As is well-known (except to a traditional priest in the eastern part of the United States of America, who told a man in 2012 that I supported the execution by starvation and dehydration of the late Mrs. Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo), I wrote many articles against the court-ordered starvation and dehydration of the late Mrs. Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo. I spoke at a rally in her defense on Saturday, March 12, 2005, that was held directly across the street from the hospice in Pinellas Park, Florida, where her execution by starvation and dehydration would commence six days later. The earliest article that I wrote on the subject was published on October 19, 2003, A Persistent Paralytic State. Another article, Affirming the Merchants of Death, was published on the American Life League website on November 11, 2003. (Those articles--as well as the ones written in 2005--were, of course, written when I was a sedeplenist who practiced the "resist but recognize" ecclesiology that I now recognize to be erroneous. It was because I still held onto the fiction of the legitimacy of Wojtyla/John Paul II's claim to be the Successor of Saint Peter that those articles were pretty widely circulated in "mainstream" circles, the last time that that would happen. One loses a lot of earthly "influence" and "respect" when one comes to understand that the Catholic Church cannot give us false doctrines and liturgies that are incentives to impiety and that are offensive to God. Deo gratias!)
The information that I obtained about the late Mrs. Schiavo's case was not from any television news network or from some mindless blatherer on the radio. I worked closely with those who knew Mrs. Schiavo's parents, Robert and Mary Schindler. Several of the people with whom I worked made frequent visits to her bedside through the last years of her life. The basic principle of Catholic moral teaching that I used in the analyses that I wrote was adduced from the Fifth Commandment prohibition against taking any action that has as its first and only end the death of an innocent human being. There is only one thing that can result from the removal of food and water, no matter how administered, to a living human being: death. Mrs. Schiavo was not near death. A brain-damaged person is not a dead person. A brain-damaged person is a living human being, something that will be repeated throughout this article just in case anyone is apt to forget this fact. Indeed, there have been so many cases of supposedly "brain dead" human beings awakening in the past decade that anyone who lingers to the fiction of such "death," which was invented by the medical industry in 1968 as the justification for harvesting human bodies for their vital bodily members, is closing his eyes to truth. See, for example, No Room In The Inn For Jahi McMath, Every Once In A While, Dr. Paul Byrne on Brain Death, Stories That Speak For Themselves, Headless Corpses?, First-Hand Evidence Of Fraud, Why Should Death Of Any Kind Get In The Way?, Grand Illusion, Every Once In A While, Canada's Death Panels: A Foretaste of ObamaCare, Someone Was Killed To Keep "J.R." Alive, Trying To Find Ever New And Inventive Ways To Snatch Bodies, Dispensing With The Pretense of "Brain Death", Good Rule Of Thumb: Reject What Conciliarists Promote, To Avoid Suffering In The Name Of Compassion, Just Obey God, Death To Us All, Choosing To Live In States Of Apoplexy.
Human beings need assistance to eat and to drink when they are newborn infants. Some may need assistance to eat and drink after an accident or a stroke. Food and water are basic to the survival of a human being. And while the mere sustaining of physical life is not the ultimate end of our existence, it is never permissible to withdraw food and water from a person who is not in danger of imminent death and cannot assimilate food (or for whom food and water actually exacerbates his condition prior to death). This appeared to me to be basic and beyond question. I did not understand at the time how any believing Catholic could assert that there were moral principles that could justify the removal of food and water, thus causing death not as a secondary end but as the only end of said removal.
Many saints, including Saint Camillus de Lellis and Saint John of God and Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, spent themselves in service to the incurables of their own day, seeing in them the very image of the Divine Redeemer, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Two of the Corporal Works of Mercy are to feed the hungry and to give drink to the thirsty. While it is indeed the case that the point of human existence is not be kept alive indefinitely by the use of artificial means, food and water, no matter how administered, are ordinary care provided to living human beings. The late Mrs. Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo was a living human being. She was brain damaged. She was not dead. She was nowhere near death. Anyone who asserts this has his facts completely wrong. There is no such thing as brain death, as Dr. Paul Byrne discussed in his interview with Mrs. Randy Engel in 2007, Dr. Paul Byrne on Brain Death (From The Michael Fund Newsletter).
As I have in the past, therefore, I want to summarize once again the moral principles and salient facts of Mrs. Schiavo's case, noting that what made her case extraordinary was that she had family members who wanted to save her life and who had the financial wherewithal to support her over the course of time as there are plenty of people who get starved and dehydrated to death in this country precisely because no one objects to their being so executed. Indeed, this is daily occurrence throughout the so-called "civilized" Western world.
I. General Moral Principles
1) The morality of an act is determined by its objective nature. An evil act can never be made "moral" as a result of extenuating circumstances. An act that is otherwise licit might be immoral to pursue as a result of a preponderance of foreseen evil consequences that outweigh the good end to be sought (the principle of Proportionality).
2) Innocent human life is inviolable.
3) It is never permissible to undertake any action that has as its immediate and sole end the death of an innocent human being.
4) The preservation of physical life is not an ultimate end in and of itself requiring a variety of extraordinary medical means to preserve it.
4.1) To wit, no one is required in most instances to undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer–or to undergo coronary bypass or heart valve replacement surgery, admitting that one’s age and circumstances have a bearing to play on whether there is any moral obligation to undertake such treatment or to submit to such surgery (a thirty year old married man with children may have an obligation to consider such treatment whereas there would be no such obligation in most instances for a man in his seventies or eighties, admitting that one has the option, of course, to choose such treatment if he is not being a burden unnecessarily to himself or others in doing so, as Pope Pius XII made clear in 1957).
4.2) As I have written on many occasions, one may not be required to use ventilator to sustain his body's involuntary function of breathing. Decisions to use or to continue extraordinary means, which are to be outlined in durable power of attorney forms and not in the death warrants that are called, most euphemistically, as "living wills" (see an article by Miss Mary Therese Helmueller, on the danger of living wills, Are You Being Targeted For Euthanasia?), depend upon a variety of circumstances. Such decisions involve what is known as the principle of the "double-fold effect," that is, that a morally licit action is undertaken that might result in a foreseen but unintended consequence that is not directly willed as the first end of the morally licit action.
4.3) For example, breathing is a involuntary function of the human body. Ventilators provide oxygen to the body to breathe, thus supplying oxygen to the other organs of the body to help them function, sometimes more easily and without taxing the heart of an already weakened person, sometimes affording a person near death the means to be kept alive. The removal of a ventilator permits the body to do what it will or will not do on its own power. There are many instances of people living for years after the removal of a ventilator as they could breathe all on their own power.
A health-care professional wrote to me five years ago to me to provide a brief, concise explanation of how the ventilator works:
The ventilator provides enough pressure into the lungs that they inflate in order to receive the oxygen, then it allows passive exhalation via a valve that closes off the inbound air from the ventilator (again, this can be ambient and not even more highly oxygenated). So, it is more than the "assistance of oxygen" - the ventilator actually causes breathing itself, thus supplying some amount of oxygen, be it ambient or increased percentage above ambient (21% oxygen in ambient air). So, the ventilator is not only for increased oxygen but FIRST for breathing.
Increased oxygen can be given through a nasal tube or mask when the patient' involuntary breathing integrity is not challenged, i.e. the patient can inhale and exhale on his own. So, the first purpose of ventilator use is to bring about breathing, and the second assistance could be increased oxygenation if necessary. Only the testing of some arterial blood can show the percentage of oxygen in a patient's blood - and would reveal respiration - poor or satisfactory. We call this a "blood gas" measurement.
4.4) If a person dies as a result of the removal of a ventilator, however, that death, although a foreseen possible consequence of removing the ventilator to permit a person's body to perform or not on its own, that death is not directly willed as the first end of the morally licit action of removing a device that has keep an involuntary function of body performing IF the patient has agreed to such a removal (or has delegated someone in a durable power of attorney to do so) and only AFTER he has received the Sacrament of Extreme Unction and is thus prepare to die a good death while wearing the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Pope Pius XII outlined these basic principles in an allocution he gave to anesthesiologists in Italy on November 24, 1957:
1. Does the anesthesiologist have the right, or is he bound, in all cases of deep unconsciousness, even in those that are considered to be completely hopeless in the opinion of the competent doctor, to use modern artificial respiration apparatus, even against the will of the family?
In ordinary cases one will grant that the anesthesiologist has the right to act in this manner, but he is not bound to do so, unless this becomes the only way of fulfilling another certain moral duty.
The rights and duties of the doctor are correlative to those of the patient. The doctor, in fact, has no separate or independent right where the patient is concerned. In general he can take action only if the patient explicitly or implicitly, directly or indirectly, gives him permission. The technique of resuscitation which concerns us here does not contain anything immoral in itself. Therefore the patient, if he were capable of making a personal decision, could lawfully use it and, consequently, give the doctor permission to use it. On the other hand, since these forms of treatment go beyond the ordinary means to which one is bound, it cannot be held that there is an obligation to use them nor, consequently, that one is bound to give the doctor permission to use them.
The rights and duties of the family depend in general upon the presumed will of the unconscious patient if he is of age and sui jurist. Where the proper and independent duty of the family is concerned, they are usually bound only to the use of ordinary means.
Consequently, if it appears that the attempt at resuscitation constitutes in reality such a burden for the family that one cannot in all conscience impose it upon them, they can lawfully insist that the doctor should discontinue these attempts, and the doctor can lawfully comply. There is not involved here a case of direct disposal of the life of the patient, nor of euthanasia in any way: this would never be licit. Even when it causes the arrest of circulation, the interruption of attempts at resuscitation is never more than an indirect cause of the cessation of life, and one must apply in this case the principle of double effect and of "voluntarium in cause."
2. We have, therefore, already answered the second question in essence: "Can the doctor remove the artificial respiration apparatus before the blood circulation has come to a complete stop? Can he do this, at least, when the patient has already received Extreme Unction? Is this Extreme Unction valid when it is administered at the moment when circulation ceases, or even after?"
We must give an affirmative answer to the first part of this question, as we have already explained. If Extreme Unction has not yet been administered, one must seek to prolong respiration until this has been done. But as far as concerns the validity of Extreme Unction at the moment when blood circulation stops completely or even after this moment, it is impossible to answer "yes" or "no."
If, as in the opinion of doctors, this complete cessation of circulation means a sure separation of the soul from the body, even if particular organs go on functioning, Extreme Unction would certainly not be valid, for the recipient would certainly not be a man anymore. And this is an indispensable condition for the reception of the sacraments.
If, on the other hand, doctors are of the opinion that the separation of the soul from the body is doubtful, and that this doubt cannot be solved, the validity of Extreme Unction is also doubtful. But, applying her usual rules: "The sacraments are for men" and "In case of extreme measures" the Church allows the sacrament to be administered conditionally in respect to the sacramental sign. (Address to an International Congress of Anesthesiologists, November 24, 1957, right dab on my sixth birthday!)
4.5) While some have tried to apply this allocution to the provision of food and water by artificial means, something that is neither costly or burdensome in any way today, such an application is erroneous.
4.6) Food and water, no matter how administered, do not constitute "medical treatment," whether ordinary or extraordinary. Eating and drinking are voluntary functions of the human body with which need assistance at the beginning of our lives as infants and sometimes at the end of our lives or when we have been the victims of a trauma that renders us incapable of eating on our own.
4.7) The removal of food and water, no matter how administered, can result in only one possible end: the death of an innocent human being. The principle of the double-fold effect does not apply here as the proposed course of action, the removal of food and water from an incapacitated human being who is no more near death than anyone else but simply needs assistance in eating and drinking, is morally illicit and can not be undertaken so as to cause the death of an innocent human being.
As the late Father Martin Stepanich, O.F.M., S.T.D., noted in a letter that he had written to me in 2008:
As for a feeding tube being an "extraordinary means" of keeping a helpless patient alive, there is not doubt that it is "extraordinary" in the sense that such a tube is not the ordinary means of nourishing anyone, since God equipped us humans with mouths for partaking of food and drink and some of the medications needed. And, when feeding tubes were first introduced they were plainly something "extraordinary." However, in the course of time, they became quite commonly used, so that they could not really be looked upon as "extraordinary" any longer. They became ordinary means of keeping helpless patients alive, and they have saved the lives of countless many.
But whatever may have been the real or pretended reason why Michael Schiavo had Terri's feeding tube removed, it was all done in a very ugly way that it is sickening just to think about it. And it cannot be repeated too often that the merciless termination of Terri cannot possibly be justified before God. If Terri had bene already close to death at the time her feeding tube was removed, the only decent and humane thing to do would have been to continue providing her with what food or drink and medication she could still handle, and as long as it did her any good, and at that the same time to do the best to lessen her suffering until she peacefully expired. But to finish her off with a cruel starvation and dehydration? Never!
5) No one may undertake an action in the midst of a sickness that can have only his own death as its end. Suicide is excluded by the Fifth Commandment and by the binding precepts of the Natural Law that flow therefrom.
6) No one may authorize others to undertake actions in the midst of a sickness that can have only his death as its sole end. No one may assist in the suicide of others.
7) Spouses or parents who are derelict in their duty to provide basic care for their spouses or children in times of traumatic experiences may be deposed. Neither spousal or parental rights are absolute. Both are subject to being yielded, albeit rarely and only in the most grave circumstances after exhortations to duty have failed to remedy the case of dereliction, in the face of the demands of the good of others involving life and death, both eternal and physical.
II. Observations of the Supernatural Order
1) A brain-damaged human being who is dependent upon others for nutrition and hydration is not being “impeded” from going back to God. It is He alone Who wills the time of the death of each of us.
2) A brain-damaged human being is no nearer to death than any one of us. To assert that the continuation of food and water, no matter how administered, to a living human being is “impeding” their return to God is to assert that any human being is thus impeding his return to God by eating and drink, hence making the Albigensians correct in their despising of their physical lives.
3) A brain-damaged human being is permitted by God to suffer over the course of decades, possibly, to help Him to redeem the world, making reparation for his own sins and those of the whole world. (One can do this by praying to offer up his future sufferings prospectively in the course of his daily prayers.)
3.1) Even those who have not offered up their future sufferings prospectively are helping Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to redeem the world by being a source of grace for those who administer to them in their time (however long or short that may be) of need. This is not an option in the supernatural order. We would not starve and dehydrate Our Lord. How can we starve and dehydrate members of His Mystical Body? Is it a burden to serve the suffering Christ around the clock, if necessary?
3.2) We must see the suffering Christ in those around us who are dependent upon us for their daily needs, counting it as a joy to serve them as we would serve Our Blessed Lord Himself. Does not the example of Saint Camillus de Lellis mean anything to us any more? Did he not care for the “hopeless” cases of his time? Was not he determined to serve the “hopeless” as he would serve Our Blessed Lord Himself? How has any of this changed?
3.3) A life spent in a state of a degree of brain damage is not one that is “wasted.” To care for another as we would care for Our Lord Himself earns merit for us and helps us to deny ourselves as we help another carry his cross as Simon of Cyrene helped Our Lord to carry His Holy Cross.
III. Personal Experience in and Knowledge of Such Cases
1) A Roman Catholic priest, aged 45, had a stroke around 1993. He was from Armenia, speaking English fluently. His parents spoke very little English. Hospital officials had decided to starve and dehydrate the priest, whose name I do not recall, to death because he was said to be in a “persistent vegetative state.”
Contacted in 1995 by several Catholics Catholics, I conducted an investigation for purposes of writing an article for The Wanderer. These are the facts:
1.1) The priest’s parents consented to the starvation and dehydration because they accepted the word of their son’s attending physicians that his condition was “irreversible.”
1.2) The priest himself, however, did understand what was going on around him. He communicated with blinks of the eyes to my informants when they visited him.
1.3) There is an important lesson here: most physicians today lie about the state of patients in these conditions. Why not? Most physicians support baby-killing. What is the big deal about lying when you support killing and/or have killed human beings yourself? To take the “word” of doctors seeking to declare a patient’s condition to be “irreversible” is imprudent and contrary to empirical evidence.
1.4) My informants asked the priest if he wanted to be starved and dehydrated to death. He blinked his eyes to signal no (after the Catholics I knew had gotten him to confirm that he could understand them by blinking his eyes once for yes and twice for no). Tears welled up in his eyes when he was told what would happen to him.
1.5) Physicians dismissed the “blinking” of the eyes as “meaningless reflexes,” which is one of the standard ways by which they seek to dehumanize living human beings.
1.6) Pleas made to the priest’s parents to stop the dehydration and starvation of their son fell on deaf eyes. They believed that the doctors “knew best.”
1.7) The priest was starved and dehydrated to death.
1.8) I wrote up the story for The Wanderer, seeking comment from the hospital’s administrator. I remember well where I was when I checked my answering machine and listened to the feminist nun’s message, which threatened to sue everyone involved if the story was published. I was in a pay phone booth in front of an H.E.B. Supermarket in Corpus Christi, Texas, where I was to speak that evening.
1.9) I was undaunted by the threat. I had the facts cold. My informants, though, were spooked by the threat. The story never saw the light of day.
2) As noted earlier, Miss Mary Therese Helmueller, R.N., gave a talk at a conference in New Jersey in February of 1997 that was sponsored by Keep the Faith, Inc. Among the speakers at this conference was Dr. Harry Wu, who had been released just two years before from a Red Chinese slave labor camp for being a political dissent. Dr. Wu spoke of how Red Chinese officials dissected political prisoners alive–and without anesthesia–to take out their body parts and to sell them on the international black market.
2.1) Miss Helmueller related the following story, which was then included as an article in Homiletic and Pastoral Review:
How can this happen? A serious problem lies in the definition and interpretation of “terminal illness” which permits the inclusion of chronic illnesses and disabilities. Terminal illness is defined as “an incurable or irreversible illness which produces death within six months.” The fact is that many chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure are incurable and irreversible and without medical treatment such as insulin and other medications these illnesses would also produce death within six months. Therefore, those with chronic illnesses or disabilities can be conveniently denied medical treatment and even food and water to make them terminal. Typically it is the elderly who arrive in the hospital that are at the greatest risk. But it could be ANYONE! Especially those whose life and suffering is viewed as useless and burdensome.
Difficult to believe? Well it was for our prolife lawyer until his mother-in-law was admitted to a hospital several months later for a stroke. She became “unresponsive” and “comatose” a few days after her admission. The neurologist wrote an order to transfer her to hospice refusing an I.V. and tube feeding stating “this is the most compassionate treatment.” Remembering my story, our lawyer requested the removal of all narcotics and demanded an I.V. and tube feeding. This infuriated the neurologist. He began to accuse the family of being uncompassionate and inhumane. To prove his point he began a neurological assessment on the patient. Just then she opened her eyes and pulling the physician’s neck tie, forced his face to hers and said very clearly “Give me some water!” It was obvious that she was awake, alert and orientated. He angrily cancelled the transfer to hospice and ordered a tube feeding and intravenous. Several weeks later she was discharged and was exercising on the treadmill! She escaped the death sentence. Unfortunately many others like my grandmother have not. A stroke does not make you terminal but not receiving food and water does! (See Are You Being Targeted For Euthanasia?, mindful of having to work through a few references to John Paul II.)
2.2) The facts Miss Helmueller presented will disabuse anyone of any trust in the “word” of attending physicians about the true state of those who are brain-damaged or declared to be “incurable.” Several have been the cases in recent years of those diagnosed as being in a “persistent vegetative state” of recovering after over twenty years in such a state, including some that have publicized recently.
3) Another case involved the late Hugh Finn. Hugh Finn was a popular television anchorman in Louisville, Kentucky, when he was injured in an automobile accident in March of 1995, suffering damage to his brain.
3.1) His wife, Michele Finn, moved him eventually to a facility in Manassas, Virginia, where he received minimal care and no rehabilitation.
3.2) Consider just these facts as related by Mrs. Mary Ann Kreitzer:
Michele called for a meeting in June at the nursing home where the Medical Director, Dr. Robin Merlino, announced they were going to "terminate" Hugh's feeding the next day. The announcement, a bombshell, sparked immediate objections from the family. Michele was determined. According to Tom Finn, a few days later she "chewed my head off and wanted to know why I wouldn't do what she wanted." Doctors had told her Hugh was in persistent vegetative state (PVS) and would never recover. He wouldn't want to live like that, Michele insisted. Finn was so angry over the exchange he told Hugh Michele was going to kill him, an act he immediately regretted. "[Hugh's] face turned red. He pinched his lips in. His hands were on his chest grabbing [at his clothing]. He shivered and shivered for 45 minutes. I had begun to believe what the doctors said [about PVS], but then I knew. 'You do understand!'"
Hugh's parents and siblings weren't the only ones who disagreed. Michele's own mother and sister opposed her. Mary Margaret Keely, Michele's mom, didn't believe the PVS diagnosis which describes a patient as unaware of his surroundings and unresponsive. At Christmas Hugh had thanked her for a gift and asked for Elaine, Michele's sister. I met Mrs. Keely at All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas. When she heard what Michele was going to do, she said, she immediately went to see her. "I told Michele I love her unconditionally, but I couldn't support her in what she was doing."
As things heated up John Finn, Hugh's brother, representing the family challenged Michele for guardianship. At the July hearing before Judge Hoss in Prince William Circuit Court he lost. Hoss gave Michele permission to remove the tube after 30 days and assessed John Finn $13,300 of her legal fees plus other expenses. The Finns planned to appeal.
Delegate Bob Marshall enters the fray
In September, with the family in total turmoil, Elaine Glazier, Michele's sister, horrified by the decision to starve her brother-in-law, called VA State Delegate Bob Marshall for help. She said Hugh was able to speak until March when a medication was discontinued. Marshall documented other troubling aspects of the case. A shunt put in to drain fluid from the brain hadn't been checked for over a year. If blocked it could affect Hugh's ability to speak. Hugh showed many behaviors inconsistent with PVS: tracking people with his eyes, following directions, nodding yes and no to questions, kissing, singing, and using eye signals. On Father's Day of 1997 he lifted his leg at daughter Keely's request. During the summer of 1998 he twice told nurse's aide Aubrey Elliott, "You can go now!" Because Hugh sometimes didn't swallow, a sign was posted over the bed reading "nothing by mouth." When a layman from All Saints who brought Holy Communion told Hugh he couldn't give it to him, Hugh cried. Marshall questioned the PVS diagnosis and called for a state investigation. Euthanasia is illegal in Virginia, but the Health Care Decisions Act permits dehydration and starvation of PVS patients who show "loss of consciousness, with no behavioral evidence of self awareness of surroundings in a learned manner." More and more states around the country are passing this type of legislation which many believe is 1990's doublespeak for "useless eater," an excuse to eliminate the helpless. Doubt about the PVS diagnosis was heightened when state nurse, Marie Saul, visited Hugh on Sept. 18th and reported he said "Hi" to her and smoothed his hair. "I was surprised at how normal he looked...If it had not been for his lack of responses...I would not have thought that he would be diagnosed as chronic vegetative." Despite her report, Judge Hoss denied a new hearing to reevaluate Hugh's condition. He did not order a PET scan test which can more accurately determine PVS, even though research shows patients are routinely misdiagnosed. [43% according to the British Medical Journal of July and October 1996.] Meanwhile, the media described Hugh as "comatose" and "vegetative" and implied he was terminal and being kept alive by artificial means. In a letter to the Washington Post after Hugh's death, his brother, Ed Finn, put that lie to rest. "Up until shortly before he died, my brother was unconscious only during regular sleep cycles. He was conscious at other times". . . .
It took Hugh nine days to die of dehydration. I met Joan Finn, his mother, outside the nursing home on October 7th. Obviously distraught she said, "Don't let anyone ever tell you this isn't a horrible way to die. No law should allow this!" A few days earlier she told a reporter "I just don't think that [Hugh] should be put to death. Tom and I are willing to take care of him." Except when sleeping, Hugh remained conscious with eyes open for eight days as the press reported his mouth drying out and his deteriorating condition. While the media quoted doctors' assurances of a comfortable death, the nursing home administered morphine and Hugh's parents said he seemed to be in pain and was "moaning and groaning something awful." On October 8th Hugh slipped into a coma and died the next morning. Michele had instructed the nursing home not to notify the Finns when Hugh died, so they didn't even receive the courtesy of a phone call. (Murder in Manassas, Virginia)
3b) My own investigation of the Hugh Finn case–and the subterfuge practiced by physicians–was published in The Wanderer. Much of the same information contained in Mrs. Kreitzer’s report was obtained in the process. Indeed, Hugh Finn's sister-in-law walked me through the history of the case as after she had opposed her own sister's plans to remove Mr. Finn's nutrition and hydration. The pattern was the same as that observed by Miss Helmueller and that which I had seen at work in the case of the Armenian priest.
IV. Mrs. Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo
1) Here is a review of the facts of Mrs. Schiavo’s case (as taken directly from the "Timeline" under "Terri's Story" at Terri's Fight website):
1.1)Terri Schindler Schiavo collapsed at home in the early morning hours of February 25, 1990. She was 26 years and 3 months old. Paramedics responded to the scene, and Terri was admitted to Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg.
1.2) Initial tests ruled out a heart attack or drug involvement. No diagnosis was made as to the underlying cause of her collapse, but the medical records indicate a discharge diagnosis of hypoxic encephalopathy – brain injury caused by oxygenation starvation to the brain. She was on a ventilator for the first few weeks but ultimately was taken off mechanical life support and has been breathing on her own since this time.
1.3) In June of 1990, Michael Schiavo, Terri’s husband, was appointed her plenary guardian by the courts. This happened without Terri’s immediately family ever being notified. Schiavo was made both the guardian of the person and of her property.
1.4) Also in 1990, Michael took Terri to California for experimental brain surgery. He did so without prior court approval, required by Florida’s guardianship statutes. A thalamac stimulator was provided to Terri and she was soon transferred to a rehabilitation facility in Florida.
1.5) In 1991, the rehabilitation center recorded notes indicating Terri was speaking during physical therapy sessions, saying things such as “No”, “Stop” and “Mommy.”
1.6) In July of that year, Terri was transferred to Sable Palms Nursing Facility in Largo, Fl. For a short time following, she was provided physical therapy. This was all stopped in 1991 and was the last documented therapy ever provided to Terri.
1.7) In 1992, Michael Schiavo initiated a medical malpractice suit against Terri’s doctors, a general practitioner and a gynolocologist, claiming that she may have suffered from an eating disorder which they failed to detect. At trial, the Chief of Rehabilitation from Bayfront Medical Center and a second rehabilitation specialist both testified that Terri could expect a normal life span and would require extensive care throughout her life.
1.8) Based on that and other evidence, the jury awarded Michael Schiavo $600,000 for loss of spousal consortium and over $1.5 million to Terri. Of this, $780,000 was placed in trust to provide for Terri’s future healthcare and therapeutic needs.
1.9) On February 14, 1993, Michael Schiavo and Terri’s parents had a disagreement over the course of her care and the use of her trust to provide therapy. Terri’s parents urged Michael Schiavo to begin therapy for Terri once again. He declined. Schiavo discontinued any contact with Terri’s family and took steps to reduce their access to her.
1.10) In August of that same year, Michael Schiavo’s guardianship was challenged in the courts by Terri’s family after he denied antibiotic treatment for a urinary tract infection. He testified at the time that he knew doing so would cause her death and he stated, under oath, that he would not attempt such an action again because “there’s some law out there that says I can’t.”
1.11) In 1997, Michael Schiavo sought out the services of attorney George Felos, a right-to-die litigator.
1.12) In May of 1998, Felos filed a Petition to Withdraw Life Support. The court appointed a Guardian ad Litem to investigate the merits of this petition and he reported to the court that the petition should be denied, based on conflicts of interest by Michael Schiavo. Attorney Felos objected on claims of bias and the court dismissed the Guardian ad Litem without ever appointing a successor.
1.13) In January of 2000, the Petition to Withdraw Life Support was heard by Judge George W. Greer in Pinellas-Pasco’s Sixth Judicial Circuit.. As support for his petition, Michael Schiavo testified that Terri told him in the mid-1980s that she would not want life support after the couple had watched a movie depicting a patient on a ventilator. Schiavo’s brother and sister-in-law also testified that Terri had made statements to them regarding mechanical life support. Judge Greer found this testimony to be clear and convincing evidence that Terri Schiavo would deny herself the provision of a gastric feeding tube in the event of a profound disability and ordered that her tube be removed.
1.14) Terri was admitted to the Hospice of the Florida Suncoast shortly after the conclusion of the 2000 trial. Records on file with Florida’s Division of Corporations show that attorney George Felos acted as the Hospice’s Chairman of the Board at that time and up until his resignation in 2002.
1.15) Later that year, Terri’s family appealed the February 11, 2000 order and the Second District Court of Appeals affirmed Greer’s ruling. The matter was appealed to the Florida Supreme Court, who declined to hear the case, and to the Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear the case. On April 21, 2001, Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube was removed.
1.16) After Terri had endured more than sixty hours without nutrition and hydration, Judge Frank Quesada issued an injunction to resume her nourishment. Based on evidence from a former romantic interest of Michael Schiavo’s that he stated he had never discussed Terri’s wishes, Judge Quesada determined that Terri’s case should be reheard.
1.17) In October of 2001, Terri’s family filed a Motion for Relief from Judgment before Judge George W. Greer and provided new evidence that Terri’s neurological condition was better than previously speculated and offered numerous affidavits from medical professionals in support of their claim. Judge Greer denied their motion without a hearing and without review of the supporting affidavits. Upon appeal, the case was remanded back to Judge Greer for a medical evidentiary hearing.
1.18) In October of 2002, Greer’s court held the medical evidentiary trial. Six physicians testified. Of those, one was a noted right-to-die advocate and another was a business partner to Michael Schiavo’s attorney, George Felos. Videotapes of Terri were admitted into evidence and, though Florida’s statutes state that persistent vegetative state is the total absence of awareness and ability to communicate, Judge Greer – instead – based his ruling on the consistency of Terri’s reactions. He found her to be in a persistent vegetative state and reaffirmed his earlier ruling that she would want to die. The Second District Court of Appeals affirmed Greer’s ruling and mandated that he set a date for the removal of Terri’s feeding tube.
1.19) Judge Greer ordered that Terri’s enteral nourishment be removed on October 15, 2003. At that time, hundreds of people had gathered outside the Hospice where Terri resided. At least 180,000 signed a petition to Governor Jeb Bush of Florida to invoke Florida’s Adult Protective Custody statutes based on allegations of neglect and thousands more maintained a grassroots network of communication throughout the United States and abroad.
1.20) On October 20, 2003, a special session of the Florida Legislature was called and the House and Senate both considered and passed a bill into law, known as “Terri’s Law.” This new law afforded Governor Bush the authority to order to reinstatement of Terri’s nutrition and hydration and the appointment of an independent Guardian ad Litem.
1.21) Attorney Felos immediately filed suit, and Michael Schiavo’s behalf, challenging the constitutionality of the new law. On May 5, 2004 Judge Baird of the 6th Circuit court ruled that ‘Terri’s Law’ was unconstitutional. On September 23, 2004 the Florida Supreme Court affirmed Judge Baird's ruling that 'Terri's Law' is unconstitutional. The US Supreme Court refused review of the appeal.
1.22) In January of 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States refuses to hear Terri’s case.
1.23) On February 25, 2005, Judge George W. Greer sets feeding tube removal date for March 18, 2005. He further orders that Terri may not receive hydration or nutrition by mouth.
1.24) On March 18, 2005, Terri Schiavo’s gastric feeding tube is removed at approximately 1.40pm ET. She died on March 31, 2005, at 9:05 a.m.
2) The Reverend Frank Pavone’s eyewitness testimony of the final hours of Mrs. Schiavo’s life is mot compelling. (Yes, “Father” Pavone is not a true priest. However, his testimony about what happened is unimpeachable. George Felos would have had us believe that Mrs. Schiavo’s death was “painless” and “compassionate.” This is not so.):
I spent the night of March 30, 2005 in a Florida hospice. I was at the bedside of Terri Schiavo during the last 14 hours of her earthly life, right up until five minutes before her death. During that time with Terri, joined by her brother and sister, I expressed your care, concern, and prayers. I told Terri over and over that she had many friends around the country, many people who were praying for her and were on her side. I had also told her the same things during my visits to her in the months before her feeding tube was removed, and am convinced she understood.
I've known Terri's family since 1999. They put my name on the short, court-approved list of people who could visit Terri’s room, which had police officers stationed outside of it. If I were not on that visitor's list I could not get in that room beyond the armed guard. Why not? The euthanasia advocates had to be able to say that Terri was an unresponsive person in some kind of vegetative state, coma or whatever terminology they want to use to suggest that she was completely unresponsive. The only way to prove she was responsive was to see her for yourself.
I went to see her in September 2004 and again in February 2005. When her mom first introduced her to me, she stared at me intently. She focused her eyes. She would focus her eyes on whoever was talking to her. If somebody spoke to her from the other part of the room she would turn her head and her eyes towards the person who was talking to her.
Some of the doctors dared to say, "Oh, it's just unconscious reflex reactions." Interestingly, that's exactly the same thing abortion supporters say about the unborn child in the video The Silent Scream when the child opens his mouth and tries to move away from the instrument that is about to destroy him. They say, "Oh, that's just an automatic reflex." That's the phrase they always use to dehumanize a person.
I told Terri she had many people around the country and around the world who loved her and were praying for her. She looked at me attentively. I said, "Terri now we are going to pray together, I want to give you a blessing, let's say some prayers." So I laid my hand on her head. She closed her eyes. I said the prayer. She opened her eyes again at the end of the prayer. Her dad, who has a mustache, leaned over to kiss her and said, "OK Terri now here comes the tickle." She smiled and laughed and after he kissed her I saw her return the kiss. Her mom asked her a question at a certain point and I heard her voice. She was trying to respond. She was making sounds in response to her mother's question, not just at odd times and meaningless moments. I heard her trying to say something but she was not, because of her disability, able to articulate the words. She was certainly responsive.
The night before she died, I was in her room for probably a total of 3-4 hours, and then for another hour the next morning -- her final hour. To describe the way she looked as “peaceful” is a total distortion of what I saw. She was a person who for thirteen days had no food or water. She was, as you would expect, very drawn in her appearance as opposed to when I had seen her before. Her eyes were open but they were moving from one side to the next, constantly darting back and forth. I watched her for hours, and the best way I can describe the look on her face is “terrified sadness.”
Her mouth was open the whole time. It looked like it was frozen open. She was panting rapidly. It wasn't peaceful in any sense of the word. She was panting as if she had just run a hundred miles. It was a shallow panting. Her brother Bobby was sitting on one side of the bed I was on the other facing him. Terri's head in between us and her sister Suzanne was on my left. We sat there and we had a very intense time of prayer. And we were talking to Terri, urging her to entrust herself completely to the Savior. I assured her repeatedly of the love and prayers and concern of so many people.
We held her hand and stroked her head. During those hours, one of the things I did was to chant, in Latin, some of the most ancient hymns of the Church. One of the chants I used was the "Victimae Paschali Laudis," which is the ancient proclamation of the resurrection of Christ. There, as I saw before my eyes the deadly work of the Culture of Death, I proclaimed the victory of life. "Life and death were locked in a wondrous struggle," the hymn declares. "Life's Captain died, but now lives and reigns forevermore!"
And then we had just times of silence … just sitting there in silence trying to absorb what was happening.
Who else was in the room with me, Bobby, Suzanne and Terri? Police officers -- the whole time. There was always at least one, sometimes two, three, or more -- armed police officers in the room. Why were they in the room? They wanted to make sure that we didn't do anything that we weren't supposed to do, like give her communion or maybe a glass of water. In fact, Bobby, sitting on the other side of the bed, would occasionally stand up to lean over his sister. When he stood up and did that, the officer would move around towards the foot of the bed so that he could have a direct line of sight on what we were doing. The morning that she died we went in there fairly early and I had to go back outside in front of the hospice to do an interview. In order to go out on time I had a little timepiece in my hand. At the beginning of our visit I put it in my left hand, leaned over Terri and extended my right to bless her and we began praying. I closed my eyes and I felt a tap on my left hand. It was the police officer who said, "Father, what do you have in your hand?" I said, "Oh, officer, it's a little time piece." "I'll have to hold it while you're here," he said. We couldn't have anything in our hands. He didn't even know what it was. Maybe I was going to try to give her communion. Maybe I was going to try to moisten her lips. Who knows what terrible thing I was about to do?
There was a little night table in the room. I could put my hand on the table and on Terri's head all within arm’s reach. And on that table was a vase of flowers filled with water. And I looked at the flowers. They were beautiful. There were roses and other types of flowers and there was another vase at the foot of the bed. I saw two beautiful bouquets of flowers filled with water -- fully nourished, living, beautiful. And I said to myself, this is absurd, totally absurd. These flowers are being treated better than this woman. She has not had a drop of water for almost two weeks. Why are those flowers there? What type of hypocrisy is this? The flowers were watered. Terri wasn't. And had I dipped my hand in that water and put it on her tongue, the officer would have led me out, probably under arrest. Something is wrong here.
As the media reported, those who killed Terri were quite angry that I said so. The night before she died, I said to the media that her estranged husband Michael, his attorney Mr. Felos, and Judge Greer were murderers. I also pointed out, that night and the next morning, that contrary to Felos' description, Terri's death was not at all peaceful and beautiful. It was, on the contrary, quite horrifying. In all my years as a priest, I never saw anything like it before.
After I said these things, Mr. Felos and others in sympathy with him began attacking me in the press and before the cameras. Some news outlets began making a story out of their attacks and said I was "fanning the flames" of enmity and hatred.
Actually, there's a simple reason why they are so angry with me. They had hoped that they could present Terri's death as a merciful and gentle act. My words took the veil of euphemism away, calling this a killing, and giving eyewitness testimony to the fact that it was anything but gentle. Mr. Felos is a euthanasia advocate, and like all such advocates, he needs to manipulate the language, to sell death in an attractive package. Here he and his friends had a great opportunity to do so. But a priest, seeing their work close-up and then telling the world about it, just didn't fit into their plans.
One of the attacks they made was that a "spiritual person" like a priest should be speaking words of compassion and understanding, instead of venom. But compassion demands truth. A priest is also a prophet, and if he cannot cry out against evil, then he cannot bring about reconciliation. If there is going to be any healing between these families or in this nation, it must start with repentance on the part of those who murdered Terri and now try to cover it up with flowery language.
Another aspect of the Terri Schiavo tragedy is that many people misunderstand its cause and therefore its solution. They think the problem was that Terri did not leave any written instructions about whether she wanted to be kept alive. In order to avoid any such problem in their own lives, they are now told that they have to draw up a "living will." This is both erroneous and dangerous.
Terri's case is not about the withdrawal of life-saving medical treatment, but rather about the killing of a healthy person whose life some regarded as worthless. Terri was not dying, was not on life support, and did not have any terminal illness. Because some thought she would not want to live with her disability, they insisted on introducing the cause of death, namely, dehydration.
So what good is a living will supposed to accomplish, aside from saying, "Please don't argue about killing me, just kill me?"
The danger in our culture is not that we will be over-treated, but rather that we will be under-treated. We already have the right to refuse medical treatment. What we run the risk of losing is the right to receive the most basic humane care — like food and water — in the event we have a disability.
Our culture also promotes the idea that as long as we say we want to die, we have the right to do so. But we have a basic obligation to preserve our own life. A person who leaves clear instructions that they don’t want to be fed is breaking the moral law by requesting suicide. (Terri's Final Hours: An Eyewitness Account; see also Father William Jenkins's masterful refutation of the arguments made by Father Anthony Cekada in support of Mrs. Schiavo's death by starvation and dehydration, The execution of Theresa Marie Schiavo.)
3) The following is eminently clear from the facts of the case, both those stated above and those available elsewhere in the record:
3.1) Michael Schiavo violated court rules as a guardian to have experimental brain surgery done on his wife in 1991;
3.2) Michael Schiavo denied his wife any substantive therapy after 1991, including swallow tests, refusing all entreaties by his wife’s parents in 1994 to resume therapy;
3.3) Michael Schiavo had his wife moved to a hospice in violation of the laws of the State of Florida, which require physicians to certify that a patient is terminally ill and will die within six months. Mrs. Schiavo had no such terminal illness. George Felos, the “right to die attorney,” was the chairman of the board of the hospice to which she was moved in 2000.
3.4) There are also a number of medical affidavits from Catholic medical professionals available at the www.terrisfight.org website. One of the physicians, Dr. Jay Carpenter, practices medicine in Clearwater, Florida, and would certainly be open to being interviewed. He visited Terri on several occasions, making observations in an affidavit that is hereby appended. We must not, I believe, accept uncritically the “word” of those who accept the killing of children in the womb as a given and who are all too ready to endorse the withdrawal of food and water from anyone deemed to be “useless” in their eyes. This is at the heart of the whole Terri Schiavo case. It is why the parents of that Armenian priest consented to the death of their son: they took the “word” of the physicians.
3.5) A medical declaration was submitted by Dr. William Hammesfahr, a board-certified neurologist who actually examined Terri Schiavo, indicating that she could have improved with treatment. His testimony caused the pro-death community to try to discredit him. This is very interesting as a judge in Florida said that his treatment of stroke victims made him the “first physician to treat patients successfully to restore deficits caused by stroke.”
3.6) Judge George Greer denied Mrs. Schiavo the right to any food or hydration after her feeding and hydration tubes were removed. Do not the Corporal Works of Mercy apply even in the throes of death?
3.7) Mrs. Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo was not near death;
3.8) Mrs. Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo was not terminally ill;
3.9) Mrs. Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo was breathing on her own power;
3.10) Mrs. Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo could clearly respond to those around her;
3.11) Mrs. Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo was denied medical treatment by her husband, who spent monies awarded to him for her care on the seeking of the legal right to starve and dehydrate her to death. He had proven himself to be derelict in her care and should have been removed as her guardian.
3.12) Mrs. Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo was merely a brain-damaged human being whose existence had become “burdensome” for a husband eager to marry the mistress with whom he had fathered two children;
3.13) Mrs. Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo had parents who were willing to care for her and to assume the costs of that care (they were wealthy in their own right and did not need the medical malpractice award monies to care for her; those monies had been squandered by Michael Schiavo on George Felos and friends).
3.14) There was one and only one outcome that could have occurred–and did in fact occur–from the removal of Mrs. Schiavo’s feeding and hydration tube: her death.
Conclusion: An innocent human being, who was no closer to death than any one of us, was denied even the possibility of being fed and hydrated by mouth simply because she was brain-damaged and was said to be “hopeless” in the eyes of physicians who saw her rarely. How does the Fifth Commandment’s prohibition against the direct, intentional killing of an innocent human being permit such an action, whose one and only end is the death of an innocent human being?
The facts of Mrs. Schiavo’s case are relevant only if one comes to the judgment that the administration of food and water are considered to be “extraordinary” care in moral terms. The facts do not support such a removal of food and water. The basic moral principle that should have governed this case is a simple one: Do no harm.
While I full well recognize that this is a matter of the application of moral principles in a concrete case, we do not have the luxury in the world today of engaging in merely academic judgments about such concrete cases. We must know the facts with certainty. Physicians are seeking to starve and dehydrate the elderly and the infirmed with or without the consent of relatives. The fallacy of brain death is being used as a means of harvesting organs from living human beings (see appended testimony of Dr. Paul Byrne). We must get the facts right.
Those of us involved in Mrs. Schiavo’s case–and in other cases in the past–did not get our information from the Fox News Channel or Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity or Oprah Winfrey. I, for one, don’t waste my time on naturalists and their emotionalism. Those of us involved in such cases have dealt with facts, with truth. Nothing else.
While disagreements about which principles to use are understandable, it is also incumbent, as noted above, to get the facts right and to assess them not in an academic vacuum but in the face of the reality of the propensity of physicians to dehumanize living human beings--from the first moment of conception and at all points thereafter–-as they see fit to do so.
That "Bishop" Robert Lynch of the Diocese of Saint Petersburg, Florida, supported Michael Schiavo and has still retained his position despite the opposition (although couched in the "conciliarspeak" of "human dignity" rather a clear, statement of the moral principles at work in this case) of some in the conciliar Vatican to Mrs. Schiavo's execution by starvation and dehydration is a scandal beyond all telling. Just more proof of the fact that even the conciliar "bishops" can defy "official" Vatican policy and still get to keep their positions as "ordinaries" until they reach retirement age, something tht is even more true under Jorge Mario Bergoglio than it has been in the past, although neither "Saint John Paul II" or the "restorer of tradition," Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI purged perverted and/or "ultra-revolutionary" "bishops" the way that the Argentine Apostate has been going after those in his false "hierarchy" who show "counter-revolutionary" tendencies, shall we say. The morally corrupt Robert Lynch, a protege of the late Joseph "Cardinal" Bernardin (who was a true bishop), has been retained even though he opposed the period solemn exposition of what purported to be Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's Real Presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament in churches in his diocese in full contravention of the encouragement that Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II had given to these chapels. He is still in power in Saint Petersburg. Such is the "big tent" of the counterfeit church of conciliarism.
As noted a few days ago, utilitarianism must triumph over the time once the Social Reign of Christ the King is overthrown and replaced by the Reign of Man. Mrs. Mary Ann Kreitzer explained the prevailing attitude of physicians in the "democratic" Germany after World War I that enacted many provisions between 1919 and 1933 under the Weimar Constitution that were but harbingers of the policies of the Nazi regime and of our own country today:
In 1920 a German judge, Karl Binding, and a psychiatrist, Alfred Hoche, wrote a book called The Release of the Destruction of Life Devoid of Value. It justified euthanasia of "absolutely worthless human beings," those "mentally completely dead" with lives not worth living. That philosophy became the basis of the German Euthanasia program proposed by the Nazi Ministry of Justice on October 7, 1933 and implemented six years later. The program was planned and carried out by psychiatrists and medical doctors who systematically murdered over a million people: the mentally ill, World War I amputees, emotionally disturbed children, the elderly and others considered unfit to live. German citizens were killed by deliberate starvation, lethal injection, etc. The first gas chambers were erected on the wards of mental hospitals like Sonnenstein near Dresden. (Murder in Manassas, Virginia.)
Perhaps it is wise to reflect once again on the words of Bishop Clemens von Galens, who opposed to the Nazi eugenics laws in 1939:
If the principle that man is entitled to kill his unproductive fellow-man is established and applied, then woe betide all of us when we become aged and infirm! If it is legitimate to kill unproductive members of the community, woe betide the disabled who have sacrificed their health or their limbs in the productive process! If unproductive men and women can be disposed of by violent means, woe betide our brave soldiers who return home with major disabilities as cripples, as invalids! If it is once admitted that men have the right to kill “unproductive” fellow-men — even though it is at present applied only to poor and defenceless mentally ill patients — then the way is open for the murder of all unproductive men and women: the incurably ill, the handicapped who are unable to work, those disabled in industry or war. The way is open, indeed, for the murder of all of us when we become old and infirm and therefore unproductive. Then it will require only a secret order to be issued that the procedure which has been tried and tested with the mentally ill should be extended to other “unproductive” persons, that it should also be applied to those suffering from incurable tuberculosis, the aged and infirm, persons disabled in industry, soldiers with disabling injuries!
Then no man will be safe: some committee or other will be able to put him on the list of “unproductive” persons, who in their judgment have become “unworthy to live”. And there will be no police to protect him, no court to avenge his murder and bring his murderers to justice.
Who could then have any confidence in a doctor? He might report a patient as unproductive and then be given instructions to kill him! It does not bear thinking of, the moral depravity, the universal mistrust which will spread even in the bosom of the family, if this terrible doctrine is tolerated, accepted and put into practice. Woe betide mankind, woe betide our German people, if the divine commandment, “Thou shalt not kill”, which the Lord proclaimed on Sinai amid thunder and lightning, which God our Creator wrote into man's conscience from the beginning, if this commandment is not merely violated but the violation is tolerated and remains unpunished! (Bishop Clemens von Galen, Sermon Against the Nazis, August 3, 1941. See also Meet Some Catholics Truly Worth Admiring, part one and Always Asking All the Wrong Questions, part two.)
Mrs. Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo died ten years ago tomorrow, that is on Thursday, March 31, 2005, after thirteen days of a cruel death, being denied even the possibility of having her pain and suffering relieved by ice cubes. Many many die on a regular basis even in supposedly "Catholic" hospitals as a result of the cruelty of their being categorized as "beyond hope" and therefore beyond the ordinary care that we would give to Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Himself. It is no wonder that the chastisements that abound in the world today are upon us.
May we pray to Our Lady on this Monday in Holy Week that we will have the humility to make reparation for the many times that we have played the role of Judas Iscariot in our lives by selling out her Divine Son and His Holy Church in order to curry favor with the world and its false blandishments.
How many times have we dealt death blows to our own souls and to the Church Militant on earth by refusing to be a faithful witness to the truths of the Catholic Faith with our relatives and friends and co-workers and acquaintances?
How many times have we failed to see the suffering Christ in those who are enduring the cross of long term disabilities, thinking of them in utilitarian ways that would warm the coldest of Nazi or Soviet hearts?
May our Rosaries of reparation this day prepare us for the moderate rejoicing of Maundy Thursday in three days hence as we give thanks to Our Lord for His instituting the Holy Priesthood and the Holy Eucharist for our sanctification and salvation--and then for the solemnity of following Our Lord to the Mount of Olives and from there to the long hours of His trial before the Sanhedrin and His appearance before Pontius Pilate before the crowd that hailed him three days ago, prompted by our own sins having transcended time, called out for His Crucifixion as they chose Barabbas to be released instead of Him. May we never participate in the crucifixion of those who are considered "useless" by the world as these brothers and sisters of ours in the the King of Love on Calvary, people who we must treat as we would Our Lord Himself.
Requiem aeternam dona Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo. Domine, et lux perpetua luceat Theresa. Animae eorum, et animae omnium fidelium defunctorum per misericordiam Dei requiescant in pace.
Eternal rest grant unto Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon Theresa. May her soul--and all of the souls of the faithful departed--rest in peace. Amen.
Quaesumus Domine, pro tua pietate miserere animae famulae tuae Theresa: et a contagalis mortalitatis exutam, in aeternae salvationis partem restitue. Per Dominum.
We beseech Thee, O Lord, that of Thy loving kindness Thou have mercy on the soul of Thy handmaid, Theresa, free her from the defilements of this mortal life, and number her forevermore among the saved. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, who livest and reignest with Thee and the Holy Ghost, world without end, Amen.
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, Patron of Departing Souls, pray for us.
Vivat Christus Rex! Viva Cristo Rey!
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saint John of God, pray for us.
Saint Camillus de Lellis, pray for us.
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, pray for us.
Bishop Clemens von Galens Sermon of August 3, 1941
For some months we have been heating reports that inmates of establishments for the care of the mentally ill who have been ill for a long period and perhaps appear incurable have been forcibly removed from these establishments on orders from Berlin. Regularly the relatives receive soon afterwards an intimation that the patient is dead, that the patient's body has been cremated and that they can collect the ashes. There is a general suspicion, verging on certainty. that these numerous unexpected deaths of the mentally ill do not occur naturally but are intentionally brought about in accordance with the doctrine that it is legitimate to destroy a so-called “worthless life”” in other words to kill innocent men and women, if it is thought that their lives are of no further value to the people and the state. A terrible doctrine which seeks to justify the murder of innocent people, which legitimises the violent killing of disabled persons who are no longer capable of work, of cripples, the incurably ill and the aged and infirm!”
I am reliably informed that in hospitals and homes in the province of Westphalia lists are being prepared of inmates who are classified as “unproductive members of the national community” and are to be removed from these establishments and shortly thereafter killed. The first party of patients left the mental hospital at Marienthal, near Munster, in the course of this week.
German men and women! Article 211 of the German Penal Code is still in force, in these terms: “Whoever kills a man of deliberate intent is guilty of murder and punishable with death”. No doubt in order to protect those who kill with intent these poor men and women, members of our families, from this punishment laid down by law, the patients who have been selected for killing are removed from their home area to some distant place. Some illness or other is then given as the cause of death. Since the body is immediately cremated, the relatives and the criminal police are unable to establish whether the patient had in fact been ill or what the cause of death actually was. I have been assured, however, that in the Ministry of the Interior and the office of the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Conti, no secret is made of the fact that indeed a large number of mentally ill persons in Germany have already been killed with intent and that this will continue.
Article 139 of the Penal Code provides that “anyone who has knowledge of an intention to commit a crime against the life of any person . . . and fails to inform the authorities or the person whose life is threatened in due time . . . commits a punishable offence”. When I learned of the intention to remove patients from Marienthal I reported the matter on 28th July to the State Prosecutor of Munster Provincial Court and to the Munster chief of police by registered letter, in the following terms:
“According to information I have received it is planned in the course of this week (the date has been mentioned as 31st July) to move a large number of inmates of the provincial hospital at Marienthal, classified as ‘unproductive members of the national community’, to the mental hospital at Eichberg, where, as is generally believed to have happened in the case of patients removed from other establishments, they are to be killed with intent. Since such action is not only contrary to the divine and the natural moral law but under article 211 of the German Penal Code ranks as murder and attracts the death penalty, I hereby report the matter in accordance with my obligation under article 139 of the Penal Code and request that steps should at once be taken to protect the patients concerned by proceedings against the authorities planning their removal and murder, and that I may be informed of the action taken".
I have received no information of any action by the State Prosecutor or the police.
I had already written on 26th July to the Westphalian provincial authorities, who are responsible for the running of the mental hospital and for the patients entrusted to them for care and for cure, protesting in the strongest terms. It had no effect. The first transport of the innocent victims under sentence of death has left Marienthal. And I am now told that 800 patients have already been removed from the hospital at Warstein.
We must expect, therefore, that the poor defenceless patients are, sooner or later, going to be killed. Why? Not because they have committed any offence justifying their death, not because, for example, they have attacked a nurse or attendant, who would be entitled in legitimate selfdefence to meet violence with violence. In such a case the use of violence leading to death is permitted and may be called for, as it is in the case of killing an armed enemy.
No: these unfortunate patients are to die, not for some such reason as this but because in the judgment of some official body, on the decision of some committee, they have become “unworthy to live,” because they are classed as “unproductive members of the national community”.
The judgment is that they can no longer produce any goods: they are like an old piece of machinery which no longer works, like an old horse which has become incurably lame, like a cow which no longer gives any milk. What happens to an old piece of machinery? It is thrown on the scrap heap. What happens to a lame horse, an unproductive cow?
I will not pursue the comparison to the end so fearful is its appropriateness and its illuminating power.
But we are not here concerned with pieces of machinery; we are not dealing with horses and cows, whose sole function is to serve mankind, to produce goods for mankind. They may be broken up; they may be slaughtered when they no longer perform this function
No: We are concerned with men and women, our fellow creatures, our brothers and sisters! Poor human beings, ill human beings, they are unproductive, if you will. But does that mean that they have lost the right to live? Have you, have I, the right to live only so long as we are productive, so long as we are recognised by others as productive?
If the principle that men is entitled to kill his unproductive fellow-man is established and applied, then woe betide all of us when we become aged and infirm!
If it is legitimate to kill unproductive members of the community, woe betide the disabled who have sacrificed their health or their limbs in the productive process! If unproductive men and women can be disposed of by violent means, woe betide our brave soldiers who return home with major disabilities as cripples, as invalids! If it is once admitted that men have the right to kill “unproductive” fellow-men even though it is at present applied only to poor and defenceless mentally ill patients” then the way is open for the murder of all unproductive men and women: the incurably ill, the handicapped who are unable to work, those disabled in industry or war. The way is open, indeed, for the murder of all of us when we become old and infirm and therefore unproductive. Then it will require only a secret order to be issued that the procedure which has been tried and tested with the mentally ill should be extended to other “unproductive” persons, that it should also be applied to those suffering from incurable tuberculosis, the aged and infirm, persons disabled in industry, soldiers with disabling injuries!
Then no man will be safe: some committee or other will be able to put him on the list of “unproductive” persons, who in their judgment have become “unworthy to live”. And there will be no police to protect him, no court to avenge his murder and bring his murderers to justice.
Who could then have any confidence in a doctor? He might report a patient as unproductive and then be given instructions to kill him! It does not bear thinking of, the moral depravity, the universal mistrust which will spread even in the bosom of the family, if this terrible doctrine is tolerated, accepted and put into practice. Woe betide mankind, woe betide our German people, if the divine commandment, “Thou shalt not kill”, which the Lord proclaimed on Sinai amid thunder and lightning, which God our Creator wrote into man's conscience from the beginning, if this commandment is not merely violated but the violation is tolerated and remains unpunished!