Sunday, February 27, 2005

Vatican Cardinal Speaks Out for Terri

Earlier this week, Cardinal Renato Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, spoke out against ending Terri Schiavo's life by dehydration and starvation. The Cardinal, citing constant Church teaching and more recent statements by Pope John Paul II, said:
“If Mr. Schiavo succeeds legally in causing the death of his wife, this not only would be tragic in itself, but would be a grave step toward the legal approval of euthanasia in the United States,” according to a Zenit News report.

“I would like to remind everyone in this connection, about all that the Holy Father has said in past days to the Pontifical Academy for Life, confirming that the quality of life is not interpreted as economic success, beauty and physical pleasure, but consists in the supreme dignity of the creature made in the image and likeness of God,” the Cardinal added. “No one can be the arbiter of life except God himself.”

Now that Cardinal Martino has spoken, will that move the Bishop of St. Petersburg, Robert Lynch, to a forceful witness on behalf of Terri? As I remarked in this week's Crisis E-Letter, Bishop Lynch has been all-but invisible regarding Terri. And the Florida Bishops' Conference hasn't been much help, either, issuing only this rather weak statement earlier this month.

The problem, as my friend Brian Saint-Paul said in the E-Letter, is that these bishops seem to be unwilling to actually apply Church teaching to what is known about Terri's case.

We've had bishops from outside Florida, such as Bishop Brusekwitz of Lincoln, Nebraska, and Archbishop Burke of St. Louis, speak out strongly in support of Terri's right to live. The Pope made a very forceful statement about the right to nutrition and hydration at a medical conference on PVS last Spring. Now we have a Cardinal at the Vatican speaking out.

Where are the Bishops of Florida?