The Murder of George Tiller

The Murder of George Tiller

By John Mallon

Every mature, seasoned pro-lifer knows that our opponents will grasp at any straw to bring accusation against us. I believe this is because of a deep down disturbance in the conscience of abortion promoters and the childish tendency to excuse one’s own bad behavior by pointing to someone else’s. Not to psychoanalyze our opponents, but we do know the law of God is written on every human heart, and to repress the voice of conscience can lead to dysfunction, denial and further moral turpitude. This is a profound spiritual pandemic in our time requiring urgent soaking prayer for our opponents. (Human Life International has an ongoing prayer campaign for the conversion of abortionists.)

For example, the repression of conscience can be as simple as this: every child of the age of reason tempted to steal a candy bar knows the flush of anxiety at the temptation. If the temptation is acted upon there is a flush of exhilaration on getting away with it. The next time it is easier, and so on, and if not caught by good attentive parents, can lead to disaster for the child sooner or later in life. Teens often go through the same process with sexual activity.

The most notorious abortionist in America has just been murdered, giving our opponents fodder to start a media clamor, which will go on for years. Normally the behavior of pro-lifers is above reproach, and this frustrates our opponents. Just watch the pro-abort camp spring into action over this tragic incident.

George Tiller’s actions were heinous in the extreme. But so was his murder. Tiller, once a fetus himself, was fashioned by God in his mother’s womb. That he was capable of desecrating that sacred process is a tragedy. We do not know what forces in his life led him to his "profession." Maybe it was simple greed or ideology or a mixture of both. But he had free will to choose evil over good, and did so. 

What we do know is that he was a child of God no matter how wayward. There is no doubt that God had a plan for his life to turn him from the evil he chose, but someone else chose evil and cut that plan short. Imagine the good that could have been done if God had more time to work on him. Look at the deep humility and witness of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, also once the most notorious abortionist in the land. In his contrition, Dr. Nathanson is a witness to God’s grace and an active pro-lifer. We do not know the trajectory of George Tiller’s life in the mind of God. But we do know that God desires all to be saved. 

Some will argue that Tiller’s murder was just under some kind of just war notion or in defense of the innocent. That argument has been widely discredited in the pro-life movement. Apart from the wrongness of the act, the PR effect is always devastating to the pro-life movement, with all pro-lifers who have toiled non-violently for decades tarred with the same broad brush as the murderer.

Tiller was killed in a house of worship, a Lutheran church, another desecration. In the Catholic Church murder inside a church is considered a grave desecration and the church cannot be used for sacred purposes until a rededication ritual is performed, in effect "cleansing" and resanctifying the sacred space. 

At this point little is known about the motives of the shooter. But prayers for his salvation are in order. We can only hope and pray for the soul of Dr. Tiller. We do not know the last words in his heart as he slipped out of consciousness. 

No doubt some imprudent Christians may proclaim that his soul dropped directly into hell. On the other hand he may have made a perfect act of contrition in his last fleeting moments of life. He may well be in hell, but that is nothing to rejoice over. Catholics should pray as if his soul is in purgatory, as we do with all our dead. And pray that all those living who practice Tiller’s wicked "profession" will receive the grace to turn from it. As for those who would take God’s law into their own hands, the words of Scripture remind us, "Vengeance is mine, sayith the Lord." (Romans 12:19)

John Mallon is a contributing editor to Inside the Vatican magazine, and a veteran Catholic journalist and commentator. His personal website is http://johnmallon.LIFE