Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

6/1/2009 (6 years ago)

Catholic Online (

All who know the objective truth about the dignity and value of every human life should decry this horrible act of violence.

'Malchus', from the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

'Malchus', from the Brooklyn Museum of Art.


By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (

6/1/2009 (6 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

WICHITA, KS (Catholic Online) - Reports indicate that an arrest has been made in the fatal shooting of George Tiller. The suspect was apprehended without incident. His name has now been released, Scott Roeder. He is 51 years old and was arrested 170 miles away from the scene of the murder. He has not yet been charged but will be as early as today. We have all heard the news by now. Just after 10 A.M. on Sunday morning, while he was attending church services at Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas, Dr. George Tiller, the controversial provider of late term abortions, was shot and killed. Tiller was 67 years old.

I heard it while returning from Pentecost Sunday Mass. I was stunned! George Tiller was killed while attending a Lutheran Church Service on the day when Catholics and all who follow the Liturgical Calendar of the West celebrated the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the Birthday of the Church! On reflection, might I suggest that the coincidence of the timing of this wrongful act and the liturgical calendar presents an invitation to the Nation to reflect? We would be assisted by the counsel of Malchus, an obscure character found in all four Gospel accounts who, at the arrest of Jesus, had his ear severed by the Apostle Peter. The incident brought a strong reprimand from the Lord and has been the source of some very important reflections (as well as art) throughout Christian history concerning the necessity of rejecting violence. The name is a Greek form of Malluch, a common name at the time which actually means "counselor." I suggest there is some counsel for all of us in this horrible act.

It is recounted in all four Gospel accounts (Matthew 26:51; Mark 14:47; Luke 22:50; John 18:10), a fact which makes it of particular importance to the writers and thus of great importance for serious readers. After all, the Evangelists were writing to different communities of early Christians. Their focus was often on different accounts from the earthly ministry of Jesus. John's was the last Gospel to be written, reflecting a more mature reflection on the deeper purpose of the great events of the earthly life and ministry of Jesus Christ. The last words of his account give us some more insight into the importance of the fact that we find this story in all four Gospels: "It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written". This account of Malchus is not simply an odd fact, but rather, an instruction and admonition.

John is the one who gives us the name of the servant. Luke the physician tells us that Jesus not only used the moment to teach, but healed the wound, reattaching the severed ear. Luke writes: "Jesus said to him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?" His disciples realized what was about to happen, and they asked, "Lord, shall we strike with a sword?" And one of them struck the high priest's servant and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said in reply, "Stop, no more of this!" Then he touched the servant's ear and healed him."(Luke 22:48-51)

According to John's account Judas came with a band of soldiers and servants sent by the high-priests and Pharisees to arrest the Lord. During that encounter, Peter drew his sword and cut off the right ear of this Malchus. He was strongly corrected by the Lord and told that the sword belongs in its sheath. In this Jesus taught them, and all who have followed Him since, a lesson about peace; the real Peace which he gave and which is to be practiced by all who bear His name. John records these words of Jesus given at another time to the disciples: "I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name--he will teach you everything and remind you of all that (I) told you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid". (John 14: 25 - 27)

All who know the objective truth about the dignity and value of every human life, from conception to natural death and at every moment in between, should decry this horrible act of violence. It must be unqualifiedly rejected and condemned within the Pro-Life community because of our unwavering conviction that every life, at every age and stage, has dignity and must be respected, protected and honored. This bedrock conviction should inform a "whole life/pro-life" ethic in those who gather under the banner of being Pro-Life. A moral analysis tells us that the killing of a defenseless George Tiller is similar to the killing of every defenseless child in the womb who dies due to procured abortion. Of course, the actions of Dr. Tiller in engaging in and promoting late term abortions during life were despicable. However, the action of the perpetrator in killing him was wrong. Both acts of killing are evil. Both must be completely rejected. Both should be decried by every person who is Pro-life.

The sword belongs in its' sheath!

We reject intentional abortion because every procured abortion is the killing of a member of our human family. The dignity of that little human person in the first home of the whole human race cries out for changing the unjust approach to giving protected status to intentional abortion in America. However, this dignity is present in all human persons, even those with whom we disagree and those whose actions we decry. The counsel of Malchus the servant speaks to all who have ears to hear! All human life has dignity! The reason Catholics and other Christians insist on a love of preference for the poor is because they have human dignity. The reason many of us reject capital punishment is because of the human dignity of even those who have committed crimes. The reason we insist that any act of war must fit a criteria of what is called a "just war analysis" is because we recognize the dignity, even of our enemies.

The wrongful killing of George Tiller presents a 'Malchus Moment' for the Entire Nation.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Politics & Policy

President Obama faces uphill battle with Pacific Rim trade pact Watch

Image of The Trans-Pacific Partnership is being battered on both sides of the right and the left in the U.S.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

United States President Barack Obama has hailed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) the largest free-trade agreement in a generation, as its completions will open new markets for U.S. goods and services. While Obama says the agreement will give "our workers the fair ... continue reading

California Governor Jerry Brown signs 'End of Life Option Act' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed the "End of Life Option Act" into law this week. While he remained largely ambiguous about the bill, he came forward with the statement that the "Crux of the matter is whether the state of California should continue to ... continue reading

Trans-Pacific Partnership faces criticism in Congress Watch

Image of Citizen protests the Trans Pacific Partnership (AFP).


The controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership has been finalized and will be presented to business leaders by US President Barack Obama. However, Congress has already shown skepticism over the pact. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Twelve countries in the Pacific Rim ... continue reading

#IAmaChristian: Ben Carson honors the Oregon shooting's fallen students Watch

Image of Ben Carson (Facebook).


Nine were shot dead during the recent horrifying shooting at the Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon where a student claimed the gunman specifically targeted the religious. Following the claim, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson started a social ... continue reading

Supreme Court to render decisions on sensitive topics of abortion, birth control, race Watch

Image of An even more pressing issue to go before the court will be the issue of religious freedom coupled with President Obama's health care reform.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Supreme Court is rolling up its sleeves to render decisions that have long roiled the United States: abortion, birth control, religious freedom, and race. None of the pending decisions is likely to have the same import as the recent decision regarding ... continue reading

False ambassador has been working in government affairs for five months Watch

Image of Brett McGurk (C-Span).


For five months, an Obama administration official falsely presented himself as an official U.S. ambassador.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Brett McGurk, who is a deputy special presidential envoy to the Global Coalition serving under General John Allen, was ... continue reading

Will slow and steady win presidential race? Bernie matches Hillary with far smaller donations Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Longtime - if recently troubled political warhorse Hillary Clinton and avowed socialist Bernie Sanders are currently duking it out for the lead in the Democratic Presidential Race of 2016. Something highly significant has emerged in the contest ... the poor, ... continue reading

Donald Trump meets with 40 religious leaders and prays Watch

Image of Donald Trump meets religious leaders inside the Trump Tower.


Forty religious leaders and pastors met with presidential candidate Donald Trump in his Trump Tower office Monday afternoon. Trump shared a few minutes of prayer with the religious leaders, some of whom are noted televangelists. LOS ANGELES, CA  (Catholic Online) ... continue reading

DOUBLE DIPPING? Hillary Clinton aide paid by consulting firm to while also with State department Watch

Image of Some sources agreed to describe Huma Abedin's work for Teneo on the New York event, along with her subsequent work at the State Department for a Teneo-connected event in Ireland four months later in December.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There are new revelations that Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton's confidante, was paid both by the State department alongside the private consulting firm Teneo Holdings. Recent newspaper reports say Abedin staged a star-studded reception that included her boss' ... continue reading

Handing hat to Obama, Russia begins to do America's job at the UN Watch

Image of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama dueled verbally at UN headquarters in New York, debating the course of action the world should take in Syria.

By David Drudge, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Theater of the Absurd continues at the United Nations headquarters in New York as President Obama and Vladimir Putin recite harsh lines at one another over strategy in Syria. Ironically, it is Putin, not Obama, who is calling for UN action against the Islamic ... continue reading

All Politics & Policy News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jonah 3:1-10
1 The word of Yahweh was addressed to Jonah a second ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 130:1-2, 3-4, 7-8
1 [Song of Ascents] From the depths I call to you, ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 10:38-42
38 In the course of their journey he came to a ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 6th, 2015 Image

St. Bruno
October 6: Bruno was born in Cologne of the prominent Hartenfaust family. ... Read More