Friday, August 27, 2004

Day Five Of The Novena For Terri Schiavo

Let us pray today for Terri and her family:
Holy Mary, you are the refuge and comfort of all who seek relief in distress and solace in the midst of hardship. We beg your intercession for Terri Schiavo. Make your loving presence known to her. May she also gain strength from the support of the many people praying for her. Look with favor on Terri's parents, and her whole family, who have steadfastly fought to save her life. Help them to persevere in hope, and to trust in the Mercy and Providence of God. Amen.

I probably won't be able to post again 'til Sunday or Monday. But keep praying!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Found Unconstitutional

In a decision which really surprised no one, a New York District Federal Judge handed down a ruling declaring unconstitutional the ban on Partial-Birth Abortion, which President Bush signed into law last year.

In his opinion, Judge Richard Casey stated that the Supreme Court has made it clear that a law that prohibits the performance of a particular abortion procedure must include an exception to preserve a woman's life and health.

However, the law already has language in it granting an exception for the life of the mother:
According to the text of the law, the form of abortion is not banned if it is "necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself."

Judge Casey's ruling is pure legal legerdemain. Firstly, this grisly procedure, which involves delivering the unborn child into the birth canal, thrusting a scissors into its skull, using a suction cannula to suck out its brain, and then crushing its skull, has been repeatedly declared, by the American Medical Association and other medical bodies, to be completely unneccesary, whether to save the mother or for any other reason whatsoever. So providing a "life exception" for the mother in this instance is utterly superfluous.

But the real reasoning for this ruling is contained in the phrase "women's health". The pro-abortion forces have always sought and used a definition of "women's health" that is so broad that practically anything can be used to justify abortion. Particularly slippery are the justifications based on a woman's emotional or mental health. Under this specious reasoning, many of the common inconveniences and burdens of pregnancy can be used to justify abortion. For example, the hormonally-induced depression that many women experience at different points of a pregnancy has been used to justify abortion based on the negative impact it will have on a woman's "emotional health".

The lack of a health exception deprives the pro-abortion movement an end run which would reduce the law to meaninglessness. They cannot allow any abortion, no matter how gratuitous or barbarically accomplished, to be challenged, because that would expose the lies, distortions, and base motives which undergird the abortion license.

Ultimately, this case is about two things: judges preserving their power to legislate from the bench, and their power over life and death. And they will, if necessary, defend those powers at the expense of innocent lives.

This case is also about defending the sexual license which has become the defining and core value of our society. We will have sex with who we want, when we want, and however we want. And we will pretend not to notice, and shout down any who point out, that the bed of our lusts is built on the mangled and disfigured bodies of innocent children.

Thanks to Amy Welborn for the link.

Day Four Of The Novena for Terri

Please join with me in praying for our nation, that we may always recognize the dignity of life in everyone, even those who seem "useless":
Holy Mary, Patroness of America, we beg you to intercede for our country. So many of our citizens have been misled by those who would judge which lives are no longer "worth" living. Lead our country back to a reverence for life. Help us to see that death is never a solution to problems, and that true compassion lies in protecting and cherishing life. Amen.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

A Couple of Blugs

Firstly, I am overdue in acknowledging the dedication and yeoman work of Earl E. Appleby, contributor to the Catholic Kerry Watch blog, and author of Times Against Humanity. Earl is seemingly inexhaustible in his efforts on behalf of the innocent and defenseless, whether they be unborn, disabled, or in the final stages of life. Earl is also the motive force behind CURE, Citizens United Resisting Euthanasia, which also maintains a blog, Life Matters.

Earl is a passionate advocate for Catholic teaching on the dignity and inviolability of human life. He should be on your list of regular blogs. He is on mine.

I also want to direct your attention to Oswald Sobrino's always excellent blog, Catholic Analysis, and in particular this post, Pharaoh's Egypt or a New Israel?. He reflects on the thought of Jewish philosopher Leon Kass, in his book The Beginning of Wisdom [Free Press, 2003], and an article, "L'Chaim and Its Limits: Why Not Immortality?" from the May 2001 issue of First Things. In it he expands on Kass's parallel between modern American culture and that of ancient Egypt:
...We are certainly obsessed with avoiding any dangers. We allow the unborn to be killed at will, but mount severe campaigns against smoking. We are willing to create and kill human embryos--human life-- at will in the hope of defeating the natural process of human aging marked by chronic health problems and disease. People who have no problem with casual and promiscuous sexual intimacy assiduously shop at organic food stores. (So do very chaste and honorable people!)

Behind all of this concern with preserving our own lives lies the desire to freeze time...

Like the Egyptian Pharaohs of old, we seek to extend our pleasures and extend our lives, even if we do so at the cost of thousands or millions of innocent lives. And like the Pharaohs, our efforts will ultimately be futile. Their tombs are empty and dead, covered in desert sands.

What will cover the evidence of our self-indulgence and folly?

Well, Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!

I don't know about you, but I am just shocked that Michael Schiavo failed to show up for his deposition in the guardianship case, which has been 'hanging fire" since 2002.

Monday's deposition was itself a second go-round, rescheduled from August 2nd, when he also managed not to show up. Michael's excuse this time was an unspecified "family emergency." Next time, I imagine he'll claim that the dog ate his copy of the Schindler's interrogatories.

"Family emergency." Hmmm... I guess the fact that his wife lies bedridden, with only marginal care, and not even an attempt at meaningful therapy for over a decade, doesn't qualify as an "emergency".

Day 3 of the Novena For Terri Schiavo

Sorry I didn't get to post anything yesterday. I hope all of you were able to offer a prayer for Terri, and all those whose lives are in danger because they are considered burdensome.

Please join me in a prayer for Terri, that the forces arrayed to end her life might be thwarted, and her human dignity recognized and respected.

Holy Mary, protectress of all the weak and defenseless, we beg your gracious intercession for Terri Schiavo, and all those, sick and disabled, who are neglected or pushed aside. By your prayers, may God reach the hearts of the judges, attorneys, and Terri's husband, that they may embrace true mercy and compassion for Terri and all like her. Amen.

Monday, August 23, 2004

What We Can Do For Terri

As I explain below, August 31st is going to be a momentous day in the fight to save Terri Schiavo's life, for two reasons:

Firstly, the Florida State Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of Terri's Law.

Secondly, Judge George Greer, the "unjust judge" who has, seemingly, worked less hard to bring about Terri's death than only George Felos himself, is up for re-election that day. Thank God, he is being opposed by attorney Jan Govan.

As it happens, from today until August 31 is 9 days. Thus, we have a perfect spiritual opportunity.

I urge all of you to commit yourselves to making a Novena to Our Lady, Health of the Sick, as patroness of Terri and all those who are afflicted with disease or debility, and suffer the further indignity of neglect or maltreatment. The Feast of Our Lady, Health of the Sick, falls on the Saturday before the last Sunday in August. Thus it will fall this coming Saturday, August 28.

I would suggest the following intentions:

That the Florida Supreme Court would rule in favor of protecting the weak, innocent, and disabled from those who seek to end their lives.

That Jan Govan would prevail over Judge Greer in the upcoming election.

That Terri herself would be granted some degree of healing and recovery, and that she know of the love and support of all those praying for her.

That Judge Greer, George Felos, and Michael Schiavo would have their hearts softened, and that they embrace true mercy and compassion for Terri and all like her.

That our nation would turn from its infatuation with death as a solution to human problems.

Of course, if you have suitable additional intentions to add, please do so.

You might offer up a rosary every day for this novena, or even just a Hail Mary each day. You might attend daily Mass and offer your communion for these intentions. The important thing is to pray, pray, pray!

I will offer a Novena of Masses for these intentions starting today till the 31st, and a rosary daily.

Please join me in this spiritual offering. In Christ we can do all things and achieve all things!

Terri Schiavo's Case Nears Critical Point

As many of you will recall, the Florida Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments on the case of Terri's Law on August 31. Terri's husband Michael Schiavo, through his attorney George Felos, has challenged the constitutionality of the law, passed by the Florida legislature and signed into law by Governor Jeb Bush last October.

The nominal grounds for Felos' challenge is that it violates the separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches, by granting the governor the authority to usurp what is normally considered the prerogative of the courts. I've written at some length about the legal issues here and here. But what is really at stake, as I have also argued before, is the god-like power of judges, such as Pinellas County Judge Greer and Appellate Court Judge Baird, to decide who may live and who may die.

Michael has failed to comply with a 1996 court order compelling him to disclose changes in Terri’s medical condition to her parents and to notify the staff that they may do just that. On a visit to Terri on July 30, the Schindlers noticed a wrist band on Terri from a local hospital and inquired as to when and why their daughter had been hospitalized. The staff refused to provide the information. A phone call was placed to Michael to ask permission to disclose details to Terri’s parents. He denied permission. Michael's defiance to this court order is ongoing. So far, he continues to deny the Schindlers information about their daughter’s medical condition.

The Schindlers are still contesting Michael's guardianship of Terri. Michael has demonstrably failed to meet the standard for guardians specified under Florida law, and so the Schindlers filed their petition challenging Michael's guardianship on November 15, 2002. But Judge Greer has yet to rule on it. As I reported in March, Michael has so allowed Terri's care to deteriorate that she had developed bedsores, and had five teeth decay to such an extent that they had to be extracted. Also, Michael failed to submit the annual care plans for Terri required under Florida statute for the years 2001, 2002, and 2003. Failure to file the care plans is a clear breach of Florida law, and should be sufficient cause to remove Michael as guardian. Michael's failure to comply with the law, and the growing evidence of Terri's neglect, led the Schindlers to file a "Writ of Quo Warranto", demanding that Michael show cause why he should not be removed as guardian. Judge Greer dismissed the Writ, stating that the Schindlers had ample legal remedy in their 2002 Petition (which he has not ruled on), and that "extraordinary relief will not be granted in cases where the granting of it will result in confusion and disorder." In a further display of judicial toadyism, Judge Greer actually allowed Michael to "back file" the aforementioned care plans for 2001, 2002, and 2003, while the Writ of Quo Warranto (not to mention the original 2002 Petition) was before him for consideration. We could all wish that the courts, and other government agencies, were so accommodating to the rest of us when we fail to comply with legal mandates in a timely fashion.

In a related note, on August 2nd Michael Schiavo failed to show up for a scheduled Deposition in the 2002 Guardianship matter. This is not the first time that Michael has resorted to "no show" tactics in order to delay progress in Terri's case. Judge Greer himself ordered that both Michael and Jodi Centonze, his live-in girlfriend and mother of his two children, be deposed. But Judge Greer has in no way sanctioned Schiavo or his attorney, George Felos, for failing to comply with his own order. A new date for the deposition is scheduled for today, August 23rd. We'll see if Michael can be troubled to show up for this one.

It seems that Judge Greer and Michael are engaging in similar stalling tactics. Why? Well, the obvious answer is that the Supreme Court arguments are looming on the horizon. Most legal experts expect the Court to uphold the ruling that Terri's Law is unconstitutional. Furthermore, the Schindlers' legal team expects that, if the Supreme Court rules as expected, it will do so relatively quickly. Michael, George Felos, and Judge Greer are, in all likelihood, hoping that a quick Supreme Court ruling will render the whole guardianship matter moot. Once Terri's Law is ruled unconstitutional, Felos will, almost certainly, immediately apply for a new order to remove Terri's feeding tube and a new death date. As I have written before, "once Terri's Law is declared unconstitutional, that puts an end to the inconvenient questions and demands of Gov. Bush and the Schindlers. Against the fact of Terri's death, none of those problematic issues will have much actuality. Felos and his comrades at the Hemlock Society and 'Death-with-Dignity' will have their test case, and the legal means to continue apace their offerings to Death The All-Embracing. "

August 31st Could Be A Day Of Victory!

In addition to the Supreme Court arguments on Terri's Law being heard on that day, August 31st is also the day of Judicial Elections in Florida. And, as I mentioned in June, Judge George Greer is being opposed in this year's election! Local attorney Jan Govan is courageously opposing Judge Greer, and promises to stand up for the innocent and powerless.

Govan is fighting an uphill battle, and now it's crunch time. Contributions to Govan's campaign, with only 9 days till the election, total only $20,896.

Judge Greer, on the other hand, has a well funded campaign, with $153,589 in his war chest. He has plenty of support from local attorneys, who apparently are either equally allied with the Culture of Death, or cowed by his reputation for vindictiveness from the bench.

According to Florida Division of Elections records, even the legal firm representing the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg, DiVito & Higham, has contributed to Judge Greer's re-election campaign. In addition to representing the Diocese, firm principal Joseph DiVito is also St. Petersburg Bishop Robert Lynch's personal attorney and close friend.

Show your support for Jan Govan! If you haven't made a contribution, please do so TODAY!

And say a prayer for Govan's victory. For his victory will be a victory for Life!