Archdiocese Local

Murder of abortion doctor deplored

by Joe Bollig

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Shockwaves continue to reverberate as people on all sides of the abortion controversy consider the controversial career and violent death of Dr. George Tiller, the notorious Wichita abortionist.

Tiller, 67, was acting as an usher at his congregation on May 31 at Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, when a man entered the church foyer and shot Tiller once just after 10 a.m. Tiller was soon pronounced dead at the scene.

A suspect fled the scene and was later apprehended on I-35 near Gardner. The suspect is Scott P. Roeder, 51, of Merriam.

The crime was strongly denounced by leaders of the Catholic Church and members of the pro-life community.

Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, speaking on behalf of the U. S. Conference of Catholic bishops, expressed profound regret.

“Our bishops’ conference and all its members have repeatedly and publicly denounced all forms of violence in our society, including abortion as well as the misguided resort to violence by anyone opposed to abortion,” said Cardinal Rigali.

“Such killing is the opposite of everything we stand for,” the cardinal continued, “and everything we want our culture to stand for: respect for the life of each and every human being from its beginning to its natural end. We pray for Dr. Tiller and his family.”

A statement was issued on May 31 by the four bishops of Kansas through the Kansas Catholic Conference.

“We, the four Catholic bishops of the dioceses of Kansas, unequivocally condemn the murder of Dr. George Tiller,” the statement read. “The Catholic Church believes that every human life is sacred. The murder of a human being is the gravest of crimes and is an intrinsic evil.”

The state’s major pro-life organization joined the chorus of condemnation when Kansans for Life issued a statement on the day of the murder. “We wish to express our deep and sincere sympathy to [Dr. Tiller’s] family and friends,” said a statement by Mary Kay Culp, state executive director of Kansans for Life. “Our organization has a board of directors, and a 35-year history of bringing citizens together to achieve thoughtful education and legislation on the life issues here in Kansas.”

“We value life, completely deplore violence, and are shocked and very upset by what happened in Wichita today.”

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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