after the Supreme Court made abortion legal, a 49-year-old woman clad in ersatz vestments made her way up the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. When she reached the top of the stairs, she turned and faced a crowd of supporters intermingled with curious tourists and office workers on their lunch break. As a white-and-gold cardboard miter emblazoned with a Venus symbol was lowered onto her head, Patricia McQuillan declared herself Her Holiness Pope Patricia the First.
Pope Patricia wasted no time delivering her first encyclical. “The Catholic Church’s stand on abortion is only 100 years old, is strictly political and has nothing to do with religion as taught by Jesus,” declared McQuillan.
The crowning of Pope Patricia was a media sensation in New York and in feminist circles, but has largely been forgotten since. But Pope Patricia should be remembered because she gave birth to one of the most overlooked but critical components of the 40-year-plus effort to keep abortion legal in the United States: the Catholic pro-choice movement.