Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Michael Schiavo Reserves Right To Kill Terri "At Any Time"

In a little-noticed remark in this story (go to the picture of George Felos and click on the "watch video" link), George Felos is quoted as saying that the original judgment, that is the one giving Michael the right to remove Terri's feeding tube, is "still in place", and that Michael reserves the right to remove it "at any time". Felos also said that he didn't know when that date would be, and that Michael was "taking it day by day".

So what will Michael do? Will he announce his intention to do so and make a big splash of it, maybe with cameras present? Or will we awaken some morning to find that he has done so in the middle of the night, hoping to get away with it as a fait accompli?

It will be done when, and in the manner in which, he thinks he can get away with. My guess is that he'll opt for the middle-of-the-night approach. Everything about his case hinges on hiding facts from the light of truth. He won't be able to stand doing this in the light of day.

George Felos Shows Equal Contempt...

For people's religious beliefs as he does for the lives of disabled people who cannot speak for themselves.

Felos, the attorney aiding Michael Schiavo's efforts to kill his wife Terri, compared the Pope to Iranian mullahs (like the Ayatollah Khomeini) in court hearings last week.

The arguments in this case, as I explained below, hinge upon Terri's status as a practicing Catholic and the Pope's address last spring which, among other things, clarified the obligation to provide food and water to PVS patients.

Attorney for the Schindlers, David Gibbs, spoke concerning the Pope's statement and argued that it presents a change in circumstances which would render the removal of Terri's feeding tube a violation of Terri's religious rights.

George Felos responded by saying, "This is not Iran. The mullahs don't make pronouncements to validate, invalidate . . . a court's judgment."

That's right, Mr. Felos. The Pope, in insisting that human beings not be treated like disposable objects we can get rid of when no longer convenient, is like Muslim extremist mullahs hurling fatwahs of death against girls who don't wear headscarves.

Felos displays the contempt for religion and religious values that characterizes the majority of our society's elites. He is in good company with certain journalists and columnists who regularly warn their readers about oppressive "edicts from Rome", and agree with organizations like People For The American Way that having serious Christians in positions of power is "scary".

George Felos's statement about mullahs is indicative of the attitude of many occupying positions of power and influence, including our judiciary. That's why I'm not optimistic about the Schindlers' chances of success in their latest legal strategy.

Do Not Push Gently Into That Good Night

An outstanding article by Rosie DiManno in the Toronto Star:
We project our revulsion — which is essentially rooted in fear of our own mortality — and convince ourselves that somebody else would be better off dead because look, just look, at how wretched their existence has become or will become. And that says a great deal about the value that we subtract from a life when it is no longer vigorous and productive; when it just lies there, maybe thinking, maybe dreaming, maybe remembering.

Go and read the rest.

Apropos of Nothing In Particular...

Is it just me, or is John Kerry laying low on the whole "catholic thing" these days?

There haven't been any communion photo-ops or confused theological effluences from him of late.

I wonder if Kerry has been reading the articles about the "seismic shift" of Catholic voters away from Kerry? Perhaps he might be coming to a dim awareness that many Catholics, even those who don't exactly "toe the line" with Rome, don't appreciate his brazen disregard and misrepresesntation of Church teaching, and open whoring for NARAL?

"She's Just Going To Die Anyway"

A great article about Terri Schiavo's case, and the Pope's recent remarks about the care of PVS patients, recently appeared on Catholic Exchange.

It's titled "The Case of Terri Schiavo", and gives a concise but thorough discussion of what our moral duty is in such cases:
[S]ociety must not lose sight of the human dignity of the individual, even if diagnosed as being in a "persistent vegetative state." Such a person deserves the same care as anyone else. The pope affirmed the following principles, which uphold the dignity of the sick person: First, the sick person, even if diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state, has a right to basic health care (nutrition, hydration, cleanliness, warmth, etc.). Second, he has a right to treatment to prevent complications related to his confinement in bed. Third, he has the right to appropriate care for rehabilitation, and to be monitored for signs of recovery; one must never give up hope of at least a partial recovery (no. 4).

The author, Fr. William Saunders, is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, a professor at the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College, and an all around smart guy. It's well worth reading anything he writes.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

You May Be Able to Help Terri

Mark Shea has posted on his blog today a request from Children of God for Life in Clearwater, Florida. They are looking for Catholics who have changed their advance directives or otherwise acted in response to the Holy Father's March 20th "Address to the Participants of the International Congress on Life Sustaining Treatments and the Vegetative State".

This is part of the legal strategy I described below, that Terri, as a devout Catholic, would want to follow the Pope's teaching on this matter, and would not have wanted to have her feeding tube removed.

The Schindlers' attorneys have a week to present any further case law on the point and evidence that Catholics have responded to the Holy Father's teaching. The judge said that he would then rule within 2 weeks whether he would hold a full blown evidentiary hearing to determine whether to vacate the previous orders entered in the case.

The most obviously helpful evidence would be affidavits from individuals who have in fact changed the text of their directives or who have executed directives specifically following the mandate of the Holy Father's statement.

Send an e-mail to if you think you can help.

The Un-Circumcised Children's Mass

The music teacher at our elementary school organizes and prepares the children for our weekly all-school Masses. And she does a good job, too. In fact, she's been my "unindicted co-conspirator" in several of my more "Thrown Back" efforts at the school.

So yesterday, she comes to me with a look of deep concern on her face.

"Umm, Father," she says, "have you looked at the readings for Wednesday's Mass yet?"

"Well, no, not yet," I answered.

"I thought so," she continued. "Well, there's all that language in it about circumcision and uncircumcision, the circumcised and uncircumcised."

"Okay", I replied, unsure where this was going.

"The little kids don't know what circumcision is," she continued. "I was just concerned because they're not going to have a clue what that means."

"Of course not," I said, still not sure where we were headed.

"Well," she said, probably marvelling at my cluelessness, "you weren't going to talk about what that is, were you? I hope you weren't planning on explaining that or anything."

Obviously she was afraid I might carry my penchant for teaching the kids a little too far.

Images went through my head of my pastor taking dozens of outraged phone calls from irate parents, all to the effect of "get rid of that idiot Johansen", if I actually did something like that.

I answered her "No, oh no! I wouldn't preach about that! It's not like I'd make that the topic of my homily. You don't think I'd actually do that, do you?"

I'm glad I could set her at ease.

New Legal Strategy to Save Terri Schiavo

Attorneys for Bob & Mary Schindler have adopted a novel but interesting legal strategy in their efforts to save their daughter Terri.

They are arguing that removing Terri's feeding tube would be an infringement of her First Amendment right to free expression of religion.
New attorney David Gibbs filed a motion Thursday for an evidentiary hearing. Gibbs argued that a recent speech by Pope John Paul II changes Terri's case completely.

The pope clarified the Church's view on advanced directives. In the pope's opinion, people in a vegetative state -- like Terri Schiavo -- have a right to nutrition and health care.

I would quibble with the article's implication that the Pope's speech last March actually presents anything new. I think that the Pope didn't present anything new in his speech, in which he declared that food and water could not be considered "medical treatment" for PVS patients, but must be considered part of the ordinary care to which every patient is entitled. Rather, he elaborated on that point of Catholic moral teaching, previously enunciated in the CDF's 1980 "Declaration On Euthanasia", and applied it to cases such as Terri's. That is how the Ordinary Magisterium works: applying theological principles to the questions of the day.

The argument boils down to this:
Schiavo's parents on Thursday asked a circuit judge to hold a mini-trial to determine if the pope's recent statement should erase a court finding that Schiavo would not want to be kept alive by artificial means.

David Gibbs III, lead attorney for Schiavo's parents, said Catholics take the word of the pope as the supreme law of the church. And to ignore it imperils the soul.

"It would be disobedience to the church," Gibbs said. "It's a sin. It would be something one would be judged for. . . . It would be an act of disobedience to God."

In other words, since Terri is a Catholic, who practiced her faith and took it very seriously before her injury, she would want to follow the Pope's teaching on this matter, and would not have wanted to have her feeding tube removed.

As I said, it's an interesting argument, and one which I think reflects the truth of who Terri is, as opposed to Michael's cock-and-bull story that Terri "wouldn't want to go on living" in her condition.

Unfortunately, since it is, in essence, a religious argument, the legal establishment is going to be inclined to dismiss it. I hope I'm wrong, but the Florida judiciary hasn't given the defenders of life much cause to be optimistic.

John Kerry — Turning His Back On The Truth

Senator John Kerry is now charging President Bush with turning "his back on science" by opposing embryonic stem cell research, in a new campaign ad:
"It's time to lift the political barriers blocking the stem cell research that could treat or cure diseases like Parkinson's," the ad says. "I believe that science can bring hope to our families."

But it's Kerry who is in fact politicizing the issue, and misrepresenting the science on top of that.

Firstly, he makes no distinction between embryonic stem cell research, which destroys unborn human beings to harvest the stem cells, and stem-cell research using cells obtained from adult bone marrow and fetal umbilical cord blood, which do not destroy human beings and are therefore morally licit.

He also fails to mention that the only stem-cell research which has actually shown results in real research, and actual scientific promise, is that being done using bone marrow stem cells. Embryonic cells have an unfortunate tendency to turn into cancers, but that doesn't stop the pro-embryonic research mouthpieces from making promises of scientific marvels from curing baldness to Alzheimer's. The fact is that promises of breakthroughs from embryonic research have all the scientific quality of Dr. Feelgood's old-time medicine show.

It's not surprising that Kerry would obfuscate, distort, and rely on half-truths in dealing with this life issue, as he has done the same repeatedly regarding the issue of abortion.

But according to the scientists Kerry and his flacks in the MSM don't want to talk about, in a letter to the Chicago Tribune I published back in June, research has demonstrated that "a type of bone marrow stem cell called MAPC could generate every tissue in the body," rendering embryonic stem-cell research superfluous. The scientists concluded that there is "no justification for embryonic stem-cell research".

Kerry, along with the other advocates of saving our own lives at the expense of our children, justify themselves by saying "researchers would use embryos that are going to be discarded anyway." I'm sure that Dr. Mengele had a similar rationale: "Hey, those Jews would just be going to the gas chambers anyway. We might as well get some use out of them as human guinea pigs."

Kerry's ad says "Millions of lives are at stake."

That's true, but not in the way he means it. The only lives that are at stake in this issue are those of the millions of unborn children whom Kerry would sacrifice to a bogus "science".

Thanks to Amy Welborn for the link.