BREAKING: #Gosnell Guilty on Feast of Fatima – NEW UPDATES

Interesting that this morning it seemed unlikely that a verdict would come, and this afternoon, on the Feastday of Our Lady of Fatima, suddenly the jury decided:

The jury in the murder trial of abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell returned a verdict and found him guilty on three of the four first-degree murder charges he faced.

Gosnell was found guilty of killing Baby A, Baby C and Baby D and found not guilty of killing Baby E. He was also convicted on hundreds of lesser charges ranging from infanticide to running a corrupt organization.

The guilty verdict on these three counts subjects the abortion “doctor” to the potential he will face the death penalty when a second jury considers his sentencing on the convictions.

One local reporter covering the trial indicated Gosnell “heard verdict passively, with small bitter faced smiles.” A Fox news reporter added, “Our Fox producer in the courtroom says Gosnell looked mad when the verdicts were read.”

Read it all here. Gosnell was also convicted on hundreds of lesser charges ranging from infanticide to running a corrupt organization

Livestream local coverage here

More later. These three first degree murder counts mean that the death penalty is on the table, but I cannot imagine any pro-lifer wanting that. Life in prison is more likely, and I hope that’s how it goes. I pray mercy is shown to this man, and that prayers may perhaps bring about his openness toward redemption.

I was watching that Fox Philly station and it seemed to me they were doing a very good job of covering all the bases. Reporter at one point said the testimony at trial was so raw that “you’d have had to have been made of concrete not to be be affected.” The anchor asked good question, also made a point of reminding audience that defense tried the “no scientific evidence that babies had ever been alive” argument but that jury “clearly disagreed.”

Michelle Malkin notes that the New York Times is having a problem with this story. They are talking about “fetuses removed from their mothers.” Can’t bring themselves to use the word “babies.” What a powerful word it must be. But it seems they don’t understand how powerful the word “mother” is. If they did, they’d say “fetuses removed from their uterine containers.” Omit the whole “human being” idea altogether.

Or, ask Kathryn Lopez puts it: fetus, fetus, fetus, fetus, fetus…

On Twitter and Facebook, I’ve seen some pro-lifers expressing hope that Gosnell gets the death penalty, and also a lot of invective being spewed and “righteous anger” against his defense attorney, but whatever you think of a defendant, he is entitled to an attorney. I’m thinking, can’t we just be glad about this verdict? What I wrote here still holds, I think:

[We Christians need to] respect the moment and the opportunity, and the fact that this is a possible gift. If this is a small break in the tide, it’s one we have to fill with patience and mercy; it is going to call on Christians to be as Christlike with our stunned and (hopefully) open-to-re-thinking brothers and sisters. We can’t haul off on them, but must teach with love. With firmness and truth, but also with some of that tenderness we’re called to; with an acknowledgement that Justice belongs to God while mercy is ours. It goes back, a little to what I wrote here, about balance.

Without balance, Christ Jesus and his teachings cannot be understood, because he is All Mercy, All Truth, All Wisdom and All Justice. When we overweigh any one aspect of those four we underweigh the other three; our perspective becomes unbalanced and our understanding disoriented. More importantly, we run the risk of pulling down the cross, altogether.

Embracing this moment with a Christlike heart and mind means no hateful postings on Facebook. No hashtags on twitter meant to insult, demean or cast down. Try #pro-abortion instead of #pro-murder.

Let me put it another way: if you’re a Christian who hates abortion and you see a sliver of light in this 40 years of darkness — which is exactly what this hushed admission from the press might be — and you repel the light with your anger instead of widening it (and its pathway) by taking a gentler, more merciful tone, then you will have to answer to the God of Justice about it. You’ll have to tell God why you thought it was more important to beat his wounded sheep rather than heal; you’ll have to explain why you thought your immediate “justice”, which can never be as informed as God’s, was preferable to waiting for his, which (for others) might come well after some years of regret, and contrition and penance and (for others) may be wholly beyond our comprehension.

We may be in a moment of grace, standing at the advent of a great gift. It’s not time to put a nail through a bat and start swinging.

Gosnell’s attorney seems to think that old-media had it in for his client. Wow. Just WOW.

Hot Air has lots of reactions

Frank Weathers has the creepiest tweet of the day and Da Tech Guy has NARAL’s full statement

UPDATE VII: Should he be executed?; I say no. What say you?

About Elizabeth Scalia
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  • AlbertPond

    This. This is the authentically Catholic response. The horrible, horrible gloating about the death sentence on twitter is only going to perpetuate the culture of death that Gosnell was a part of.

  • tanyam

    Wait, is this the Elizabeth Scalia, married to Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court justice who saw no problem executing an innocent man?

    That’s right, after 7 witnesses recounted their testimony, he scoffed the idea of overturning a conviction, saying: “This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is “actually” innocent. Quite to the contrary, we have repeatedly left that question unresolved, while expressing considerable doubt that any claim based on alleged “actual innocence” is constitutionally cognizable.”

  • MeanLizzie


    The “married to Antonin” thing was a joke some hater made about me a long time ago — so I guess I know where you regularly read? Aside from being young enough to be his daughter, I believe his wife’s name is Mary or Maureen. As far as I know, we’re not related. I’m sorry you’ve wasted a perfectly good sneer.

  • Barry Penobscott

    No, Antonin Scalia is married to Maureen (McCarthy).

  • tanyam

    I asked. Thank you for answering.

  • tanyam

    My mistake. Thank you.

  • MeanLizzie

    Sorry for the sneer thing. I get really tired of that old crap that originated on a hate site.

  • Cali45

    Thank you, Elizabeth. Clarity is needed. And good for you reporting this all along.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    In the case of a 76 year old man and the current sorry state of the Death Penalty in the United States, I fail to see the practical difference between a life sentence and the death penalty. So give him a life sentence and save us the cost of the appeals process please. Either way he’s going to die in his cell, there is zero chance of him surviving the appeals process to be killed in an execution chamber.

  • BHG

    I get that you made a mistake. But why do you think she would be responsible for her husband’s opinions (legal or otherwise) anyway?

  • BHG

    I get that you made a mistake. But why do you think she would be responsible for her husband’s opinions (legal or otherwise) anyway?

  • Stefanie

    This is exactly why I love reading you, Elizabeth. Throughout the trial, during Lauds, I have been praying for mercy on Gosnell’s soul and the souls of his associates. He and they and the mothers who were desperate enough to seek his help need so much God’s mercy and love — which is the prayer of Fatima, isn’t it? These souls–though still bound within their earthly bodies — are still in an earthly purgatory of their own free will.
    I am sure that those who have had abortions — many of my friends from the 1970′s had them — have been suffering so much from hearing what happened there…in a way it’s like when we Catholics hear of another Church scandal. That sick horrible feeling in your gut that won’t go away. But God is so loving and so forgiving. Our laws are to protect even the guilty from the lynch-mob mentality — and for that the convicted can be thankful.
    No Christian does Jesus any favors by hate-filled invective. Instead we must pray for mercy– for the convicted, for his associates, for the mothers and their families.

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  • vox borealis

    I am largely ambivalent toward the death penalty, to be honest, though over the years I am slowly coming around to the trending Church position that there is virtually no situation in the modern, western world when the death penalty would be acceptable. I’m not there yet, though.

    Regarding the creepy tweets, PP is the most brazenly shameless organization I can think of.

  • Manny

    Boy did I burst out in joy this afternoon when I saw the verdict. Count me among those who believe the death penalty is not just warrented but crucial. Part of why the death penalty has to be a societal tool is because society needs to draw a line of demarcation on certain crimes, that they are so heinous that we must segregate these crimes into a catagory that is beyond the mundane. That line delineates an anathema. Killing babies is such a heinous crime, or rather should be such a crime. Currently it is not. We live in a society that supports pseudo infanticide. If you want society to have that line of demarcation on abortion, then Gosnell needs to have the ultimate sentence. Let me summarize it this way: Give Gosnell a wishy-washy sentence, society remains wishy-washy on abortion.

  • Tom j

    No execution. Be consistently pro-life

  • Adam Frey

    Attorney speaking here–I’ve done criminal prosecutions before, though it’s not my current practice (I do civil law matters for the government now).

    A few thoughts. One, I didn’t know that people were holding it against Gosnell’s attorney. That shouldn’t surprise me, but I guess everyone sees criminal defense attorneys as a proxy for injustice. I’d ask that people not do so (particularly since he was found guilty). Defense attorneys play a valuable role in society, mainly because they keep prosecutors and judges in check. For every O.J. Simpson, there’s the Duke Lacrosse players, or Amanda Knox, or whomever. I’ve seen too many of my fellow attorneys get far too overzealous in prosecution, either in ignoring doubts about guilt or desiring blood at sentencing without factoring the human cost of a criminal conviction and jail time.

    Back when I was still pretty green to lawyering, I think I enjoyed going for the jugular in the courtroom. Every drug user or distributor was a severe threat to society and needed to be locked away for as long as feasible. Then one day, a paralegal in my office–a nice young girl of maybe 21 who was working her way through school and a new marriage–was busted for drug use. Suddenly, seeing somebody prosecuted wasn’t so fun anymore.

    I ended up writing a letter on her behalf to the court. There wasn’t much I could do for her (and I think she ended up pleading guilty anyway), but I at least wrote about her better qualities and asked for mercy. She ended up getting off pretty light, but her career as a paralegal was done. Last I saw, she was starting her life over–hopefully drug-free.

    I guess my point is that it’s easy to point to a stranger and see a monster, particularly when you’ve got prosecutorial power. I’m trying really hard to remember that human beings aren’t monsters, although they do monstrous things. Every human being is somebody’s child, sibling, co-worker, friend, etc. When all those relationships fail, they’re still God’s creation and Mary’s spiritual child, and they look upon us with love and pity even when no one else will.

    I have no doubt that Gosnell is going to jail for a long time, and deservedly so. He certainly deserves death–but then, I remind myself that the wages of our original sin is that we all die in this life. In a theological sense, none of us deserve mercy, regardless of whether someone like Gosnell’s sins are far beyond ours. We’ve all failed. We’ll all be without excuse at our final judgment. However, God loves us, Christ redeemed us, and Mary advocates for us. Put aside your anger and pray for Gosnell instead. Pray for justice in his sentencing case, but also pray that his trials ahead will help him awaken to his sin and repent of it. He’s an old man and probably doesn’t have long left, particularly if he’s headed to prison. Pray that he finds the same mercy and salvation you’d want for yourself.

    Then Peter approaching asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?”
    Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.

  • Skay

    A sentence of life is certainly more mercy than Gosnell ever gave to all of those poor babies he killed.

  • Andrew

    Today is the Feast of St. Robert Bellermine, a Doctor of the Church. We did however process throughout the streets, praying the rosary, with Our Lady crowned in roses, in honor of Our Lady of Fatima. St. Bellermine is the patron saint of Catechists, coincidence? No, not even funny given the majority of pew warmers support what this demon does for a hobby. ST. Bellermine is buried here:'Ignazio_Church,_Rome. Which was built on top of the former temple of Isis, a false Egyptian deity.

    Hopefully Catholics will allow Israel to defeat Egypt in their hearts, before Our Lady of Fatima can no longer hold back the Divine Justice of God.

    –> Do not sin, pray (especially the rosary) and do penance.

  • Seth Wm. Peters

    In 40 Days for Life, we would pray for the staff, their lawyers, their allies in government- for everyone to be converted and their eyes opened to what they are doing. We would include all of the people involved in our prayer intentions: the women, their families, and most of all the children who perish daily. We must entrust Gosnell to the Lord, that his heart be converted. Any other response is unworthy of a follower of Christ.

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  • Frosteetoes

    If for some reason Gosnell would walk free due to some technicality that the court over looked, do you think that Gosnell would go on to murder babies the same way as he was regardless if he was licensed or not? I see this man as a serial killer. He kept trophies of his victims in glass jars. He took joy in his profession and felt that he was giving a great service. God will judge him there is no doubt. But I consider myself anti-abortion and a warrior for the unborn. I speak for the unborn and defend them to the best that I can right now in this world. What he and everyone in his profession does is demonically inspired through a false sense of compassion. I may be called to pray for this man’s soul but in truth I pray for each hand of an abortion provider is crippled or mangled before an innocent baby is destroyed. Gosnell can go to hell and meet his god Molech for all I care. Certainly his execution will be more compassionate than what he gave his victims.

  • Barfly_Kokhba

    What’s funny is that I first came to read Ms. Scalia’s blog because I thought she WAS related; and me, who decries nepotism, of all the dirty hypocrites.

    But I enjoyed the first column so much that she became one of my favorites and I keep reading. What a zany world.

  • Chuck

    I feel that he should not be given the death penalty, not for justice reason, but I want him to hear the cries of the unborn in his head for the rest of his life. I pray that he ask forgiveness for the terrible sins he has committed against our Lord and our society. I would hope that he looks into his heart and recieves the graces for absolution. There is no sin, even this terrible one, that God is not stronger than. May this terrible man find redemption and accepts the great mercy of God.

  • celine

    pray for this soul too as Jesus shed blood for him too. We are nobody to judge and to take revenge. Let him too be redeemed by God’s mercy as God does not want any one to rot in hell. All those babies are in heaven

  • Brian English

    “So give him a life sentence and save us the cost of the appeals process please. Either way he’s going to die in his cell, there is zero chance of him surviving the appeals process to be killed in an execution chamber.”

    True, but imposing the death penalty would represent a statement by society of its revulsion at these crimes. If the death penalty is not justified here, when can it be imposed?

    “I am slowly coming around to the trending Church position that there is virtually no situation in the modern, western world when the death penalty would be acceptable.”

    The problem is this “trending position” rejects centuries of Church teaching without any explanation. “Someone” adding a statement to a late draft of the revised Catechism should not be sufficient to overturn centuries of Church tradition.

    As far as following the modern, western world, the Netherlands did away with the death penalty about 150 years ago. Yet today about 8% of the infants who die in that country are euthanized. Should we follow the Dutch on that as well? What about the Swiss? No death penalty, but leaders in euthanasia. Is that another issue where the Church should follow the modern, western world?

  • Dottie Dalton Madigan

    So providential!

  • linda

    He should be given a life sentence BUT without parole. Otherwise, he, like others, may get out and start up his “business” again.

  • kmk

    Interesting that the Ohio kidnapping story is also unfolding–last Thursday I was watching anchor on CNN with some kind of legal guest (both women) discussing that the three women are all accusing their captor (can’t recall his name) of impregnating them and then forcing miscarriage through starvation and punching/kicking. It was fascinating watching them both have to say “BABY” when they were discussing the murder victims, sort of eyeing each other carefully as they discussed _err, ah, em, possible murder charges due to the, eh, er, um, deliberate miscarriages of the uhhh, babies…” It was like watching a mental “Twister” game!
    Have to say that years of reading Mark Shea in particular have made me think my reflexive “yes” to execution. Gosnell can be locked away for life and he will suffer, will be disgraced, frankly possibly killed in prison anyway, and also have a chance at redemption. AND–the chance that he could escape and do further harm to the community is almost nil (an important point for the CCC, right?) Boston Marathon bomber? not sure. can we lock him away with the absolute certainty that he won’t escape and cause more harm?

  • Wilhelmina Vredenburg

    Spoken ,like a true follower of Jesus.Your prayers might very well be heard,this might be great gift from heaven,out of evil good will come.Hate will never bring peace in this world.I too believe in the same thing,pray for every one who needs to find God in this world God bless..

  • Victor Savard

    Manny, “I” agree with YA that killing babies is such a heinous crime and that the only curre for that is a good anathema but Victor’s so called “Jesus” cells would probably claim that this killing doctor should be given a chance just like they gave “ONE” of these other doctors who had killed many babies in the past NOW!

    Go Figure these human beings who won’t recognize U>S gods NOW?


  • RigelDog

    I know the defense attorney fairly well. He has a very, um, emotive style as a trial attorney and can be a little hard to take—but he’s also a bit of a softie at heart. When he said that the media was against him, it was probably a reference to local media, who have covered this fairly well. Even that reference to the media was probably more of a standard defense attorney statement.