Monday, November 01, 2004

George Felos Ready To Throw In The Towel?

Last week, the Schindlers received some good news in their efforts to save the life of their daughter Terri.

Firstly, the Florida Supreme Court issued a stay barring an order to remove Terri's feeding tube until November 30. This was done so as to give Florida Governor Jeb Bush and attorneys for the Schindlers time to take Terri's case to the Federal courts, particularly the US Supreme Court.

In a separate hearing on Thursday, Pinellas County Circuit Court Judge Greer heard arguments from George Felos, who asked the court to end his stay on the removal of Terri's feeding tube early, on Friday. Attorney for the Schindlers, David Gibbs, countered by asking Judge Greer to continue the stay indefinitely.

But in a surprise decision, on Friday Judge Greer issued the indefinite stay requested by Gibbs on behalf of the Schindlers.

The decision barring the removal of Terri's feeding tube indefinitely has prompted Michael Schiavo's attorney, George Felos, to consider ending his efforts to kill Terri:
"I think we are coming very close, if we are not here already, where proceeding in the judicial system is futile," said George Felos, who represents Michael Schiavo in his quest for court permission to stop feeding his brain-damaged wife. "It would appear that pursuing any remedy through the judicial system is simply a waste of time," Felos said. "It is hard to see where there is any benefit in staying the course in this case."

Felos further complained of Judge Greer's ruling, "I think it's outrageous." The ruling, he said, "could delay this case months, even years."

It seems to me that Felos is starting to view the prospect of further uncompensated legal wrangling with dismay. Recall that Felos hasn't been paid anything by Schiavo since 2002. Terri's settlement fund is exhausted: Felos has been paid about $700,000 by Schiavo, but there won't be any going back to that well. Felos may be deciding that he isn't willing to expend his time and resources pursuing Terri's death ad infinitum.

Terri isn't safe yet, and the battle isn't over yet. Terri will only be safe when Michael Schiavo is stripped of or relinquishes his guardianship of Terri. But this is a very hopeful sign, and reason to be thankful. We need to pray that George Felos does give up his pursuit of Terri's death as a "bad job", and that Michael isn't able to find some other lawyer to aid him in his effort to end Terri's life.

“If They’re Pro-Choice and They’re Democrat,
They’re My Kind of Candidate."

Guess who said this?

Was it Kate Michelman, the President of NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League)?

Was it Gloria Feldt, the President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America?

No, silly! It was Pamela Hayes, an attorney and a member of the US Bishops' Conference National Review Board for Protection of Children and Young People.

Apparently Ms. Hayes thinks we only need to worry about "protecting" children once they've survived the gauntlet of abortion, harvesting for embryonic stem-cells, fetal experimentation, and partial-birth abortion.

When questioned by the National Catholic Register about contributions to Emily’s List, whose purpose is to elect pro-abortion politicians, $2,000 in donations to the John Kerry for President campaign and two $250 gifts to pro-abortion Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Ms. Hayes responded:
“I’ve contributed to a lot of pro-choice candidates, and so what? So what?” Hayes told the Register. “What are they going to do about it? If they don’t like it, then don’t put me on the board. If they’ve got a problem with that, you tell them they’ve got a problem.”

Ms. Hayes then went on to boast of her efforts to further the Culture of Death:
“They haven’t a clue how much money I’ve given to her,” Hayes said of Clinton in an interview Oct. 21. “I’ve given her way more than that, and I mean a lot more. In addition, I was on her finance committee and raised substantial amounts of money for her.”

Over on Amy's blog (thanks, BTW, for the link), some are wondering on what basis people should be selected for positions such as the review board. I don't know what on what criteria the people on the Board were selected, but obviously, given the presence of Hayes, and others like Leon Panetta and Bob Bennett, fidelity to Catholic teaching didn't figure very high on the list.

It seems to me a pretty simple proposition: In any position where people are working for the Bishops, and can in some sense be said to represent the Church, and are given responsibility and trust in that position, such people should be thoroughly Catholic. They should give unqualified assent to the essential teachings of the Church, and be able to wholeheartedly witness the truth of the Catholic faith. They should certainly not dissent from Church teaching in key areas, nor should they give scandal by supporting those who do.

Is that really too much to ask? Given that some of the new appointees to the Review Board refused to comment on support for pro-abortion candidates, it would seem that, for the US Bishops, it may still be.

A Confused Young Man

I probably don't check my comment boxes often enough. This is especially true when I am away from the blog for an extended period, as I have been for almost 2 weeks (sorry about that - been busy).

So I am only just now responding to a confused young man named "Nathan", who left the following comment to my post about John Kerry "lying low" a while back:
Father, if I may ask, which parish in which diocese are you serving? I ask because I'd like to write to your diocesan bishop and talk to him about how you're risking the diocese's, or at least your parish's, tax exempt status on your weblog by openly campaigning against one candidate and endorsing the other.

I look forward to your response.

Of course, almost immediately after I wrote that blog, Senator Kerry, almost as though he were trying to prove me wrong, made several more confused utterances about being "guided by [his] faith", in matters of caring for the poor, the environment, etc. Strangely enough, Senator Kerry won't allow himself to be guided by his faith in the areas of abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, or protecting marriage. Most recently, Kerry urged his followers to walk with him "in the footsteps of the Lord" (thanks to Amy for the link). I wonder which footsteps of the Lord those would be? Does the Senator imagine that the Lord walks in lockstep with NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and NOW, as he does?

But, getting back to Nathan's comment, a perusal of his blog reveals that his confusion about the Church's tax examption matches, and in all likelihood is of a piece with, his confusion about Church teaching and a Catholic's political responsibility. For Nathan is one of the "Catholics For Kerry" who has convinced himself that it is somehow consistent with Catholic teaching to vote for a candidate who has literally never heard of an abortion he couldn't justify, a candidate who, in the words of Greg Sisk, is the "candidate of the abortion industry itself."

I have been critical of Senator Kerry, and I have argued, here, here, and here, that it is simply inconsistent with Catholic teaching to vote for a pro-abortion candidate such as John Kerry. I have repeatedly pointed out Church teaching that abortion is the foremost issue confronting us today, and that nothing outweighs it in moral gravity. I have also argued, as have others, that Cardinal Ratzinger's statement about remote material cooperation and proportionate reasons does not give one license to vote for pro-abortion candidates.

My arguments and statements have always been based on Church teaching, and not on partisan political concerns. And I have never "endorsed" any candidate. As I have written before, if Church teaching on life issues seems to cut more against one candidate or party because of their fanatical devotion to abortion, that's the candidate's or party's fault, not mine or the Church's

But the fact is that even were I making "political" statements (which I haven't been), I have just as much right, as a private person and citizen, to express those opinions as any layman. My comments on this blog are mine. They are not represented as, and no one could reasonably construe them as, officially expressing the pronouncements of either my parish or my diocese, the Diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan. This weblog belongs to me, not to my parish or diocese. Its content is in no way vetted or "approved" by them. Insofar as I voice Church teaching and explain it's consequences for how we live, including exercising our political rights, my remarks are above any partisan political agenda.

So, Nathan, nice try. If, as some suspected, you were trying to intimidate me into silence, it didn't and couldn't work. Personally, I don't think that's what he was trying to do, at least explicitly. I think his comment reflects nothing more than confusion. The idea that my comments here endanger the Church's tax exemption is merely silly.

But Nathan, if you really want to write my bishop, go right ahead. Send him copies of my previous blogs that I linked above. Explain to him how you think that we can follow John Kerry "in the footsteps of the Lord."

Here's my bishop's name and address:

The Most Reverend James A. Murray
Diocese of Kalamazoo
215 N. Westnedge Ave.
Kalamazoo, Michigan 49007