Courts rule on life, death - Catholic Courier

Courts rule on life, death

To the editor:

In his “Essays in Theology” of August 2005, Father Richard McBrien stated, “The autopsy report removed all doubt that the withdrawal of the feeding tube, far from being an act of euthanasia or even outright murder, was entirely consistent with traditional Catholic moral principles.”

Father Pavone, Priests for Life, in an article by Emily Stimpson entitled “A State-Enforced Killing” appearing in Franciscan Summer 2005 said, “’This was a state-enforced killing. Terri was not dying. She was not comatose. She was not on life support. She did not have a terminal illness. This was a disabled person who was healthy.’”

Despite Terri’s responsiveness and despite the doctors who insisted rehabilitative therapy could help her, a local Florida judge classified Terri as existing in a permanent vegetative state and placed her in hospice care for terminally ill. This classification made it possible for Michael, the husband, to petition the courts for the withdrawal of her feeding tube.

It is obvious from the two priestly opinions that Father Pavone’s opinion is from more than 10 years’ association with Terri Schiavo, and Father McBrien’s a case study after the fact.

Father McBrien should have a good look at 2277 of the Catechism. “Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick or dying persons …”

That’s what happened to Terri Schiavo. Counting the number of neurons after 14 days plus of starvation and death says nothing about therapy and treatment possibilities before death. It does say the courts have power of life and death.

Vincent J. Santilli

East Second Street


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