Friday, March 7, 2014

An Honorable Man

Two weeks ago, John Patrick Stanton was buried privately after a very well-attended funeral mass held at the Immaculate Conception Church in Jenkintown (Philadelphia). He was 86 when he died and is survived by his wife, 12 children, 46 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

At John's evening wake the evening before, roughly 1100 people filed past his casket to view him one last time. On the morning of the mass and burial, another 400 were in attendance. Included in the attendees were 16 priests, the Stanton Family Singers and a Marine Honor Guard staffed entirely by his grandchildren (Stanton was a Navy veteran).

One particular attendee deserves a special note. Her name is Brianna and she came because her birth took place because of John Patrick Stanton. You see, Mr. Stanton was the founder of the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia. He took a stand against abortion. For 30 years, he would stand in front of an abortion clinic three days a week praying for those who were going in. One of those clinics saw him in attendance for 12 years before it was shut down due to the atrocities taking place within - and by that I mean patients who died through malpractice and babies whose spinal cords were severed if they were born alive.

In no case, though, did John Patrick Stanton ever scream at the women entering these clinics to call them murderers. He never belittled them. He did speak to them on occasion, saying to them, "You're a beautiful mother." Mr. Stanton did suffer abuse at the hands of some who saw him as a trouble maker, being maced or hit in the face by something or someone who left bruises. Yet, he retained the "utmost respect" for the women he reached out to. He didn't see evil in them.

Once, after being charged with contempt of court for violating an injunction by picketing, he went to jail rather than pay the legal fees of the clinic because he couldn't bear the thought of paying money to a company that profited from abortion. He was there for 90 days and never did pay the fees before he died.

John Patrick Stanton was an honorable man. I may not share his convictions (don't misunderstand my meaning - it's not as black and white as it seems), but I admire his devotion to them. I also admire that he did it all with love, which can't be said for many who are opposed to abortion. He simply prayed for and conversed with the pregnant women entering the clinics. He was a peaceful, loving and caring man who I would have loved to have met.

Photo is from the news article I read that triggered this post.

The news article I read:

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