The National Catholic Reporter has once again proved that its nickname, the National Catholic “Fishwrap,” is well deserved. 

On Wednesday, NCR printed a column in which columnist Bill Tammeus (who, oddly enough, isn’t Catholic, but a Presbyterian elder) referred to the unborn child as a “bundle of cells” and questioned why the Roman Catholic Church has exerted so much energy trying to stop abortion, as opposed to the death penalty. 

After all, says, Bill Tammeus, “in the matter of abortion, we have a bundle of cells that one day may be born.”

On the other hand, in the case of the death penalty, “we have human beings who have been around for years, having long proven viable outside the womb -- people who may be capable of repentance and who, thus, may be rescued from misspent lives.”

That anybody in the 21st century is still laboring under the belief that the unborn child is merely a “bundle of cells” beggars belief. It brings to mind what a young man viewing photos of aborted babies on a university campus recently said in response to his friend who told him that “it’s just a clump of cells.” 

“That’s a pretty organized clump of cells!” the man responded. 

Indeed. If the unborn baby is a “bundle of cells,” then we’re all just “bundles of cells.” 

But putting aside questions of elementary-school-level biology, let’s consider some elementary-school-level mathematics. 

Tell me, if you can, which number is higher: 50 million, or 1,300? 

Fifty million is, of course (give or take several million), the number of human beings that have been killed by abortion in the U.S. since abortion was legalized in the United States in 1973. 

1,324, on the other hand, is the number of executions that have taken place in the United States since 1976.

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Or, in other words, there have been about 1.25 million abortions per year in the United States, as opposed to about 36 executions per year. So far this year, there have been a grand total of four executions in the United States, while there have been nearly 300,000 abortions.

Or, to look at it yet another way, the abortion rate is 37,000 times higher than the execution rate. 

In the United States, with its advanced forensics and generally enlightened court system, it’s safe to say that the vast majority of those who have been executed were guilty of heinous crimes. On the other hand, every single unborn child killed through abortion was completely innocent. 

Of course, there have been instances in which innocent people have been executed, and even one such death of one innocent person is clearly one too many. In the age of nearly escape-proof maximum security prisons, there may well be a good argument to be made that the risk of executing any innocent person is enough to favor abolishing the death penalty altogether. The Catholic Church appears to agree with that.

But when millions of innocent children are dying every year under the hand of the abortionist’s knife, and when millions of mothers are experiencing depression, alcoholism, and infertility after abortions, how can anyone, let alone a columnist in a supposedly “Catholic” newspaper, argue that the Catholic Church’s resources have been misplaced?

If anything, what we need is more resources, more energy, and more time poured into fighting this great scourge upon our society. 

The real question is: why did a putatively "Catholic" newspaper feel the need to enlist the help of a non-Catholic to bash the Catholic Church's efforts on one of the most pressing issues of our day? This is just more proof that Bishop Finn was more than justified when he recently made clear that NCR, whose offices are located in his diocese, should not be using the word “Catholic” in their name. Unfortunately, so far NCR shows no signs of complying.