George Tiller, the foremost practitioner of late term abortions in this country, was shot to death this morning as he was acting as an usher at Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita Kansas. This is of course a terrible crime, and whoever committed it must pay the full penalty exacted by the law. What George Tiller did for a living was also a terrible crime, even though it was legal. May God have mercy on his soul. The type of violence that took the life of Tiller is just as opposed to the pro-life movement as is the violence that he perpetrated on the innocent.
Update I: Press conference by police video here.
Update II: Suspect in custody.
Update III: More information about the suspect and the crime.
Update IV: The name of the man in custody is Scott Roeder.
Regular readers of this blog will recall back in March when I posted on the situation in Connecticut where an attempt was made by anti-Catholic bigots in the state legislature to unconstitutionally interfere with the governance of the Catholic Church in that state. Massive outrage in Connecticut and around the nation caused the anti-Catholic bigots to retreat and cancel the proposed hearing on their bill.
Now, Bishop William Lori of the Diocese of Bridgeport is reporting that the State of Connecticut has advised him that the efforts of the Diocese to publicize and fight the anti-Catholic and unconstitutional bill constituted “lobbying” and that the Diocese may be subject to civil penalties. Let us be very clear on this point. This is obviously an attempt by anti-Catholic bigots in Connecticut to continue their war against the Church. Speaking out against bad legislation goes to the heart of why this country was founded. An attack on this right is an attack on our ability to take part in how we are governed. This attack on the Diocese of Bridgeport is an attack on every American who believes in the principles enunciated in the Declaration of Independence. As the Bishop notes, the Diocese has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against this attempt by Connecticut to muzzle free speech. This is absolutely outrageous conduct by the powers-that-be in Connecticut and should alarm not only every Catholic in this nation, but every American who cherishes freedom.
You knew I’d find some way to post about Star Trek again didn’t you?
As I prepare for some surgery this coming week to dig out some melanoma or pre-melanoma (docs still aren’t sure) from my back, I caught the last Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I haven’t watched late night talk shows regularly since Letterman back in the 80’s- but I like watching end of an era type programs because everyone seems to be in a more profound mood.
Jay Leno apparently caught that spirit. In his final moments in thinking of his legacy, he said his first reaction was something like- hey I tell jokes, make people laugh- what more do you say. But then he related how one of the band member’s had a child born shortly after he began as the Tonight Show host- and the child was featured briefly on the show. He then brought out the child who was now 17, and this led to his end game. He pulled back the curtain after describing how so many of his crew members met, married and had kids while being part of his show. The curtain revealed 68 kids and young adults, and Jay was beaming at how his show had a big part in bringing people together and making these children a reality.
I am quite certain that there was no political message embedded in this curtain call and speech about legacy- but it was hard to miss that what is of ultimate value is not all the temporary laughter over the years, it is the eternally significant lives of human beings, who may be mysteriously connecting in even the most insignificant of settings. If Jay Leno gets that, then God bless. I think God is always hiding in the most natural and normal of circumstances- the natural family is the greatest supernatural boost to many people’s spiritual growth. Maybe Leno missed out on that while focusing on his career, with no children of his own- or adopted- he and his wife apparently thought they were fine without children at home. But now he seemed to be finding his larger purpose in the children of his employees- which is a good development I think.
Christopher West came in for some criticism recently, much of it deserved, for his appearance on Nightline. In one sense, I sympathize with the critics. I have heard West speak, and found the simplification (bordering on sensationalization) of certain aspects of Theology of the Body somewhat off-putting. In a perfect world, people would read the writings of John Paull II and others to acquire a sophisticated, nuanced grasp of the subject matter. Nevertheless, that is not the world in which we live. That being the case I think, on balance, West’s work is valuable, difficult, and necessary.
And so I was somewhat surprised to see Dr. Schindler take the recent brouhaha as an opportunity to rather harshly criticize all of West’s work. The tension between academics and popularizers is nothing new (even writers as brilliant as C.S. Lewis and Chesterton had and have their academic detractors); but one would hope for a more restrained and sympathetic treatment given the difficulty of presenting the Catholic understanding of sexuality in the modern United States. I think the following defenses by Dr. Janet Smith and Dr. Michael Waldstein help provide a better context for understanding West and his work: