Dearest Mary, tradition holds that you were a prostitute and “fallen woman” when you met our Lord and Savior. But even if that was a mistake by St. Pope Gregory I the Great, if you really are in heaven, I don’t think you would be insulted by this but rather honored. Look then with pity and kindness upon your sisters and brothers on earth in this ancient and honorable profession. Protect them from the police and authorities who persecute them while claiming to “rescue” them, and when they are not assaulting them behind the shadow of a badge deny them the full protection of the laws. Protect them from other women who claim to speak in their name while refusing to listen (and actively trying to silence) those who refuse to tell them what they want to hear. Protect them from the clients they serve—not just the violent, but also the hypocrites and cowards. Protect also the clients who are guilty of no crime but paying for consensual sex with a willing adult. Protect their children from being taken into custody because their mothers’ lifestyle is not approved by the prudes, and protect their spouses, lovers, and family from persecution for no crime other than supporting and being supported by them.
I believe our Lord will listen to your prayer because the Gospels faithfully record that our Savior was a friend of prostitutes, and true friends of prostitutes understand not only the value of their work, but also their value as human beings. The people who persecute your sisters in our Lord’s name sound a lot more like the Pharisees he opposed than your friend. May the Lord give them strength to endure and triumph over their persecution, just as He did on the cross, and may He give the rest of us the courage to speak out on their behalf.
I ask this through Christ our Lord, from whom all good things come.
Edward J. Cunningham