Friday, November 19, 2004

Article on Fight for Terri's Life Out This Month

In this month's issue of Catholic World Report, my article "The Struggle to Save Terri" is the cover story!

In this article, I relate some of the personal experiences of the Schindler family, and my own experiences in helping them, in their efforts to save Terri's life. I describe the circumstances of how I came to be involved in her case, and my reactions to the inhuman treatment to which she is subjected, such as her husband Michael's denial of a priest's visits:
I had never heard of a patient being denied pastoral care before. I can't even imagine the kind of hardness of heart required to take such a position. Even condemned criminals are given access to clergy! But Terri Schiavo, who was guilty of no crime, was denied something we commonly provide to the most heinous of criminals. It seemed to me that Judge Greer had decided that Terri was so sub-human that she is could be denied even spiritual comfort and consolation. I wrote at the time:

"As a priest, I cannot imagine being in Msgr. Malanowski's position. I simply could not stand for such interference with my ministry. I would be inclined to seek every means possible to disobey the order and visit Terri. An unjust law is no law at all. Similarly, a capricious, inhuman, unjust and gratuitous judge's order is no order at all.

There is a long standing tradition in the Church of defying Caesar when he trespasses beyond his rightful authority. There is a well-established tradition of resisting Caesar when he attempts to deprive the Church of her legitimate prerogatives. And so, I reiterate the suggestion I made a couple of weeks ago: It is time to consider civil disobedience."

It seemed to me that this deprivation of Terri's right to spiritual care was the final indignity. If this wasn't sufficient motivation to condemn Terri's treatment and mobilize opposition, nothing would be.

The article isn't available on line yet, but if you don't get Catholic World Report, now would be a good time to start!