Matt C. Abbott
February 20, 2017
Priest responds to ex-priest's disavowal of pro-life witness
By Matt C. Abbott

On Feb. 14, The Huffington Post published a piece titled "I Can't Believe I Once Prayed Outside An Abortion Clinic" by Dan Murtah, an erstwhile Catholic priest. (He explained why he left the priesthood in The Guardian.)

Mr. Murtah wrote (in part):
    I find this difficult to write because I was against abortion for many years. I held the religious belief that life begins at conception and therefore abortion is wrong....

    Since I left the Catholic priesthood I've been able to suspend my belief and consider the arguments on the subject. I want to be clear that my thoughts on the morality of abortion are currently undecided, but no matter what I believe I am certain that religious belief should not influence government policy and subsequently the life decisions of another person....
I asked Father Shenan J. Boquet, president of Human Life International, to comment on what Mr. Murtah wrote. Father Boquet's response is as follows:
    It is always sad when an ordained priest abandons his vocation, but when a 'former priest' turns immediately to assault the Church and to attack the basic human dignity of the unborn, we're looking at an egregiously sinful and scandalous situation.

    In this case we have a young man who has suffered a profound failure of basic, personal integrity. If, as the article states, he has completely turned on the Church only six years after being in formation for the priesthood, then he either deceived everyone who he dealt with, or went through with the ordination despite being deeply unsettled about the matter. Either way it is a failure of personal integrity, which undermines the moral weight of his critiques – critiques, which, to be honest, are pretty thin to begin with.

    He writes like one who never grasped what the Catholic Faith is and what the Church teaches. Such grave intellectual errors as his bizarre claim that religious belief is only 'an assumption that something is true even if scientific evidence is lacking' or, just as strangely, making the unscientific claim that there is no scientific evidence that human life begins at conception – these make one wonder if he ever grasped what he should have been learning in seminary, and even high school biology. Perhaps I should add that given the state of modern education, this particular error is very common.

    There are likely other problems about which it makes little sense to speculate here, but we must pray earnestly for his conversion and repentance. For an ordained priest to do what he is doing is to invite a harsh judgment indeed from the only One whose judgment ultimately matters.
Amen!

© Matt C. Abbott

 

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.


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