Tiller “the Killer” Killed Today


George Tiller, the infamous late-term abortionist, was shot and killed today.  Please pray for his soul and for his family.

Fr. Frank Pavone has some good comments on the situation in the video below.

125 comments Add comment

Phil May 31, 2009 at 7:23 pm

What a sad day. His poor family. Dr. Tiller apparently paid the ultimate price for his beliefs. I suppose we should pray for the soul of the person who killed him too, no?

I would be *shocked* if this was a random act of violence…like someone just wandered into the church and killed one of the three remaining post 21-week abortion doctors. But we shall see.

Out of respect for his family, don’t you think it would be fair to remove “the killer” from the title of this blog? I just don’t see a reason to stomp on any man’s grave, especially just hours after he was murdered in his own Church.

Artie May 31, 2009 at 8:05 pm

I remember somebody saying on these boards if you say Hitler “was a man of Courage” then consider yourself more or less a loon.

If there were blog posts back in April 1945

I wonder if people were to call Hitler a killer on a blog post back then if they would have stated, “Out of respect for his family, don’t you think it would be fair to remove “the killer” from the title of this blog? I just don’t see a reason to stomp on any man’s grave, especially hours after he died.”

Abortion and the Holocaust I see no difference in regards to killing innocent human life.

In regards to praying for the soul of the person who killed him, that goes without saying.

I am pretty sure NARAL is licking their chops in order to politicize Tiller’s death as “the pro-life movement” are the evil ones.

Phil May 31, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Artie, if you want to compare Hitler to Tiller, that’s up to you. Personally, I don’t see the slightest resemblence.

However, in your defense, and Matt’s, I suppose if convicted killer Charles Manson was murdered in prison and a headline that read “Manson ‘The Killer’ killed” was published I wouldn’t feel the same way. I guess I don’t see Tiller as a cold blooded murder like you two do.

However, I really do feel bad for his wife and family. She got to watch her husband die. Now she gets to read article titles like Tiller ‘The Killer’. Seems sort of like vengence to me. The man is dead, shot in cold blood in his church 8 hours ago. No need to stomp on his grave. At least not this soon. His legacy will be written on it’s own. Adding the nickname ‘The Killer’ to articles about his death are not necessary IMO.

Catholic debating pro-life April 27, 2010 at 5:08 pm

He was a killer. He earned his name. It’s not stomping on his grave.

Barb May 31, 2009 at 8:32 pm

extremists. This is what I’m talking about.

Artie May 31, 2009 at 8:46 pm


If you don’t believe abortion is ending a life of an innocent human being, you could not possibly make the comparison.

Hitler and Tiller in regards to ending innocent life are technically no different. The difference is killing in the womb is politically correct where as killing outside the womb is considered wrong.

It would be politically incorrect in this day in age to make such a far out claim that I made. Because abortion is seen as just another procedure that is done to a human that is unseen. It is not really ending a life to some in our culture

I sympathize for their family, I really do. Not for the reasons that you may sympathize, but none of the less my prayers truly go out to him and his family. (truth and love)

I wouldn’t call it vengeance to call the man a killer. He made a living off of literally ending innocent human life in the womb.

Do I think the man deserved to be shot and killed? No I do not, I do not even condone the action. I think the guy deserved a better life ending story! Perhaps having a conversion to realize that was he was doing was wrong. Same goes to (Manson, Hitler, and company)

Artie May 31, 2009 at 8:49 pm

I would also like to say from a psychological point of view Hitler and Tiller believed what they were doing was a good and moral thing for humanity.

I understand making the comparison is asinine to those who believe abortion is not ending innocent human life. If I thought abortion was just a mere medical procedure that helped out women, I would consider myself a wacko for making the comparison.

Reality of it is, abortion is ending human life, thus murder.

Phil May 31, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Artie, Hitler murdered 6 million Jews. To compare the two is insane. Just as it is invalid to compare the death penatly to abortion (according to Matt). You can not compare 6 million deaths to 100’s.

Phil May 31, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Now, if you want to compare abortion to the Holocaust that’s another story. But DON’T compare Hitler to Tiller…that’s more silly talk

Artie May 31, 2009 at 9:14 pm

In regards to number I would agree with you. I do not know how many humans Tiller terminated. If the numbers between Hitler and Tiller are a huge difference it is insane to compare them in regards to numbers.

Artie May 31, 2009 at 9:17 pm

I will be honest Phil, I struggle with the following issues:

1. Death Penalty
2. Torture
3. Justified war

If torture is an intrinsic evil like abortion, then why is not the death penalty and to a certain degree or extent wars.

BTW it is not Matt that you are disagree with in regards to the comparison to abortion and the death penalty it is the Church’s teaching. I think Matt would agree that this is not something he came up with, this is the teaching of the Church.

Artie May 31, 2009 at 9:39 pm

Again, I am quite disturbed with this news. There is no way we can condone this act no matter how heinous his crimes were against humanity.

I fear for those who pray in front of abortion clinics now. I can see government actions that could possibly call for protection against “pro-life extremists” leading to a justification to ban people from protesting outside of clinics.

Not only that, but Fr. Frank who has done a great job of spreading the truth of abortion out to the United States, could be a target for “pro-abort extremists”.

The very idea that somebody would kill him “unwanted people” is the very mindset that gave us abortion in the first place.

Every life needs to be protected…. yes even Tiller’s.

This is a horrible, horrible day for the pro life movement.

Lori June 1, 2009 at 12:25 am

Phil: Hitler also killed Catholics, the mentally handicapped, and homosexuals, to name a few. Just making sure we don’t leave anyone out.

Father: Good message.

Michael Velosa June 1, 2009 at 7:17 am

The tragedy in this case is that man could have been converted by the grace of God. Look at the example of Dr. Bernard Nathanson. This man could have followed in Nathanson’s footsteps. Now he is dead, murdered in cold blood. That is no different from abortion. We have to pray that God will have mercy on his soul. Having his life cut short like that means that he MAY not have had time to repent before he died. God have mercy on him.

Let’s pray for his family too.

Artie June 1, 2009 at 7:35 am

All great and valid points Michael. Sadly this guy will go down as a martyr for the pro abortion camp, and he will be used in future debates to make *ALL* people who are pro-life as extremists.

When in reality it was 1 distraught individual who made that decision to shoot and murder the abortionist.

This action is quite contrary to the pro-life cause.

Cindy June 1, 2009 at 8:12 am

Did you seriously refer to this man as “Tiller the Killer?”
Is it not that kind of rhetoric that drives the unstable to commit acts of violence?
Is this the tone that Jesus would have taken?
I am appalled. I hope Jesus will have mercy on us all.

Phil June 1, 2009 at 9:29 am

Cindy, intolerance breeds hatred which breeds violence. Even the most peaceful of intentions can lead to violence if based on intolerance.

I am convinced that acts such as this are a direct result of the “stable” preaching intolerance to the “unstable”.

Just look at history, look at some of the violence that occurs in this world because of intolerance of religion, intolerance of race, intolerance of sexual orientation, intolerance of choice, etc.

This world needs a reality check. People need to realize that they can move forward and make good progress on important issues without maintaining a zero tolerance attitude. The game can always be won and it doesn’t ALWAYS have to be a shutout to do so!

Mike June 1, 2009 at 9:50 am

Tiller = Hitler?
Tillers own hands committed thousands of late term abortions. He was a cold blooded murderer of the most defenseless, the poster child for partial birth abortion. Tiller lived by the sword and reaped his predictable end. Any murder, even of the likes of the despicable Dr. Tiller should be condemned, however, consider this. If someone had taken out hitler in 1943 would we have condemned the triggerman? How many lives would’ve have been saved as a result of this action? Murder a murderer to stop him from murdering? All questions we should pray about and meditate upon. Let us pray for all those involved and for an end to abortion.

Matthew Warner June 1, 2009 at 10:03 am

I think we should have zero tolerance of killing innocent human beings. That’s just me.

To suggest that violent acts (like this murder – which I 100% condemn along with all of you), are the result of not being tolerant enough of the direct killing of innocent human beings is extremely short-sighted.

It implies that if we were all a bit more tolerant of this violence (which is exactly what Tiller was involved in) against the unborn that we would have less violence. Which is absurd. Being “tolerant” of violence just leads to more violence.

The biggest cause of this continued violence (the murder of Tiller) is the violence Tiller himself decided to be a part of in the first place. The fact that it was legal (although he no doubt committed illegal late term abortions too) does not make it any less violent.

Please don’t anyone take that the wrong way as me saying he somehow deserved to get murdered. I’m not saying that in the least and I TOTALLY condemn the violent act of his death. But that doesn’t take away from the primary cause – which was Tiller’s violence in the first place. Placing blame on any kind of “intolerance” without recognizing it as secondary to the real cause is to miss the central lesson of this tragedy.

Seeing innocent human beings slaughtered over and over and over again is enough to lead even stable people over the edge. We will never be at peace while the violence continues…no matter how much we “tolerate” it.

Phil June 1, 2009 at 10:07 am

Intolerance breeds hatred

Just look at the title of your blog

Carol January 18, 2010 at 8:42 am

Tolerance breeds DEATH.
Complacency breeds destruction.
Ignorance is NOT bliss.

Your quote is trite and ridiculous. Even if you believe a human life is worthless until it can fend for itself, many late-term babies are perfectly capable of living, unassisted (aside from normal baby needs), outside the womb.
Tiller killed. Over and over and over.
Hitler ordered the deaths of millions in his warped way of preserving his own personal delusion but he didn’t do the actual killing that I know of, so yes the comparison is a terrible one.
No, Tiller didn’t order deaths and expect others to carry them out. Tiller reached into the warm seedbed of life where a dear little one was in her most vulnerable and beautifully innocent repose, and completely unanestesized, tortured her to death. He did this time after time after time.
If the mother’s life is/were in danger, doesn’t it make moral sense to, at least, try to save the baby? I mean if it must be removed, why must it be killed?
Yes. Tiller was a killer. Sorry.
Yes. Tiller’s killer is also a killer.

Here’s a better quote for you:
Intolerance of Injustice breeds Justice.

Phil June 1, 2009 at 10:23 am

The point I am trying to make is that this world is a tolerant place – it has to be. Too many people, too many beliefs.

So in a world that is rooted deeply in tolerance of others views and opinions, intolerance is not a reality. But yet intolerance is consistently taught, preached about, ingrained in the heads of so many.

And when the “unstable” realize that intolerance can not be easily acheived, anger boils over, violence occurs. Of course, the “stable” know this is no way to resolve a problem (although some will not make an out and out effort to condone such acts)

In my opinion, anyone preaching intolerance is partly responsible for Tiller’s murder. If you are anti-abortion, instead of preaching about doctors being murderers, innocent babies killers, etc., as someone so eloquantly put it on this blog, go adopt a child. Commit to an act of love instead of hateful name calling and intolerance.

Phil June 1, 2009 at 10:35 am

Moral of the story is that this man should not have been murdered by some nut, end of story. What drove the loon to murder him, who knows? Intolerance – maybe. A love of babies – maybe.

The point is, you want to discuss how this man commiting abortions is what led to his death. I would tend to disagree. I don’t care honestly. The point I am trying to make is that he is dead because of some nut job.

If I am not mistaken, Tiller did save at least one Woman’s life. No one wants to talk about that because it doesn’t fit in the spin machine of intolerance that pro-lifers want his legacy to be based on.

Matthew Warner June 1, 2009 at 10:39 am

Phil, I understand your point and it’s a good one. But we must do both. It’s not an either/or endeavor.

I doubt you would be responding the same way if we were talking about slavery, the holocaust, trashing the environment, suppression of women’s rights, etc. I don’t think you would be promoting “tolerance” of these evil things and suggesting that instead of calling these things the evil that they are we should just go out and plant a tree.

You can’t tolerate violence and expect to get less of it. Tolerance is not some absolute virtue. We should tolerate good things and not tolerate bad things. I agree that we must do so in a loving way though that doesn’t make matters worse.

Phil June 1, 2009 at 10:44 am

Last point. Don’t get me wrong, I am against 99% of abortions. But intolerance is a far larger killer historically than abortion. Let’s work on intolerance.

We should be preaching adoption, safe sex, etc. rather than rationilzing the different tiers of murder, primary violence, secondary violence, etc. That’s not comitting love. That is explaining hate.

Catholic debating pro-life April 27, 2010 at 5:12 pm

We’re not rationalizing this man’s murder at all. But he was a killer. He earned his nickname. Any comparisons to Hitler or whoever you want to mention are irrelevant.

Artie June 1, 2009 at 10:56 am

Tolerance as a virtue! Don’t call the rapist a rapist, don’t call an alcoholic an alcoholic! We don’t want to trick “unstable” people to think of sins as sins, but as social norms in a pluralistic society. We must be politically correct otherwise we are just spilling propaganda hate filled ROMAN CATHOLIC dogma on the situation.

Shame on you Matthew for not being politically correct!


Tolerance and judgment is such a touche issue in a society that believes tolerance is *ALWAYS* a virtue.

Phil you are right that there are conflicting world views that we see today and this will always be true till the end of time. There will also be sinners till the end of time and that includes nut jobs that kill abortionists, and nut jobs that kill innocent life inside the womb.

People simply will not see eye to eye on certain issues and yet while people like Matthew and myself still maintain respect for the person as a child of God, how can a person tolerate the act of abortion? (You know… hate the sin, not the sinner)

Tolerance my friend is not good enough.

We are not called to just tolerate another person if they have differing actions or beliefs. We are called to love that person, and while my human nature tends to be angry with the person we must love the person as a child of God… this is where I was coming from.

Sure Tiller was a child of God, but he also did some heinous crimes against humanity, is labeling him a *killer* fair?

Phil June 1, 2009 at 11:08 am

Artie, let me give you an example of the point I am trying to make. Pro-lifers will look at the Tiller murder, although tragic, as a net gain for their cause. Less abortions = more life.

I look at it as a net loss. More intolerance = less life.

Just look at the track record of intolerance leading to LOSS OF LIFE in differing religions, differeing cultures, differing life views, differing sexuality, etc. and try to explain to me how I am wrong.

Intolerance is a far greater killer than tolerance.

Phil June 1, 2009 at 11:10 am

Maybe the way I view this is too macro. But I am convinced that if the world practiced tolerance instead of preached intolerance we would be more net LIFE than we are today.

Matthew Warner June 1, 2009 at 11:11 am

Phil – I think you’re zeroing in on the wrong thing here. It depends on WHAT we’re tolerating or not tolerating. That makes ALL the difference.

“Tolerance” of Hitler’s rise to power and what he did led to millions of jews being slaughtered. “Intolerance” of that slaughter led to the stopping of it. You can flip it around either way. It depends on the subject being tolerated.

Phil June 1, 2009 at 11:52 am

Actually, Matt, you are dead wrong. It was Hitler’s INTOLERANCE that led to the death of more than 6 million people.

The intolerance of Hitler’s actions were a result of his intolerance for the existance of Jews.

A great example of how intolerance leads to LESS LIFE – 6 million to be exact.

Cindy June 1, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Matt, I don’t pretend to have your eloquence and can’t counter your circular logic. However, I will gladly quote Thomas a Kempis because I think this is apt:
“Although you are reluctant to bear it and are indignant at it, restrain yourself and allow no ill-advised word to pass from your mouth, which may cause Christ’s little ones to stumble.”

Could “Tiller the Killer” cause a little one to stumble? Are you making an impassioned and reasoned argument against abortion or are you allowing yourself to be perceived as yelling fire in a crowded theatre?

Artie June 1, 2009 at 12:38 pm

“Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.” G.K. Chesterton

Matthew Warner June 1, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Phil – ha, you’re making my point. And that’s that you must take into account the perspective and object being “tolerated.”

One man being intolerant of jews was not what enabled Hitler to do what he did. It was everyone else’s “tolerance” of his intolerance. It’s all about what you are tolerating and what you are NOT tolerating. We can make no universal blanket statement of whether or not “tolerance” in itself is good. It’s a neutral word. It depends on what is being tolerated.

Cindy – I’m not sure what’s “circular” about my logic. But I appreciate your point of view. And I agree whole-heartedly with your quote. But in application I’m not sure it’s that simple. If I had said the “abortionist Tiller” I would have been saying the exact same thing. And I think “little ones” stumble all the time due to people failing to call things what they are. So the principle works both ways. I appreciate your thought and definitely take them to heart.

Phil June 1, 2009 at 1:04 pm

Can’t believe that you are treating Hitler like you would a drug addict by implying that he was ‘enabled’ to murder 6 million by folks that tolerated his actions. Wow. Will wonders never cease.

“One man being intolerant of jews was not what enabled Hitler to do what he did. It was everyone else’s “tolerance” of his intolerance.”

Exactly right. And if it were not for Hitler’s intolerance in the first place, 6 million would not have died.

Hitler was intolerant. Others were then tolerant of Hitler’s intolerance.

The intolerance came first; intolerance was the root of the issue. Not the other way around. That would be circular logic.

Carol January 18, 2010 at 9:10 am

I doubt either of you know your history very well (no offense).

Hitler, himself, was cold and calculating. He saw an opportunity to grab for power and he took it. He played on the warped views expounded by Martin Luther, himself (see: “The Jews and Their Lies”, Dr. Martin Luther) and deeply ingrained in the German people at the time. But THAT so-called “intolerance” had been there a long time. The catalyst that allowed Hitler’s rise to such complete authoritative power was the extreme poverty incurred by the German people following WWI. They were beat down and desperate enough to take any exit offered to them.

This allowed them to be tolerant of the fact that their friends and neighbors were being dragged off and killed. The old intolerance helped them look the other way, but the new Social Tolerance helped them push the buttons on the gas chambers.
Poverty and our own human weakness were the cause of THIS massacre.
(BTW – I’m no historian, either – but I can spot false logic a mile away).

Matthew Warner June 1, 2009 at 1:08 pm


Phil June 1, 2009 at 1:14 pm


Phil June 1, 2009 at 1:22 pm


If Hitler was enabled by the people, and it was not Hitler’s intolerance that led to the Holocaust, but the tolerance of his enablers, then why are you always so adamently against Obama when he makes a policy decision on abortion? Shouldn’t you be more opposed to his enablers or the voters?

Matt, you constantly spin these arguments to fit your message. When you want to prove a point, Hitler becomes the tolerated rather than the intolerant. But you would never speak of Obama that way. IMO.

Matthew Warner June 1, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Phil – i’m not spinning anything. Maybe come back and read our convo in a day or a week. Of course it was hitler’s intolerance that instigated it! You get caught up on trying to disagree with everything little thing I say instead of listening to my overall point. Is it not possible to recognize that both hitler AND those that enabled him led to the holocaust? Both tolerance AND intolerance?

Either way, it’s not about Hitler. It’s that “tolerance” is a relative term. It’s NOT an absolute good. It is always dependent on what we are tolerating or not tolerating. My point in using hitler was to make an example of how it works both ways. “Tolerance” can allow or cause evil to happen. Intolerance can also allow or cause evil to happen.

Why is everyone talking about circular logic today? geeeez. It is what it is. I’m not making some complex logical argument here. Just pointing out that we can’t simply say “tolerance” is always good or simply that more tolerance is going to solve any of our problems here. It won’t. There are some things that SHOULD NOT be tolerated or else more bad things happen.

And if this was a slaveholder that just got murdered by an abolitionist, would you be blaming the rhetoric of the abolitionist movement as the main problem? Or would it be justified to also recognize the fact that slavery still existing could be the ultimate problem?

Paul Nichols June 1, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Matthew – keep the title. It fits.

So far, I’ve resisted doing a cartoon on it. But I can’t deny that the ideas are flowing fast on this new item, so there’s no guarantee that I won’t do one.

Tolerance/Intolerance – whatever. While the President begs tolerance for people like Tiller, I didn’t hear him begging tolerance for the shooter.

I mean, if we’re all supposed to be so tolerant, doesn’t that work both ways? At the very least, the shooter is only responsible for ONE death.

Mike June 1, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Tolerant or intolerant is IRRELEVANT! The will of the living God is what should be our guide. Some questions for thought. If Tiller was shot and killed while in the act of performing an abortion, does that fit the Catholic Churches teaching of justifiable homicide? If you witness someone being murdered, are you not morally obligated to do everything in your power to prevent it? Including, if necessary, the killing of the assailant? In certain circumstances don’t we have the right and/or the obligation to take another life? What if the baby being aborted had the ability to kill the abortionist, would that be justifiable? I am not trying to lessen the murder of Dr. Tiller, just put it into perspective. He reaped what he sowed!

Cindy June 1, 2009 at 2:28 pm

I just knew you were going to bring up slavery, too, Matt. I began a response to an earlier posting of yours and then abandoned it because it seemed so futile to call you on this but I can’t resist. Legalized abortion is so evil, so abominable that it does NOT need to be described by analogy. Please stop comparing it to the Holocaust or to slavery. You muddy your own argument by making reference to any other evil. It is a stand-alone evil that can be decried without outside example or metaphor or idiom or analogy.
Josef Pieper wrote a wonderful book that you would be wise to read before you post another blog. It’s called “Abuse of Language, Abuse of Power.” I probably can’t dissuade you from inflammatory rhetoric but maybe one of the best Catholic philosophers of the 20th century can.
I am not debating abortion with you. I am objecting to the use of irresponsible language that undermines the rule of law.

Matthew Warner June 1, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Thanks, Cindy. I’ll check out the book.

Artie June 1, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Cindy sounds like a great read in this politically correct world. FYI for those who follow Mark Shea’s blog, he called Tiller a monster. Is that abuse of language?

In regards to Matt using slavery as an analogy. If you read G.K Chesterton and some of his writings he does the same thing, because most arguments one makes can be clarified by making it relate to another person’s world view. Logic and sound reasoning in regards to the issue at hand is very important.

I would recommend people read up on eugenics and relate to where we are today. In short if we can dehumanize any human life from the womb to the tomb, society can justify any killing.

Interestingly enough and I figured this is the way things would play out, the pro aborts are now accusing the pro-life movement of being violent.

According to Mr. obama’s administration pro life people are now considered terrorists, despite the fact that we totally disagree with the actions of 1 individual. Talk about intellectually dishonesty from the left side of the aisle.

In regards to Phil suggesting that:

“Pro-lifers will look at the Tiller murder, although tragic, as a net gain for their cause. Less abortions = more life.”

This is a baseless claim in regards to those who are pro life. Sin on top of a sin does not make this a gain at all. Nothing good will come out of his tragic death… nothing!

I have to get my hands on this book because calling a spade a spade is apparently dangerous.

Cindy June 1, 2009 at 3:43 pm

It’s not at all about being politically correct. Again, don’t assume what the book is about based on no information whatsoever. You will be very surprised to learn that it is, in fact, precisely about calling a “spade a spade.”
Think and learn first. Speak later.

Blaise June 1, 2009 at 9:20 pm

If Hitler or Stalin would have been assasinated, would we say we condemn those actions? How many innocent lives would have been saved had that been done? Tiller the Killer killed how many babies and would have continued to kill how many more? I think the man who assasinated him should be a hero; he saved many babies. Here’s an analogy; if a man were attempting to stab little kids in your neighbor’s back yard (and had a track recording of murders- while stating he would “continue to do so- even though he didn’t believe the children were human”) and you shot the perpetrator as he was attempting to do harm to them, would we condemn you because of that action? I think not; nor do I condemn or disagree with this man’s courage in defending the babies. The man who shot Tiller knew and knows the rabid, radical pro-abortion machine will make sure he gets the death penalty quickly. Instead of saying this man’s actions run counter to being truly pro-life, maybe we need to reevaluate and consider whether he is more pro-life than almost all of us- us who say we want to protect the babies, but don’t act to do something to give these innocent little ones the defense they deserve.

Cindy June 2, 2009 at 6:26 am

Well, Matthew, if the above comment doesn’t prove my point about extreme language being dangerous for the effect it has on the fanatic, I doubt anything will. The “little ones” are being led astray.

Paul Nichols June 2, 2009 at 6:38 am

“Tragic” death? We can debate that.

The most ironic aspect to this story is the fact that his wife screamed when she saw him in the back of the church after he’d been shot.

Funny that she never screamed about the things he was doing to those babies at his office; she never screamed about the money that was being deposited in her bank account; she never woke screaming at night in a house bought and paid for by the actions of her husband.

But somehow, somehow, seeing him shot made her scream.

Maybe it was the idea that Old Testament justice declared itself very much alive after all.

Sarah January 16, 2010 at 10:59 pm


Phil June 2, 2009 at 10:22 am

Some of the more interesting statements here (none of which are taken out of context, BTW):

“Abortion and the Holocaust I see no difference in regards to killing innocent human life.”

“Tiller lived by the sword and reaped his predictable end”

“‘Tolerance’ of Hitler’s rise to power and what he did led to millions of jews being slaughtered. ‘Intolerance’ of that slaughter led to the stopping of it.”

“Matthew – keep the title. It fits.”

“So far, I’ve resisted doing a cartoon on it.”

“He reaped what he sowed!”

“I think the man who assasinated him should be a hero”

“The most ironic aspect to this story is the fact that his wife screamed when she saw him in the back of the church after he’d been shot.”

Catholic debating pro-life April 27, 2010 at 5:30 pm

“Abortion and the Holocaust I see no difference in regards to killing innocent human life.”

Nothing with this. Of course Hitler worked on a far larger scale, but Tiller cared as little for the lives of the children he murdered as Hitler cared of the people her murdered. That’s all I get out of this comparison.

“Tiller lived by the sword and reaped his predictable end”

Sad but true. Nothing wrong in saying it.

“‘Tolerance’ of Hitler’s rise to power and what he did led to millions of jews being slaughtered. ‘Intolerance’ of that slaughter led to the stopping of it.”

This is true. Hitler’s intolerance of Jews led him to start slaughtering Jews. Tolerance of the slaughter led to nobody doing anything to help, or even being so tolerant that they took an active part in the slaughter. Intolerance of the slaughter led to stopping it, as well as tolerance of Jews and other mistreated individuals. Tolerance is not always good.

“Matthew – keep the title. It fits.”

It does. Tiller was a killer who was killed. The title is simply stating a fact.

“So far, I’ve resisted doing a cartoon on it.”

It’s bad that this is even a temptation since this isn’t at all funny and is really quite tragic, but at least the poster has resisted the temptation.

“He reaped what he sowed!”

Well, he did. Not that any Christian should EVER advocate the murder of another. But at the same time, he was a killer who got killed. Assuming he didn’t repent (none of us can truly know, right?) he did indeed reap what he sowed. That doesn’t mean I’m saying that the murderer did the right thing. He didn’t But it’s not like his actions didn’t warrant this.

I think the man who assasinated him should be a hero”

This is bad. The assasin is a killer, not a hero.

“The most ironic aspect to this story is the fact that his wife screamed when she saw him in the back of the church after he’d been shot.”

This is not ironic. Whatever his faults it’s no stretch to think he loved his wife and kids and that they would be shocked and horrified that he died. Bad comment.

Artie June 2, 2009 at 10:50 am

Phil it is merely interesting in that everybody has different opinions in regards to the situation. A good friend of mine put this case in proper perspective which I believe needs to be looked at once again. We can argue about who said what, but the point is the reality of the situation.

In the words of a good friend…

“While I certainly do not condone or approve of his death (as the killer just stooped down to his level and tried to correct a wrong with another wrong), I can certainly understand the anger / disgust / wrath that is associated with the deaths of the innocent. I find it to be terrible; and even worse, how our society just ‘accepts’ it. My family is more concerned with how much gas prices are than the deaths of millions in their own backyard. I’m frustrated that everyone just turns a blind eye as if it doesn’t exist. I can see how that type of uncontrolled anger could easily lead to such violence. In that guy’s tormented mind, he’s thinking: “Kill one, save thousands”. Problem is: You’re not allowed to even take that one.”

Was he actually killing human beings, or just killing living tissue, organs, and so forth that are capable of becoming human beings. Of course, we say they’re human from the very first moment: It’s not a dog that’s growing in the womb, not a duck, but a human.

Artie June 2, 2009 at 10:51 am

He further states and I agree 100% that…

“However, Mr. Tiller was conducting very late term abortions – so I would hope that even the most skeptical critics on the left would agree that a child so late in the pregnancy is certainly “human”. (Sadly, I know that’s not the case). Nevertheless, I think it’s a non-issue. Case closed. I think the title of the blog holds true, regardless.”

pinko June 2, 2009 at 10:54 am

Some of you are genuinely starting to sound scary. First of all, comparing anyone to Hitler is veering over onto the ridiculous side. Keep in mind your point goes out the window when you do such. Secondly, you call this man a ‘hero’ – and I don’t know what moral system is guiding you, but no, I don’t think walking into a church service and murdering a man can ever be heroic, even if that man is, for the benefit of those who’d prefer the most extreme example possible, Hitler. Thirdly, if you want to play the “extreme analogy” game, you must see that a man who takes up violent, murderous arms to further a political/religious cause through terror is not much different from the guys who flew a plane into the world trade center, and you wouldn’t defend those guys, would you?

Please, guys read this article:
And then take a deep breath. A murder in a church is just good old-fashioned Old Testament justice? You honestly don’t sound very Christ-like today.

Madison June 2, 2009 at 11:04 am

“Can’t believe that you are treating Hitler like you would a drug addict by implying that he was ‘enabled’ to murder 6 million by folks that tolerated his actions. Wow. Will wonders never cease.”

Phil. You really think that this one man killed 6 million people without help from people who were too “tolerant” to stop him?

Yes, it all began with one man’s intolerance… but guess what? You will never live in a world where everyone is happy-go-lucky, 100% tolerant of everyone else. Welcome to the real world.

Everyone, no matter what they say, has a bias. Some may never act on it, but they have one nonetheless.

Someone has to stand up and stop them when they act inappropriately. I am by no means condoning the killing of Dr. Tiller, but something had to be done to stop the murder of innocent children.

Most of us were choosing to wait for the day that a vote finally passes to make abortions illegal. One man took it into his own hands to act just as inappropriately as the man he decided to kill. He may have had good intentions, but it was still wrong.

What isn’t wrong, however, is intolerance of evil.

Paul Nichols June 2, 2009 at 11:10 am

This type of discussion came up many years ago on an old Catholic discussion board.

My question was this – based on the fact that God has, in the past, ordered someone to carry out His vengeance (Amalekites) – are we so certain that He wouldn’t order this today? Most, if not all, on that old discussion board stated that God would NEVER do something like that today. But how can anyone be so certain that He wouldn’t?

Now, I don’t know anything about this character who shot Tiller, so I can’t & won’t say that he was guided by God. Let’s not jump the gun and say that I’m providing cover for the shooter.

My question is more of an in-general type of thing.

And as for being “Christ-like”, I’d have to wonder what type of cleansing He would do in the Temple if those in the Temple were baby killers. He drove the money-changers out with a whip. Would He do worse if they were abortionists?

Mike June 2, 2009 at 1:13 pm

I don’t think we can say it enough! Tiller was a mass murderer! Responsible for the death of of over 60,000 human beings! He was on a par with Dr. Mengele. He was a sadist who delighted in the death of unborn children. He purposely piled up corpses to be burnt in mass at his on site crematory, so as to dishearten the pro-life protesters. The smell of burning human flesh and black ash reigned on them! To me, he was the living personification of evil, a true devil in the flesh. To me it is irrelevant why, who, how or where he was killed. It doesn’t change the fact that he was a tool of Satan who worked tirelessly to feed his masters altar with human sacrifice. What does this say about the fellow members of his church? That they allowed such a demon in their midst! What does it say about us as a nation? That we allow the wholesale slaughter of little pre-born babes, over 50,000,000 and counting! The evil of abortion must end even if it takes a Civil War to accomplish that fact! If God is with us, who can be against us!

pinko June 2, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Mike, Paul, others: you need to step back for a second and listen to yourselves. You are too close to this issue, so let me change it up for a second:
I truly believe, if we do not do something drastic soon, that climate change and other environmental disasters will begin to kill hundreds of thousands of people across the globe. The worse it gets, the worse condition our planet will get. I also believe, because of numerous actions and statements, that Exxon Mobil and it’s CEO are not only dangerously indifferent, but actually in some cases actively deceiving the public and making globally-harmful decisions in order to profit.
But would I advocate his murder? Not in a million years! Whether you agree or disagree with my position, surely you agree that murdering him is wrong. And let’s say you disagree with my opinion (that Exxon is harming the planet on a large scale) – if I murdered the CEO, or even advocated such, or even advocated someone doing something drastic against him – would that help you agree with me more or would it push you away?
You’ve tricked yourself into thinking that the world is some giant exciting battle of angels vs. devils and that a story about Jesus whipping money changers negates all of his teachings and also allows us to assume that he (and further we) have the right, perhaps duty, to kill those who we judge are working against god.
This rage does no one any good, and you’re headed down a dangerous path. I suggest you go speak with your priest.

Paul Nichols June 2, 2009 at 3:00 pm


As John McEnroe would say “You can’t be serious!”

I don’t even know where to begin. Climate change? Hundreds of Thousands dead?

But even if it were so – killing one person at Exxon wouldn’t stop what you claim is rampant and purposeful destruction of the earth. You’d have to kill everyone there! And then you’d have to find the slugs over at Shell, and BP, and work your way down to all the other fuel companies out there.

Rage? I don’t feel rage. I feel a resigned acceptance of the way things are in America. All I can hope for is that people change their minds on the abortion question. Would I go out and shoot someone? Never. Actually, maybe – but I’d have to get explicit orders from God – in triplicate, with copies for my attorney – and then I’d have get it verified by a third party, like maybe the Pope.

Then? Sure. Til then? No way. But that’s me. :oD

Artie June 2, 2009 at 4:06 pm

Pinko you posed a fundamental question you asked, “But would I advocate his murder? Not in a million years!”

If you are for abortion you advocate murder in certain circumstances.

pinko June 2, 2009 at 5:14 pm

“You’d have to kill everyone there! ”
Well, yes. That was part of the point. 50% of the population of the US does not agree with you, so even if the public enemy number one abortion guy goes down, nothing has really been accomplished. And more than anything, I think the fervor over his murder does more to hurt your cause than help it.
sidenote: I don’t really take any issue with Matt’s initial post. I personally wouldn’t have called him Tiller the Killer, either, but this aint my blog. I don’t find the nickname in itself particularly inflammatory. Calling for a second civil war, however, is a different story.

“If you are for abortion you advocate murder in certain circumstances.”
Again we jump off the rails for some reason. I didn’t advocate abortion or murder in the least…

Mike June 2, 2009 at 5:35 pm

Who said anything about advocating murder? I’m just trying to keep the focus where it belongs. Tiller was a MASS MURDERER! His hands were instruments of torture and death to over 60,000 pre-born children. Live by the sword and you will die by the sword! How hard is that to understand? Over 50,000,000 abortions in the U.S. alone since 1973. If you throw in the # of chemical abortions caused by the pill, well, only God knows that number! Life begins at the very moment of conception, a unique and unrepeatable human being is created and infused with an immortal soul, a soul made in the very image and likeness of the living God! There is no greater issue of our time. Advances in science have made us more aware than any generation in the past about the beginning stages of life, doesn’t that also transmute a greater responsibility to act and put an end to this barbaric practice?

Artie June 2, 2009 at 6:20 pm

——“If you are for abortion you advocate murder in certain circumstances.”
Again we jump off the rails for some reason. I didn’t advocate abortion or murder in the least…———

Hence the reason I used the world “If”.

Blaise June 2, 2009 at 7:51 pm


First you called me a fanatic and then you said “The “little ones” are being led astray.” Hmmm. Correct me please if I’m wrong, but the “little ones” are being led to slaughter houses and murdered, and when someone has the courage to defend them and stop the killing of these “innocent ones” today-not tommorrow- you call them radical nut cases. Is not capitol punishment administered as justice, but also as a means to protect society? Was Tiller’s assailant doing anything less (than capitol punishment) when he shot a man who would, on the next day, with all certainty, go back to his bloody work?

You never responded to the analogy of a known murderer in a backyard next to your house attempting to murder more children. Do you come to the childrens’ defense by shooting him or let him continue with his dirty work. I’m afraid that, in your illogical way, think singing cumbaya, holding hands, and talking nicely about abortionists will lead to an end to abortion.

Can you not at least understand the rationale for what that man did? If a person pointed a gun at Obama’s head and someone else shot and killed the potential assailant before any harm could be done to President Obama, liberals (and probably you too) would rejoice that someone didn’t hesitate to step to his defense. But in this very similar case, the person who steps up to defend life is considered a bane on society.
Public perception of the pro-life movement is not going to immediately save babies today

pinko June 2, 2009 at 10:27 pm

Will any of you read this: http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/feature/2009/06/01/late_term_abortion/
and comment?

I know you stand firm that abortion is wrong in all circumstances. But can we agree that abortion is different than murder? Ask yourself this:
Do you think that the women who went to Dr. Tiller should be in prison right now?
And then: if a mother took her five year old to a hitman, should that mother go to jail?

You don’t see any difference, honestly?

Artie June 2, 2009 at 10:56 pm

As my year and half old daughter lays on my chest sleeping. The question doesn’t make sense.

The real question is “Is murder outside the womb, different from murder inside the woman?”

Ending a human life is ending a human life, period.

The approach you bring takes nothing away from the biological fact that abortion destroys a human life, nor from the moral fact that the life taken is of the same value as any born person.

The difference is that one is considered legal, while the other is not.

I see this argument posed different ways numerous times (women being locked up for abortion). The reality is the abortionist should be the one put in prison not the woman. The left side of the aisle uses this to make the pro-life movement appear to be anti-women. The fact of the matter is that to be pro-life is to be pro-woman. We don’t say love the baby and forget about the mother. Rather, we ask, Why can’t we love them both?

Whether abortion is legal or illegal this statement remains true. We are not about punishing the woman we are wanting to stop the child killing.

How would throwing a women in jail accomplish that goal? It makes no logical sense. It only makes sense to those who want to spin the argument to making pro life people anti-women. As a Catholic… Having Mary as somebody who we highly respect is very pro women, and I know our Lady is pro women as well.

Artie June 2, 2009 at 11:08 pm

Another interesting point to think about… Consider how the law approaches killing of people outside the womb. Correct me if I am wrong but murder is not the same as homicide, right? Take it a step further… it is not the same as manslaughter either… right?

There are multiple factors taken into account in each case… such as (ignorance, premeditation,negligence, self-defense, and the list may go on)

This is taken into account how much responsibility the person had out of fairness.

What about the words of a mother who aborted her child and did not really realize what she did…

In the case of abortion out of all the other forms of killing, abortion is done out of pressure and ignorance. If we were wanting to start persecuting women, we would actually be persecuting those around her (parents, friends, *boyfriends*).

Places like Rachel’s Vineyard is a ministry of healing… not punishment… You want to see the pro life movement in its purest form… Go to a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat one weekend and tell me that is not a beautiful thing to see healing take place.

Bring them to the fountain of forgiveness which is found in Christ.

Mike June 3, 2009 at 12:21 am


I went to the link you suggested and read the entire article and found it pathetic.
Abortion is murder. Tiller was a MASS MURDERER! Responsible for the MURDER of 60,000 pre-born children. That is the truth. That is how God sees it. That is how we should see it. MURDER. The Church has attached the penalty of automatic excommunication for formal cooperation in an abortion. I think this should explain what penalty is appropriate for a woman who chooses to have her child murdered. Every procured abortion is EVIL in and of it self. It can NEVER be justified.

Phil June 3, 2009 at 12:21 am


Excellent read…

Enter intrinsic evil argument — stage right.

It doesn’t matter that some abortions do more good than harm – that logic only works with non-
intrinsically evil murders like capital punishment!

Sorry, couldn’t resist. In all seriousness, that was a sad but interesting article. Certainly made me stop and think about a few situations I have never really considered…

Cindy June 3, 2009 at 8:03 am

In all instances I find it best to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church. Abortion is a sin. Cold-blooded murder is a sin. The death penalty is a grave moral evil and should not be utilized. Love your neighbor as yourself. Exercise prudence in action and speech.

Matthew Warner June 3, 2009 at 8:22 am

It doesn’t matter that some abortions do more good than harm

Phil – two questions:

Can you give me some instances where killing an innocent human being does “more good than harm”?

Can you give me one instance where directly killing an innocent human being is justified at all?

pinko June 3, 2009 at 8:37 am

Artie, that’s my problem with your argument: you think these women only do this because someone pressured them into it. And therefore the woman is not to blame. But you don’t answer if you think a woman who takes her 5 year old to a hitman should be put in jail (the answer is obviously yes).

I’m not arguing (I don’t even really know how I got back into this…) against the pro-life movement or saying I don’t think there’s any healing involved. I’m simply saying: running around screaming MASS MURDERER! or calling for violent retribution or dodging related ethical questions because they’re uncomfortable hurts your cause, way more than any of you are aware.

Think about it this way: I’m asked to align myself with either (hypothetical) Mike or a 18 yr old black girl who recently had an abortion. Now I have much more in common with Mike – he’s white like me, around my age, and raised in the same church. So it seems like an obvious choice. The girl says ‘they told me my baby was going to suffer in its short life, it was the hardest decision i ever made’ and Mike goes ‘That’s pathetic. That baby was MURDERED. The doctor who did it was working with Satan and the world would be better if he were shot. Come with me and we’ll start the healing process.’ Now what have you given me or the girl to go on? Why wouldn’t I just say, ‘Mike, you don’t seem to have a firm grip on reality?’

Phil June 3, 2009 at 11:16 am

[Can you give me some instances where killing an innocent human being does “more good than harm”?]
A: Sure. Start by removing the word innocent from you question. Now we are objectively looking at life.

Here is an example cited in the article:

Gloria Gonzalez, who learned that the twins she was carrying were gravely ill and threatening her own health. “As a Christian and a married woman who desperately wanted a child, I’d never given much thought to abortion. Like many others, I assumed that only women with unwanted pregnancies had the procedure.” Yet after she and her husband consulted with several doctors and their pastor, “We knew what we had to do. Letting the girls die on their own didn’t seem like an option, because we believed they were suffering while endangering my own health.”

Here is another:
A commenter at the blog Balloon Juice told the story of finding out in the eighth month of his wife’s pregnancy that she was carrying conjoined twins. “Conjoined twins alone is not what was so difficult but the way they were joined meant that at best only one child would survive the surgery to separate them and the survivor would more than likely live a brief and painful life filled with surgery and organ transplants.” They chose to terminate the much-wanted pregnancy, rather than bring a child into the world only to suffer and die”

Both of these examples, in my opinion, do more good than harm.

Phil June 3, 2009 at 11:23 am

In example 1, after consulting with a doctor, it becomes evident that both babies are ill and the Mother’s life is in jeopardy. Abortion in this case is net + life in my opinion. Because of abortion, in this case, not only will the Mother survive, she may now potentially attempt to bring children into this world again.

In example 2, this is a tough one. If a doctor told me that both of my children would likely die, and the one that survived initally would endure great pain and suffering, it is my belief that abortion would do more harm than good. But I believe in the right to die also so that may be another debate.

Phil June 3, 2009 at 11:37 am

Sorry, my example two should read “more good than harm”…I just don’t think I could bring a child into this world if a doctor assured me that a) he would suffer and b)he would proabably die.

Really, it’s not the fact that the odds are the baby would die that would make me consider abortion – it’s more about the suffering. I can’t imagine having to decide whether or not to bring a baby into this world knowing that there was a strong potential of suffering. What a devastating decision to have to make.

Matthew Warner June 3, 2009 at 11:47 am

Phil, thanks for your response.

First, “innocent” IS an objective distinction, by the way. But you used innocent life in your example anyway, so that works.

Here are my thoughts:

Example 2 first: If you support a right to die (which is indeed another discussion for another time) certainly you would support the right also to “choose” that end for yourself…and not have somebody else choose it for you? Further, we are not discussing somebody simply dying (which is a morally neutral act in itself), we’re talking about intentionally and willfully ending the life of somebody that has done nothing wrong.

Example 1: you are using a type of Consequentialism to justify killing an innocent human being. In other words, because the consequence is a “net life” therefore we can justify killing some other innocent life. This is a dangerous type of morality. If you are being even slightly consistent it would seem that you would agree with the killing of Tiller then also. After all, there is no question that his death will result in a “net life”. And that same reasoning you are using could be abused (and is by many on both sides) to try and justify immoral acts (like murder).

But I think we can agree that there are some things that should never be justified no matter how good the consequences may be.

Which is why I asked the second question (which you didn’t answer yet). It asks if it is ever “justified” (and goes further than simply whether there is more or less harm or good)?

Phil June 3, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Matt, we will not agree on this issue for the simple fact that, from a moral perspective, as backwards as you may think it sounds, I would probably choose to abort a baby who was given a near zero chance of life and a strong probability of pain and suffering.

From a moral perspective, a human perspective, I feel it is less human to bring a baby into this world when suffering and death are likely than the alternative. Obviously I would need to weigh in on odds of suffering, death, etc.

I understand your argument will be how can murder be more moral than life? that is just my opinion and I feel strongly abaout it. getting back to your point in example 2 about right to choose – the problem here is that the baby can not speak for itself. Just as this is an issue for anti-abort it is also an issue for pro-abort. Perhaps if a baby could speak he or she would be adimently against pain and suffering. So in this instance, I feel it is up to the parent to decide for baby…and my decision would be based on a prognosis of life expectancy — but more importantly to me — on pain and suffering.

On point two, Matt, I’m not speaking about killing innocent life. I am speaking about risk. If the odds of my twins dying are quite high (as in this example), and Mother’s life was not threatened, you have the children (assuming that pian and suffering is not an issue). However, if the odds of my twins dying are high, AND there is a high risk of mother dying, then you abort to save Mother

Phil June 3, 2009 at 12:11 pm

I don’t make a habit of speaking in net life terms – that’s your habit. We you and I speak of comparing abortion to captial punishemnt, etc. it’s always about the gravity of life lost and net life 9which is your argument as to why the two are not comparible). I was only trying to give you an example that you would understand in your terms.

Personally, I really don’t believe in net life arguments. I believe in making the best moral decision you can, instance by instance. Which is why I don’t stand stand zero-tolerance against anything really — I would rather review each situation subjectively and then decide. As you know, I believe that some decisions on abortion do more good than harm (less than 1% probably). But I would rather be in a position to review each one rather than make a blanket net life arguement that make discount a specific case where a woman must birth her twins, both die, and she dies as a result.

But I do respect the zero-tolerance anti-abortion argument. I just can’t override my respect for certain situations where pain and suffering, and common sense may do more good than harm, despite being an intrinsic evil.

Intrinsic eveil…that is an interesting one. Surely the church must know that some abortions have actually saved lives. How can something be intrinsically evil when it may, in some rares instances, actually preserve life? Another topic perhaps…

Matthew Warner June 3, 2009 at 12:33 pm

Phil, you say you really don’t believe in a “net life” argument…but then almost every point you make is based on it. Killing an innocent baby to perhaps “save” the life of a mother is a net life argument…and one where you’ve determined that one person’s life is worth more than another.

Some acts are never justified and are intrinsically evil. Whether or not something is intrinsically evil or not has nothing to do with the consequences of the action (like in rare instances preserving life). That’s precisely what makes it “intrinsic.” They are acts that are always wrong regardless of the consequences. Murder, abortion, adultery, rape, etc are all such acts.

Every abortion, by it’s definition, ends a human life. That is the opposite of preserving life?

So you say you just want to relativistically decide what is right and wrong on your own in each situation, I guess I’m trying to find what principle is guiding you as you do so?

You are saying sometimes it IS justified to directly kill an innocent human being, and other times it isn’t. What decides when it’s ok and when it isn’t? So far you’ve made “net life”, Consequentialist arguments as to how you decide. But now you’re saying you don’t do that. Help me out here.

Mike June 3, 2009 at 12:47 pm


I never called for the murder of the mass murderer. Tiller reaped the fruits of his labor, he sowed evil plain and simple. His diabolic deeds are what should be on trail. You never seem to address the fact that he was directly responsible for the murder of over 60,000 human beings. Do you believe that life begins at conception? Do you believe that at the moment of conception God creates and infuses an immortal soul into the body? Is it my absolute certainty about Gods will on this issue that disturbs you? Is it that I see the world in black or white as opposed to your view? Murder is always wrong! The death penalty is not always murder, Killing in war is not always murder but abortion is ALWAYS murder! Why? Why is this an absolute truth? Do you not believe in absolutes? Abortion of any kind will one day cease to be legal in this country! How’s that for an absolute.

Phil June 3, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Matt, I guess my guiding principles would be science, common sense (rationale), emphathy, etc. (I am not implying that you do not also, just answering your question)

I would rather look at probability and severity of potential pain and suffering, probability of life/death for mother and babies, etc. and make the best decision based on that.

To further illustrate, I’ll give you three examples:

1. Doctor says that probability of baby dying is 99% and mother dying is 90% if she does not abort, evidence would point me strongly in favor of aborting.

2. Doctor says that probability of baby dying is 25% and mother dying is 25% if she does not abort, evidence would point me strongly in favor of not aborting.

3. Doctor says that probability of baby dying is 75% but there could be great suffering…I honestly wouldn’t know the answer without hours and hours of personal thought.

My point being with the above, there are certain instances where pain and suffering, odds of life, etc. would shape my decisions rather than a zero tolerance, objective approach.

Mike June 3, 2009 at 1:00 pm


A couple quick questions.
You mention pain and suffering quite a bit. Why is pain and suffering a bad thing?
What if we could communicate with the unborn infant in the womb and ask him if he wanted his mother to abort him, what do you think would be his response?

Matthew Warner June 3, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Phil – still trying to get the guiding principles for making such decisions. If they are principles then we should be able to apply them to other situations, too.

So far it seems that you are going with whatever estimated probability gives the most “net life” (within which you are also including your subjective determination of somebody else’s quality of life).

Is that the principle then?

Phil June 3, 2009 at 1:12 pm


Good question. Honestly, I don’t know what the infant would say. Pain and suffering is much more easily discussed than lived I imagine.

We may already have our answer. Some people who are terminally ill choose to die. The pain and suffering becomes a greater force than their will to live.

You could argue that babies have not lived a full life yet, they may not choose the same as someone who is terminally ill. Well, what if you communicated to this baby that his/her odds of survival after all this pain and suffering was 5%? What if baby’s odds were 50%?

This is why, in my opinion, the decision is subjective. We, as living breathing parents, can make rational decisions for our children when they can not speak on their own behalf. Some folks have probably refused to abort and have watched their baby suffer for months only to die in the end anyways. They may regret all the suffering they caused their baby. Others rejoice as their baby perhaps suffers for months, but pulls through.

Each example is unique. Each example (in this 1% only) should be under the subjective decision making abilities of parents and doctor, rather than a mandate which forces a parent to watch his spouse die, or his baby suffer great pain. Just my opinion.

Phil June 3, 2009 at 1:25 pm

Matt, I already gave them to you. I don’t use principles as you use them. I don’t think that issues are always white and black. You have structured your principles based on absolute right and wrong, almost like the principles of say physics. There is no in between with your principles. Your principles are based fundementals like whether or not something is intrisically evil or good. Entirely objective.

My principles are not based on laws, black and white, if I am 100% right you must therfore be 100% wrong. I think there is some middle ground on most issues.

Some abortions do more good than harm, some wars do more good than harm, some capital murderers do more good than harm, etc.

Some abortions do no good. Some wars do no good. Some captial murders do no good, etc.

I will never stand on a wall and say objectively that each of these issues is a zero tolerance issue.

Matthew Warner June 3, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Phil – no, you didn’t actually.

Principle: something established as a standard or test, for measuring, regulating, or guiding conduct or practice.

I’m asking what principle or guide you use to determine whether or not an abortion, a war, or a capital murder is good or bad? The principle is something other than the situation itself. And yes the situation may be black, white, or gray.

Common sense is not a principle. And science is a tool, but science itself is amoral and can not tell us what is “good” or “bad” in a moral sense…which is what this conversation is about – morality. Perhaps empathy is a tool as well, but it is not a principle for discerning what is moral. At least I hope not!

I’m not asking you to stand on a wall. I’m not asking to adopt “zero tolerance.” I’m just asking for your guiding principle so we can know where you’re coming from. And so far your logic has been utilitarian and Consequentialist (what brings about the best consequences, net life, etc.).

Mike June 3, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Would you agree that self preservation is a natural human instinct? Therefore couldn’t we assume that the natural instinct of the baby would be to preserve it self? Could you imagine the betrayal a child might feel as he was being ripped apart at the request of his mother? What if the baby had a defensive action that caused death to the abortionist? Would not that be 100% acceptable? When would it not be acceptable to protect yourself from being murdered?
Absolutes exist, if you or I choose not to believe in them it doesn’t change that fact. Heaven and Hell, you can deny the existence all you want, but the fact remains that it is God’s reality and in the end it’s all that counts!

Blaise June 3, 2009 at 5:06 pm

Cindy, The Catholic Church doesn’t teach, nor has it ever officially taught, that the death penalty is immoral (In fact, St. Thomas Aquinas spoke in favor of it. Many popes spoke in favor of it). There have been no ex cathedra or official Church teachings condemning the death penalty and it is certainly not a “grave moral evil” as you state- particularly by the Church’s standards. In fact, Jesus, himself, had an opportunity to condemn it, when the good thief said “. . . we deserve to be up here, but you don’t. . . ” Jesus didn’t say “No you don’t deserve to be up there.”

Could I pull the lever to electrecute a mass murderer? No. Would I shoot the abortionist (mass murderer)? No. But is it immoral for some few to defend other human life? I think- Yes. Now, I can’t presume to know The intentions or disposition of the man who shot Tiller, but I can certainly see where it might not be called “cold-blooded murder” and not be a grave sin as you say; no more than the person who pulls the lever to end the dangerous life of a persistent mass-murderer. Killing someone in self defense or defense of your neighbor should not be called de facto “cold-blooded murder.” And isn’t defending your neighbor, loving your neighbor as yourself?

Cindy June 3, 2009 at 6:09 pm

Gosh, yer right. I’m gonna go hunt me some baby-killers. Once the blood lust gets to flowin’ I’m gonna start clamorin’ to reinstate the death pen’lty right here in Ioway and take this here country back to the good ole days when we rounded up a posse and took matters of vengence, I mean justice, into our own hands.

Frankly, all of you who are willing to dispense with rule of law should consider what that would mean to society.

Greg June 3, 2009 at 6:12 pm

Was Pope Gregory XIII pro-life or anti-life when he called for the Assassination of Queen Elizabeth, Dec 12th, 1580

“Since that guilty woman of England rules over two such noble Kingdoms of Christendom, and is the cause of so much injury to the catholic faith, and loss of so many souls, there is no doubt that whosoever sends her out of the world with the pious intention of doing God service, not only does not sin but gains merit, especially having regard to the sentence pronounced against her by Pius V of holy memory. And so, if those English nobles decide actually to undertake so glorious a work, your Lordship can assure them that they do not commit any sin. We trust in God also that they will escape danger. As far as concerns your Lordship, in case you have incurred any irregularity, the Pope bestows on you his holy benediction.”

If murder is NEVER justified then how did this Pope sanction regicide?

Heat of the moment thing, or do you think he gave it some serious thought and discussed it with a few moral theologians there in Rome before speaking?

Phil June 3, 2009 at 6:19 pm

Murder is wrong, stealing is wrong, love thy neighbor, etc. etc. etc.

Those are some of my guiding principles. Not a whole lot of difference between you and me.

Main difference is that your guiding principles are based on absolute objectivity. Mine are not. You speak of your principles using words like zero tolerance, intrinsic, primary and secondary, etc. I do not.

Let’s discuss murder. We can agree that murder is wrong. But some will say that all murder is not wrong. Capitol punishment is acceptable murder. So it’s important to point out that there is acceptable murder and then there is evil murder. Murder is subjective. Thus, one’s principles on murder should handled subjectively also. Just because your guiding principle is ‘murder is evil’ does not mean one can’t look at some murders as acceptable, I suppose.

Now I don’t think that murderers should be murdered. That is murder out of vengeance IMO. JP2 talks about my feelings. The death penalty is a crock. People try to pass it off as a way to keep people safe. But any murderer who has done wrong enough to get the death penalty would have a 0 chance of ever escaping, ie. is really no harm to society. So let’s call the death penalty what it really is – vengeance. Vengeance for the families, for society. That’s bad murder. But others ‘principles’ on murder would lead them down a different path to a different decision.

Phil June 3, 2009 at 6:20 pm

No let’s speak of abortion. Abortion is also murder. 99% of abortions are evil murders. Murders out of convenience, out of fear, out of carelessness, etc. none of those murders can serve a good purpose. Those are all evil murders. Agree there.

However, 1% of abortions are to save a live or to prevent tremendous suffering, both of which I believe are acceptable reasons to abort. 1% of woman may carry a terminally ill child who is certain to die, with a high probability that the mother may die as well. Do my principles still tell me that murder is evil? Absolutely. Can I look at murder subjectively and still remain principled? Absolutely. I have many principles. Sometimes bending on one of my principles (murder is evil) leads me firmer on another principle (empathy is good). Another thing: just because my principles are not listed in your book doesn’t mean they are not guiding me in my life. We should help each other. We should empathize with each other. These ARE some of my principles.

Back to abortion. Maybe you are right. I guess I do consider the net life effect. But there is nothing wrong with that logic. Doctors have been doing it for years. When 2 patients come into the ER, and one of them is certain to die, and the other will likely live if he/she gets immediate attention, which would the doctor choose to assist? That’s not the same as murder you say – another place where you and I differ. Allowing someone to die is just as immoral as murder.

Phil June 3, 2009 at 6:20 pm

That is what my guiding principles tell me is right. Yours will be different. You look at yours objectively, much more literally. I do not.

So perhaps I do think of net life when coming to conclusions on intimate situations, why not. With advance knowledge, should my terminally ill child be ‘principled’ into this world to suffer and die? No. Should my wife be ‘principled’ into birthing two terminally ill twins when it decreases her odds of survival by 90%? No.

But I certainly do not consider net life in such a manner as you would suggest, such as saying Tiller should be killed to save lives, etc. That’s where the silly talk begins. Just as I don’t say that mass murders should be murdered after they are caught to save lives.

And it’s no slippery slope either. That is the whole reason why you need your principles to guide you – to avoid all those slippery slopes.

Perhaps my guiding principles are not objective enough. Perhaps I need to be firmer on my principles. But perhaps others need to be less firm on theirs. I choose to look at things more subjectively. While this may lead me to drift away from some of my principles (not all murder is evil), at the same time it brings me closer to other principles (we must empathize).

Stealing is evil. But stealing to feed your starving child is good – an example of drifting away from one principle but towards another.

Greg June 3, 2009 at 6:35 pm

But Gregory XIII wasn’t sanctioning capital punishment and I am not sure that the Church had that power anyway. Excommunication perhaps, but not capital punishement.

He was sanctioning the assassination of the monarch by any random English Catholic who chose to carry out the Pope’s request. That is vigilantism by any modern definition of that word.

Mike June 4, 2009 at 9:59 am

I think you are confusing killing with murder. When I go to war and the enemy is lobbing grenades at me or trying to snipe me and I end his life, am I guilty of murder? No! I have committed no sin. I have taken a life to save more lives. I would suggest reading the CCC to get the real cogent explanation in full, direct from the source. Yes, there are different levels of culpability in all sins. But, Why haven’t you address the fact that Tiller had the blood of 60,000 pre-born children on his hands? In no way am I suggesting that the man who murdered Tiller was completely justified in what he did. I am just saying that he lived by the sword and met with a very predictable end. The pro-life movement had nothing to do with his death, however, I do rejoice in the fact that his clinic is closed and he will never murder another baby again! Is that wrong that I look at it that way?

Matthew Warner June 4, 2009 at 11:15 am

Allowing someone to die is just as immoral as murder.

That is absolutely untrue.

Phil – do you honestly not see the moral difference between the following:

1) embracing the life of a possibly terminally ill baby, accepting her as she is born, comforting her, trying to deal with her pain as best as possible, working for whatever small chance there is for survival, and loving her for whatever life she is gifted with before she dies…and

2) a doctor sticking a pair of forceps into a mother’s womb and tearing a baby limb from limb until the baby dies?

You are honestly supporting option 2 as somehow justified and morally equivalent to option 1?

Phil June 4, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Matt, do you support right to die?

If your answer is no, all further arguements on the point are moot.

Artie June 4, 2009 at 12:32 pm

I distanced myself from this conversation for 2 reasons.

1. No matter what case I present to the table, it will be misunderstood or simply we really do not agree.

2. I always go to the Church for answers like this, because the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit and has much more wisdom then I ever would on the issues, even if I feel the Church is wrong.

I recommend the Catechism of the Catholic Church in its proper context plus going to the National Catholic Bioethics website to understand the Church’s teaching.

I will put it this way… I simply stand where the church stands, if you disagree with the Church’s decision… you disagree with mine as well.

Artie June 4, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Phil… the right to die or the right to murder/kill?

I think what Matthew is saying is that he follows what the Church teaches in these circumstances and that we have no right to play God on end of life issues.

Phil June 4, 2009 at 3:36 pm

Matt, actually I gave you a bad example. Let me provide you with another.

Let’s say Bob (age 25) is power of attorney on his Father (age 47). Should there be some sort of accident, Bob is now the decision maker for his Father. It is therefore his responsibilty to determine, dependant on the odds of survival, pain and suffering, etc. whether or not to keep his Father alive in the event taht his Father can not make the decision for him. His Father gives him the instructions to use his better judgement.

A bad accident occurs. The doctor gives his Father a 90% chance of death should Bob decide to keep him alive. The doctor also indicates that there would be much pain and suffering for his father. Should Bob be required by law to keep his Father alive?

Now the example is a bit different than a baby who is deemed to be terminally ill, will undergo substantial pain and suffering, etc. I will concede that the situations are different. Bob’s father may have already lived a worthwhile life and his decision may in some ways be reflected in this. An unborn baby has not selected ‘Bob’ as his Health Power of Attorney – he/she has no choice. We should be able to agree, however, the situations are similar in that both an unborn baby who is terminally ill and Bob’s father who is also terminally ill, can not make a decision for themself. Given that, someone must decide for them.

Phil June 4, 2009 at 4:35 pm

Neither unborn baby or Bob’s father knew ahead of time that an accident would occur that would leave them as 90% terminally ill with pain and suffering. So the question is, given that we would most likely pull the plug on Bob’s father out of an act of love for Bob’s father and nothing else, why can the same act of love not be done on an unborn baby?

If the only real difference here is that the baby did not asign the parent as a power of attorney, but that argument doesn’t hold water IMO because if a developing baby could communicate it would most likely agree to the same terms that Bob’s father would agree to (IMO), i.e. that either parent can make a rational decision for him/her when in need.

And to cite that well this case is murder is moot -what I speak of is doing an act of love for baby and for bob’s father. In some cases, i.e. right to die etc. some poeple would choose murder or pulling the plug (equivical in my eyes) over living a painful, terminally ill life.

The whole point is that we get overly wrapped up in the word murder here in this instance, so much so that we are willing to let our baby suffer immense pain and then probable death because we can’t get past the fact that the alternative may actually be a far greater act of love than letting one suffer. I for one, if put int he position to decide for my father or my baby, would not let my Father or my baby suffer in under these circumstances.

Matthew Warner June 4, 2009 at 4:46 pm

Phil, as artie pointed out. The “right to die” (if one even exists) is something entirely different than the right to kill somebody else.

We are not talking about simply allowing somebody to die who has had something out of our control happen to them and we are now keeping them alive by artificial means (such as a breathing machine). In this case nature or accident or some other means is the killer. We do what we can to save the person (pro-life) within reasonable means.

Here, we are talking about an abortion. Where a baby that is still living (even though he/she may be suffering from other things out of our control or may die naturally in the future) has it’s life ended by US. In this case WE are the killers.

That is the moral difference between the two. And it’s the entire difference in terms of morality. In one, nature or some other outside entity is the KILLER. In the other (abortion) WE are the killers. And we have no right to KILL some other innocent person.

In one, perhaps a family decides that we should no longer keep grandma’s body alive by an artificial breathing machine and they allow her to naturally die.

In the other, we take life into our own hands and stick a pair of forceps into a woman and tear a living person that would otherwise continue living into bloody pieces until she dies.

How can the latter be seen as loving? Even a two year old can see the extreme difference between these two acts.

Phil June 4, 2009 at 4:46 pm

My guess is that you do not support “pulling the plug” because that too is murder – it is not natural death. This may be where our principles differ. Whereas you will refuse to commit or ‘assist’ murder out of an act of love, I would.

Pulling the plug on a terminally ill loved, one who does not have the ability to communicate his or her intentions, one who is suffering or will suffer pain, is no different, in my eyes, than pulling the plug on a terminally ill developing baby, who is suffering or will suffer, and who does not have the ability to communicate his or her intentions.

Phil June 4, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Matt, do you think pulling the plug is committing murder? Is pulling the plug not killing Grandma?

Sure, Grandma had a terrible accident. That occured naturally. Didn’t unborn baby have a terrible accident also in developing a terminal illness?

Phil June 4, 2009 at 4:56 pm

And furthermore, what guiding principles would you use to determine if Grandma’s plug should be pulled? Clearly views on murder would have to be bent a bit.

Grandma has a bad natural accident that causes grandma to now be terminally ill and suffering. if you pull the plug YOU are causing her death. The natural accident did not cause her death, it caused her terminal illness. What would you do?

Unborn baby has a natural development accident that causes unborn baby to now be terminally ill and suffering. If you abort the baby YOU are causing baby’s death. The natural deformity did not cause baby’s death, it caused baby’s terminal illness. What would you do?

Phil June 4, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Would a two year old see the difference between these two? This is the scenario I would like to answer for sure. I’d love to hear your guiding principles as well.

1. Grandma has a bad natural accident that causes grandma to now be terminally ill and suffering. if you pull the plug YOU are causing her death. The natural accident did not cause her death, it caused her terminal illness. What would you do?

2. Unborn baby has a natural development accident that causes unborn baby to now be terminally ill and suffering. If you abort the baby YOU are causing baby’s death. The natural deformity did not cause baby’s death, it caused baby’s terminal illness. What would you do?

Matthew Warner June 4, 2009 at 5:26 pm

You’re a little off man.

The cause of death on Grandma’s death certificate would not say “Phil pulled the plug.” It would say cancer, or head injury, or whatever.

The cause of death on Baby’s death cert will say “Ripped to pieces until dead by a doctor” – or the medically sterile term for that.

Not taking ultra extraordinary means to keep somebody artificially alive is very different than CAUSING their death.

Phil June 4, 2009 at 5:46 pm

Fair enough. Might I add, nice touch on the graphic description!

But what is the reason you would not keep grandma alive? And the reason you would keep baby alive? Is it simply because one is murder and the other is not?

Are you telling me you are willing to stop grandma’s suffering but not baby’s because of YOUR a principles? That’s what’s off man. How is that fair to baby and grandma at the same time? Now Grandma gets to rest peacefully while baby suffers!

When all else is equal and both are suffering and you are at the controls. But it seems as if using YOUR principles will lead to someone suffering. This is what I am talking about when I speak of looking at each situation subjectively. Not all situations will provide you with 100% alignment with ALL of your principles.

And let’s cut the crap about graphic descriptions, what the birth cert says, etc. I can give you some graphic descriptions of how awful that terminally ill unborn child would suffer and in which ways but I don’t need to in order to further prove my point!

Artie June 4, 2009 at 6:15 pm

Phil what does the Church teach on the matter?

Phil June 4, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Artie I suppose the church would allow grandma to go peacefully while baby suffers.

Artie, as someone that admittingly struggles with some of what the church advocates, isn’t it plaussable that the church has this one potentally wrong too? Why should baby be forced into suffering while grandma gets to leave in peace? Because of one makes man culpable and the other does not? is that reason enough to allow your unborn child to suffer needlessly?

Do we ever consider the possibility that sometimes the church is wrong?

Has the church ever been wrong before?

Artie June 4, 2009 at 6:46 pm

I struggle with issues, but I do not say the Church is wrong… that is the difference.

***Why should a baby be forced into suffering while grandma gets to leave in peace?***

I asked people to look up bioethics issues at the national catholic bioethics center as they provide great wisdom on the comparison you are *trying* to make.


~~By virtue of our being made one with Christ in Baptism, we can join our suffering to that of Our Savior on the Cross at Calvary and thereby assist in His work of salvation for the entire world. The suffering of illness and dying brings the Catholic a grace-filled opportunity to offer prayer for oneself, for loved ones, and for the whole human race.~~

We could learn much from JPII’s final days.

***Do we ever consider the possibility that sometimes the church is wrong?
Has the church ever been wrong before?***

In regards to faith and morals, no I do not. The Church is infallible in her objective definitive teaching regarding faith and morals. Do not confuse this with believers being infallible in their interpretation of her teaching.

Artie June 4, 2009 at 6:57 pm

I also want to clarify something in my previous post I stated the following,

“2. I always go to the Church for answers like this, because the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit and has much more wisdom then I ever would on the issues, even if I *feel* the Church is wrong.”

This statement, I admit was not written the way I intended..

For example I struggle with Church teaching regarding torture as an intrinsic evil, however this is something I need to read on and pray to the Holy Spirit to teach me why torture is an intrinsic evil.

I am not going to say no Catholic Church founded by Christ guided by the Holy Spirit that you are wrong!

I am not going to pull a Martin Luther and say, “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason, my conscious is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant because acting against ones conscious is neither safe nor sound, here I stand, I can do no other, God help me, Amen.”

It is said that their is a shortage to the priesthood, but not the papacy.

Jill June 4, 2009 at 7:58 pm

Wow. I have been reading the posts and am overwhelmed by the arguments. I have been trying to digest them, but it is so much. Anyway, I would like to add a couple of thoughts that came to mind.
1. Suffering is part of life. To abort a baby to avoid suffering, well, then all of us should have been killed before birth. As Catholic Christians we unite our suffering with Christ as it is a gift to help us reach sanctity. Show me one life without suffering. Now, show me one saint without suffering. Neither exist.

2. The 1% of mother’s that Phil claims to have their lives at risk if they carry the baby to term. The Church does allow for surgery to take place to save the mother, even if it indirectly causes the death of the unborn child; but, NEVER the intentional killing of one life to save another. For example, ectopic pregnancy.

3. The baby’s health at risk is also a weak argument that is being used to kill 90% or more of “Down Syndrom” children in utero. This is one of the most highly misdiagnosed conditions and the test to check for it causes some 10-20% deaths.

Lastly I will give a real life testimony of a mother who was given grave news regarding her first pregnancy. Her health was at risk. The pregnancy was misdiagnosed as molar (meaning fast growing clump of cells) even though a beating heart was present on the sono. Several more misdiagnosis followed. She held firm to her faith and carried the baby to 24 weeks when she became gravely ill. . .

Jill June 4, 2009 at 8:07 pm

with toxemia, gall bladdar attacks and weight loss of down to 85 lbs. Emergency C section occured and she wasn’t able to see the baby for 1 week because her own life was so fragile. The baby weighed 14 ounces. He turns 18 years old next month. He is a living saint that I feel privileged to have as a part of my life. He loves the Sacraments and anything to do with the Mass, Eucharist and God. He prays unceasingly for the dead. There is no telling how many souls this young man has helped from purgatory. This is reality not myth. His life is marked with annual stays in the hospital, nursing care, suffering, round-the-clock care at times and he will be dependent on others for healthcare for his entire life. Yet, he is always joyful, singing praise to God. I have never witnessed him do a single mean thing to anyone else. He can read, have a discussion, walk. His mother went on to have 5 more perfectly healthy children; and she herself recovered completely after his birth.
Phil, you said you would have terminated this type of life diagnosis. You underestimate the power of God. He is All Knowing. I’ll follow Him to the best of my ability, knowing full well that it means “picking up my cross” to do so. It saddens me to know others (those that choose abortion) do so many times because they do not truly know God and the Good News that He wants to share with all.

God Bless!

Artie June 4, 2009 at 8:10 pm


Point number 1 is very well said. Suffering does indeed unite us to Christ.

Point number 2 I agree with whole heartedly. I made this point on another post some where within Fallible Blogma.

Point number 3 I was unaware of the test to check for this caused 10-20% of deaths. I will have to remember this if/when my wife becomes pregnant again. Any information regarding this would be greatly appreciated.

Your last testimony… all I have to say is amazing. Thank you for sharing this story.

Matthew Warner June 5, 2009 at 9:35 am

Thank you all for your thoughts, i know having a conversation like this can be quite the challenge with so many thoughts and hypotheticals being thrown around.

Phil, actually, I invite you to give as many graphic descriptions as you’d like. But I can guarantee you that none of your other graphic descriptions will involve a human directly doing those horrible graphic things to another human being (such as with abortion). Which is the point and the entire moral difference. It’s not the gore or level of suffering that should stick out in my description…it’s the fact that the cause of that gore is directly from another human being intentionally doing it to somebody else. That’s the horror. That’s the immorality.

Your statements are now revealing the weakness with moral relativism – which is what you are…a moral relativist (IMO). It’s not that you don’t follow any principles 100% of the time, it’s just that YOUR principle actually IS itself “taking a few general principles and applying them as YOU subjectively feel they should be applied or not applied.” That’s YOUR principle.

You say things like:

Are you telling me you are willing to stop grandma’s suffering but not baby’s because of YOUR principles? That’s what’s off man. How is that fair to baby and grandma at the same time? Now Grandma gets to rest peacefully while baby suffers!

And now (LOL) you are somehow inferring that it’s not “right” to use MY principles because it doesn’t align with YOUR principle of “limiting suffering.” When in fact I can turn it around and say something similar like “You would actually intentionally KILL a baby just because of YOUR principles?”

See, as a moral relativist, all you are left with is what each of us personally thinks (OUR own principles). You have nothing else. So it’s a bit funny for you to suggest that ME using my principles is somehow inferior to YOU using yours.

Further, you have nothing higher to appeal to…only yourself and what you think. And what you think is no better than what I think because you have no “standard” from which you can make a case that your principles are any better than anyone elses. Which is why moral relativism leads to anything being permissible. And which is why certain aspects of a discussion like this are pointless. Because all a moral relativist can do is debate if his/her principles are better, but there is no way to actually DETERMINE if they are better without a “best” (moral absolutes, God, ultimate good) which they don’t acknowledge.

But the best I can hope for is that you can at least personally see that there is a huge moral difference between these two situations we’ve been talking about.

Matthew Warner June 5, 2009 at 9:38 am

Oh, and “MY principles” are not actually MINE. They come from the natural law…which are reasoned from something outside of myself. And they are not specifically religious.

My principle here is that nobody has the right to intentionally and directly kill another innocent human being. This stems directly from a person’s right to life.

Even our constitution recognizes that every single human has a RIGHT TO LIFE, a “natural” right to life. In other words, we don’t have it simply because the constitution says we do. The constitution merely recognizes this natural right to life that exists for every human whether people or governments want to recognize it or not.

Abortion everywhere and always involves one person intentionally and directly violating the right of another human being’s LIFE. Your other hypothetical situations do not.

Finally, as somebody who believes in God, OUR life is a gift. It is not ours to even take ourselves. We should respect that gift and not intentionally go around ending people’s lives.

Suffering is not the worst thing in the world. Although, i can see how if somebody didn’t believe in God that they may come to that conclusion. However, when we look back on our lives, suffering is often what shaped us and built us up into who we are.

There is immense value in suffering if we are willing to “cash it in.” And we never know how that suffering or hard situation or trial is going to turn out (despite whatever probabilities some doctor or scientist may tell us). So we need to be open to the potential for life…not terminate it the moment it is really hard or it hurts a lot. And we should always respect the right of every human being to have their LIFE.

Phil June 5, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Matt, good posts. Thank you.

Really the primary difference in our beliefs stem from what we consider the greater sin. Ending pain and suffering vs. preserving life.

I agree that suffering can be good. The old saying what doesn’t kill someone only makes them stronger is true. But the difference here is that in the examples I gave the probability of survival is 10%.

Consider a another scenario:

10 babies are terminally ill and they are each given a 10% chance of life after birth by a doctor. Additionally, their short lives will be accompanied by much pain and suffering. 1 of the ten will likley suffer but live while 9 will suffer and die.

You would choose to birth 10. I would choose to abort 10.

That means, in essence, assuming that we can both agree that doctors can properly diagnose, that 9 babies will suffer and die while one will suffer and live.

The primary difference between what we believe has nothing to do with me being a moral relavitist – honestly I don’t even know what that means.

The difference between what we believe is that you hold a greater respect for life with suffering, even if the odds are unfavorable, whereas I believe in less suffering over life, when the odds are great that death will occur.

In other words, I would choose that 9 babies do not suffer and die for one to suffer and live, whereas you believe that 9 babies who suffer and die are worth the chance that 1 would suffer and survive.

Agree to disagree I suppose.

Phil June 5, 2009 at 10:40 pm

And pardon the way I phrased some of what I perceive to be your beliefs. I don’t want what I wrote to be misconstrued.

When I say “Really the primary difference in our beliefs stem from what we consider the greater sin. Ending pain and suffering vs. preserving life.”…I am not implying that the Church considers allowing someone to suffer a sin. The point I am trying to make is that you consider abortion in these terminally ill instances a greater evil than allowing pain and suffering in terminally ill instances, which I consider a greater evil.

And when I say “you believe that 9 babies who suffer and die are worth the chance that 1 would suffer and live” what I am really saying is that you are zero tolerance against abortion in every instance, irrespective of medical prognosis on life, pain and suffering, etc.

Artie June 6, 2009 at 7:12 am

Phil, because you are a brother in Christ we want to help you understand the truth in the teachings of the Church.

I actually take it to heart anytime I find myself in a position of struggling with Church teaching and struggling with it. Perhaps I am a Vatican Robot, ha ha! I want to let you know because I care Phil that we as Catholics need to have Fidelity to Christ’s bride “the Church”.

You and I both need to form our conscious according to the teachings of Christ rather than our personal beliefs. The Church is pretty clear on abortion, suffering, and end of life issues and gives a beautiful reason for each.

As Catholics we have an obligation to accept these teachings to remain in union with Christ and His Church. As Catholics we should understand that doctrine is not up for grabs.

I will admit 8 years ago while in college I found myself thinking i was much more intelligent than the Church in regards to a particular issue and a good friend told me that if you disagree with this, how many more things are you going to disagree with? Made me think… am I really Catholic? I however ignored this person and continued with my *own personal* beliefs through college. It was not until after college that I got my hands dirty by reading more on our faith.

I found my conscious to be improperly informed by lack of information and some by deliberate choice to disregard certain doctrines because were difficult to accept and follow.

Artie June 6, 2009 at 7:25 am


Nobody said it was going to be easy to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.

I understand that you are trying to rationalize and make a good moral and respectful argument for your personal beliefs by certain subjective arguments, but the issue is can you and do you feel that your own authority trumps that of the Church?

Our Catholic faith would be easy to follow if we got to decide and make the call, but that is not the case of our Catholic faith. It is difficult to follow and difficult to be obedient.

Some people are probably thinking that I am asking Phil to go against his conscious and not be a *free thinker. If you are thinking that, you are missing the point.

I think that many of us are guilty of some dissent against Church teaching at times in our lives when we fail to support the values of the Church in their entirety. However when people no longer accept the Church as the Bride of Christ, when people have serious doubts about the ability of the Church to remain faithful to the teaching of Jesus and to her traditions, then they cannot be fully convinced Catholics.

Phil we love you as a brother in Christ, and I would hope that if I ever struggle with Church teaching on a particular issue that somebody would help me try and understand the beauty of the teaching.

In Christ

Ed-e June 8, 2009 at 9:24 pm


The below link is an example of your philisophy on ending suffering that in use today, not on the unborn, but on infants.


“Once the prohibition against the direct taking of innocent human is breached there can be no reasoned defense against the taking of any life by those who have the power over it.”

May God forgive us our sins.

Chris Weidenhamer August 18, 2009 at 7:56 am

(2.5 months later)
I want to attempt a personal response while avoiding ad-homonym. wish me luck: My wife and I were sitting on the sofa one night recently when the story of Tiller’s murder was reiterated (why, I don’t recall). From my wife, I heard an audible gasp.
(me) “What, you didn’t hear about this? It was a few months ago.”
(wife) “No, I didn’t. Hon, that was MY doctor.” She teared up immediately.

Some clarifications – we are both Christian (for 5 years now) and very pro-life. We both condone his murder, period. My wife went through a late-term abortion during her 1st marriage 9 years ago. The baby had an acute dwarfism that kept his ribcage tiny, so the heart developed fully and left no room for lungs. My wife and her husband were convinced the baby would either die in utero or be born and suffocate (convinced by a local Dr, not Tiller). They felt they were conducting an act of mercy, and so did Dr. Tiller.

Here’s what I have learned:
(1) Dr. Tiller and his staff were more caring and loving than any of us may ever want to believe. They walked my wife and her husband thru the process for a week before it was done, and they held their hands the whole way. I recently saw the memorabilia my wife still has from that day.
(2) As we looked through the memorabilia, my wife sobbed openly and I joined her. Even 9 years later she was asking for forgiveness from the Lord and her son, Gavin. Before she was a Christian, she still was haunted by the guilt of killing her child, even though she felt it was the merciful thing to do. Perhaps “Post-Abortion Trauma Syndrome” is rare, perhaps it’s pervasive. The pro-abortion groups want you to think it’s fictitious – don’t ever believe them.
(3) As we battle to end the work of abortion, we have to be acutely aware that we are facing humans, not monsters, in the fight. Cain was human, Ahab and Jezebel were human, Judas was human. We all are, and we lose perspective if we forget that. All I’m saying here is that your weapons will be oversized and your aim and tactics will be adversely effected if you mistake who you’re fighting against.
(4) There are ways to help that are grossly underutilized. Spread this far and wide:


Perinatal Hospice is the option my wife was never offered. Why kill you baby if it’s going to die naturally anyway? PH will give you all the love and care and medical assistance parents of “terminal pregnancies” will need to go through the pregnancy without the guilt of ending your own child’s life. So long as abortion has to be an option, be sure everyone knows there are better options.

With love in Christ,

Catholic debating pro-life April 27, 2010 at 5:37 pm

I’m sure Dr. Tiller thought he was doing the right thing. But I believe it was St. Augustine (don’t quote me on this) who said, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”

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