By John-Henry Westen

TORONTO, July 2, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In a press conference today, Henry Morgentaler, Canada’s most notorious abortionist, accused the Catholic Church of stirring up violence against abortionists, while hostile reporters questioned Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins on whether he was encouraging people to "yell and scream" about the conferral of the award on Morgentaler.

However, while the pro-life movement is indeed outraged by Morgentaler being named to the Order of Canada, there has also been to call to pray for a change of heart for the abortionist such as happened to prominent US abortionist and abortion activist, Dr. Bernard Nathanson. 

On Sunday Pope Benedict XVI inaugurated the Jubilee Year of St. Paul. The author of several books of the New Testament, Paul was at one time a prominent persecutor of Christians and was responsible for numerous killings, most famously that of St. Stephen. After a dramatic conversion, however, Paul went on to become one of Christianity’s greatest champions.

Campaign Life Coalition President Jim Hughes has called on all pro-lifers to pray that Henry Morgentaler may have a conversion like that of St. Paul. Sources have informed LifeSiteNews.com that these prayers are urgently needed as Morgentaler is said to be gravely ill with perhaps only weeks to live. That appears to explain why his supporters on the Order of Canada Advisory Committee were so determined to sneak his award through over the long holiday weekend, by passing normal process and offending millions of Canadians.

Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins, who yesterday issued a statement strongly opposing Morgentaler being awarded the Order of Canada, told LifeSiteNews.com in an interview today that he would "earnestly support" such a prayer campaign.

"I certainly think we should always pray for that (Morgentaler’s conversion)," said the Archbishop.  "I think that is really where our great concentration should be."

The Archbishop added, "Certainly we should be helping and providing alternatives for women who are being pressured and tempted to an abortion, and giving great love and care for those who have had them so we can reach out in love and help. But prayer is at the heart of it all. The most important thing is to pray."

Praying for his conversion is no sign of weakness, nor does it prohibit speaking out strongly against Morgentaler’s actions, indicated the Archbishop. 

The Toronto Archbishop told LifeSiteNews.com, "Henry Morgentaler represents something that is a great tragedy in our nation.  This honoring of him is something which is so sad - how have we come to this?  What he has pursued in his life, his life’s work, represents such a terrible affliction for our nation as a whole, when those who are most vulnerable are treated that way and it is celebrated. What does it say about our nation?"

Nevertheless, the Archbishop said, "I think we should really pray with great love and great fervour for Dr. Morgentaler and others who are, for whatever reason, are so intent on advancing this terrible reality (abortion) that they may turn back from that. And there are cases where this has happened in the States - Dr. Nathanson and others who have turned away from that."