Washington D.C., Jun 1, 2009 / 22:12 pm
Several Catholic bishops have denounced the shooting of the abortion doctor George Tiller, offering their prayers for Tiller and his family while reiterating that the pro-life position can never serve as a justification for crimes.
Bishop of Wichita Michael O. Jackels said in a statement that the Catholic community extends sympathy to Tiller’s family. Bishop Jackels said that the violent crime against Tiller was made “even more heinous” by being committed in a church as he was preparing to worship.
“Many Catholics have over the years engaged in peaceful protest outside of Dr. Tiller’s clinic, praying for an end to abortion, and especially late-term abortions; I have on occasion joined them for this purpose. This position and hope cannot however serve as a justification for committing other sins and crimes, like the willful destruction of property and, even worse, murder.”
“It is my prayer that the Tiller family find consolation, that Dr. George Tiller find mercy and the fulfillment of the great hope of Christians, and that all will find peaceful and legal means to resolve differences,” Bishop Jackels said.
Archbishop of Philadelphia Cardinal Justin Rigali also responded to the crime. Speaking on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, the cardinal said the USCCB and 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.”