“We do not teach the wrongness of taking human life by wrongfully taking a human life”

Catherine Nolan brought together some quotes from Princeton Catholic philosopher, Robbie George, regarding the murder of George Tiller.

The first quote is one we noticed already. It’s from several years ago:

I am personally opposed to killing abortionists. However, inasmuch as my personal opposition to this practice is rooted in a sectarian (Catholic) religious belief in the sanctity of human life, I am unwilling to impose it on others who may, as a matter of conscience, take a different view. Of course, I am entirely in favor of policies aimed at removing the root causes of violence against abortionists. Indeed, I would go so far as to support mandatory one-week waiting periods, and even nonjudgmental counseling, for people who are contemplating the choice of killing an abortionist. I believe in policies that reduce the urgent need some people feel to kill abortionists while, at the same time, respecting the rights of conscience of my fellow citizens who believe that the killing of abortionists is sometimes a tragic necessity-not a good, but a lesser evil. In short, I am moderately pro-choice.

Much like Cardinal Arinze’s comments, this demonstrates the shortcomings of the relativistic approach that many pro-choicers adopt in response to pro-life arguments.

I was hesitant to blog about that at first, fearing it could be taken out of context, but George has provided an appropriate context himself with less tongue-in-cheek comments on the Tiller murder specifically:

Whoever murdered George Tiller has done a gravely wicked thing. The evil of this action is in no way diminished by the blood George Tiller had on his own hands. No private individual had the right to execute judgment against him. We are a nation of laws. Lawless violence breeds only more lawless violence. Rightly or wrongly, George Tilller was acquitted by a jury of his peers. “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord.” For the sake of justice and right, the perpetrator of this evil deed must be prosecuted, convicted, and punished. By word and deed, let us teach that violence against abortionists is not the answer to the violence of abortion. Every human life is precious. George Tiller’s life was precious. We do not teach the wrongness of taking human life by wrongfully taking a human life. Let our “weapons” in the fight to defend the lives of abortion’s tiny victims, be chaste weapons of the spirit.

Catherine highlights a relevant passage from A Man for All Seasons, but I’m reminded of the movie Doubt which I saw just a few weeks back. Meryl Streeps character claims: “In the pursuit of wrongdoing, one steps away from God. Of course there is a price.” Immediately, alarm bells should go off. It’s a classic case of using the ends to justify the means, to suggest that the virtue of an act is determined solely by its goal. In this case, the goal of seeking to end abortions is certainly worthy, but the means is absolutely immoral and totally contradictory.

We must consistently defend life.

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