Tom Hoopes is Vice President of College Relations and writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He has written for the Register for more than 20 years and was its executive editor for 10. His writing has appeared in First Things’ First Thoughts, National Review Online, Crisis, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside Catholic and Columbia. He has served as press secretary for the Chairman of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee. He and his wife, April, were editorial co-directors of Faith & Family magazine for 5 years. They have nine children.
Pro-lifers rushed to the transom to condemn the killing of abortionist George Tiller by a gunman at his Kansas church.
UPDATED with more comment.
Statements from: U.S. bishops, Priests for Life, American Life League, Kansas Bishops, CatholicVote.org and Susan B. Anthony List.
Speaking on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, expressed profound regret upon learning of the shooting death of abortion doctor George Tiller.
“Our bishops’ conference and all its members have repeatedly and publicly denounced all forms of violence in our society, including abortion as well as the misguided resort to violence by anyone opposed to abortion,” Cardinal Rigali said. “Such killing is the opposite of everything we stand for, and everything we want our culture to stand for: respect for the life of each and every human being from its beginning to its natural end. We pray for Dr. Tiller and his family.”
National director of Priests for Life, Father Frank Pavone, issued the following statement:
“I am saddened to hear of the killing of George Tiller this morning. At this point, we do not know the motives of this act, or who is behind it, whether an angry post-abortive man or woman, or a misguided activist, or an enemy within the abortion industry, or a political enemy frustrated with the way Tiller has escaped prosecution. We should not jump to conclusions or rush to judgment.
“But whatever the motives, we at Priests for Life continue to insist on a culture in which violence is never seen as the solution to any problem. Every life has to be protected, without regard to their age or views or actions.”
The following is a statement from Shaun Kenney, executive director of American Life League, on the killing of abortionist George Tiller.
“Leaders within the pro-life movement often discuss justice in connection with our mission to end the tragedy of abortion. Today, Dr. George Tiller’s life ended in an act defying those principles.
With genuine sorrow, we reflect on today’s events in prayer. Justice for all human beings includes the lives of those with whom we fundamentally disagree as well as the victims of abortion. We firmly hope the perpetrators of this act are apprehended, that the facts be made known, and that justice according to the law is preserved and dispensed.
Today’s actions were tragic and serve as another reminder that all human life is sacred. Pro-lifers by our nature and commitment to human rights reject violence as a means of resistance. Our thoughts and prayers indeed extend to the Tiller family and the community at Reformation Lutheran Church.
From the Kansas Catholic bishops:
We, the four Catholic bishops of the dioceses of Kansas, unequivocally condemn the murder of Dr. George Tiller that occurred in Wichita earlier today. The Catholic Church believes that every human life is sacred. The murder of a human being is the gravest of crimes and is an intrinsic evil. Such an act of violence against human life is a contradiction of the most fundamental principle of the pro-life movement. The fact that this attack occurred in a church, a place of prayer and worship, only adds to the horror of this terrible crime. We prayerfully commend Dr. George Tiller to the mercy of God, and we pray for comfort and consolation for his family and friends.
Most Reverend Joseph F. Naumann, archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas
Most Reverend Ronald M. Gilmore, bishop of Dodge City
Most Reverend Paul S. Coakley, bishop of Salina
Most Reverend Michael O. Jackels, bishop of Wichita
CatholicVote.org issued the following statement in response to reports that late-term abortionist George Tiller was been murdered outside his church Sunday morning.
“We condemn the violent murder of George Tiller and hope that his killer will be brought to justice for this heinous crime. We cannot create a civilization of love with such violence. We call upon all people of good will to pray this week for the soul of Mr. Tiller and to pray that our society will abandon every form of hatred and violence,” said Brian Burch, President of CatholicVote.org.
“This senseless act of violence represents the utter antithesis of a people of life. The tens of millions of Americans who peacefully pray and work every day for the protection of all human life are rightfully grieved by this news,” continued Burch.
Burch said: “As the late Cardinal John O’Connor said, ‘If anyone has an urge to kill someone at an abortion clinic, they should shoot me. ... It’s madness. It discredits the right-to-life movement. Murder is murder. It’s madness. You cannot prevent killing by killing.’”
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser offered the following statement in response to the death of abortionist George Tiller from an unidentified gunman:
“The Susan B. Anthony List condemns this anti-life act in the strongest of terms. The heart of the pro-life movement is one founded in love. Without this driving powerful center no justice can possibly be achieved. Authentic progress in women’s rights has always encompassed the protection of human rights of every person across the board. The rights of one human being can never be honored by diminishing or ignoring the rights of another. This week as we gather for our annual June Tea event, themed Love Lets Live, we will lift up George Tiller’s loved ones in prayer.”
George Tiller was shot and killed by an unidentified assailant shortly after 10 a.m. at Reformation Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Wichita, Kan., this morning. The 67-year-old was one of the few U.S. physicians who still performed late-term abortions. He had previously survived a 1993 shooting outside his clinic. Law enforcement officials are searching for an unidentified assailant who fled in a powder blue Ford Taurus.