The diocese released the statement in the wake of the arrest of a Middletown man for allegedly using an incendiary device to attack a Planned Parenthood clinic in Newark.
Samuel James Gulick, 18, was arrested and charged with several felonies after the Jan. 3 incident at Planned Parenthood on Main Street. He is alleged to have thrown a lighted object at the building in the early morning hours of Jan. 3 just after spray-painting the phrase “Deus Vult” – Latin for “God wills it” – in red letters on a wall. The object exploded, and Gulick ran away, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office for Delaware.
He has been charged with maliciously damaging a building used in interstate commerce through the use of fire or destructive device; intentionally damaging a facility that provides reproductive health services; and possession of an unregistered destructive device under the National Firearms Act.
There are legal, peaceful ways to oppose abortion, the diocese said.
“We encourage everyone to stand for and support the sanctity of life from conception to natural death in peaceful, prayerful ways,” the statement reads. “There are many law-abiding ways to protest the scourge of abortion, such as the 9 Days for Life program sponsored by the USCCB, by attending the upcoming March for Life in Washington, D.C., and by advocating for life in the public square.”
Moira Sheridan, president of the state’s highest-profile pro-life organization, Delaware Right to Life, also decried “the use of violence in the name of defending the unborn, just as it decries the use of violence against the unborn in the act of abortion. As an educational organization, we seek through peaceful means to expose the humanity of the unborn and to advocate for all threatened by a culture of death.”
Gulick was arrested Jan. 4 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation without incident. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he was identified through video surveillance and social media postings that included the phrase “Deus Vult” and anti-abortion sentiments.
Gulick faces between five and 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of the most serious charge, which is damaging the facility. The U.S. attorney noted that most federal sentences are typically less than the maximum.
No abortions are performed at Planned Parenthood of Newark. The facility offers birth control, emergency contraception and healthcare services, although it does provide abortion referrals.