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March 23, 2005

A Heart of Gold: Fool's Gold

by Thomas A. Droleskey

As Mrs. Terri Schindler-Schiavo continues to weaken from her fifth straight day without food or water, her bishop, the Most Reverend Robert N. Lynch, maintains a steadfast public silence about her plight. No plea for her life to be saved. No appearance at the Woodspice Hospice to pray with the good souls who have been maintaining a vigil there for a miracle to save her life. No effort to enter the hospice itself, as far as we know, to visit Terri and to offer her the cup of cold water in the Holy Name of the Divine Redeemer that He Himself said would not go without its reward. No, just a stony, steadfast silence as his Community Relations Director directs people to the website of the Florida Catholic Conference.

Well, found on that website is a statement issued by Bishop Lynch on October 15, 2003, when Mrs. Schiavo's feeding and hydration tubes were last removed. The statement is worth reproducing in its entirety here:

With the news that the feeding tube has now been removed from Terri Schiavo, my own prayers and those of thousands of other people go out for Terri and for her family. May the author of all life look kindly on Terri and provide consolation and hope for those who love her.

I continue to believe that such decisions should not be made in the court system but must be made on a case-by-case basis by families and/or other responsible parties at the clear direction of each one of us well in advance of a crisis.

Just a heart of gold, fool's gold, that is. No condemnation of the act of murdering an innocent human being. Simply an expression of regret that the "decision" about this victim-soul could not have been reached by a consensus of the family members. It is clear from this statement that Bishop Lynch, who said on August 12, 2003, that the removal of food and water could be justified in some circumstances, believes that there is indeed a "decision" to be made about the provision of "life sustaining medical treatment" in such cases as Mrs. Terri Schiavo's.

Once again, there was never any "decision" to be made with Mrs. Schiavo other than for her faithless husband to fulfill the responsibilities of providing her unconditional love until the moment of her natural death, relying upon the graces found in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony to care for his wife no longer what it cost and no matter how long she lived. As late as February 28, 2005, Bishop Lynch referred to the situations of persons who are "in extremis," that is, at the point of death. Mrs. Schiavo is now at the point of death because of the efforts under cover of law to kill her. Prior to this point, though, she was no nearer death than any one of us are, noting that each beat of our hearts moves us closer to the moment of our own Particular Judgments. There was never any "decision" to be made with respect to the fulfillment of the binding precepts of the Fifth Commandment and the Gospel precepts of Charity. Period.

No human being has the right to "give directives" to have himself starved or dehydrated to death. Bishop Lynch's statements that individuals do indeed have this right are in contravention of Catholic moral teaching. Sure, they are in line with the errors contained in the Florida bishops' pastoral letter of 1989. They are in line with the errors contained in the late Bishop John Raymond McGann's pastoral letter on the subject in 1996. They are in line with the statements of Louisville Archbishop Thomas Kelly and Bishop Walter Sullivan, then the Bishop of Richmond, in 1998 when they reaffirmed Mrs. Michele Finn's "right" to starve and dehydrate her brain-damaged husband, Hugh Finn, to death in a nursing home in Manassas, Virginia. They are not in line with the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law. They have been repudiated in recent weeks by Renato Cardinal Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and Bishop Eli Sgreccia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Bishop Robert Lynch remains silent as one of his own sheep is being murdered under cover of law. His past statements are reprehensible enough. His current silence cries out to Heaven for him to be removed as the Bishop of Saint Petersburg. He is a menace to the salvation of souls and to the physical safety of the sheep who have been entrusted to his pastoral care unto eternity.

As always, we fly unto the patronage of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Our Lady's Immaculate Heart was pierced on Good Friday as she stood by the foot of her Divine Son's Holy Cross by the sword of sorrow that had been prophesied by Simeon at the moment of her Purification. Her Immaculate Heart is breaking anew over the unnecessary suffering being imposed upon Terri Schindler-Schiavo. It is breaking anew at the sight of one of her Divine Son's bishops betraying one of the souls for whom He shed His Most Precious Blood. We take our consolation from the fact that no purely human being suffered as she suffered during her Son's Passion and Death. We simply offer up the sorrows of the present moment, including the state of the Church in her human elements, to her Immaculate Heart, trusting that she will use all that we give her for the honor and glory of the Blessed Trinity and for the good of the entire Church.

Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, beseech thy Divine Son for the needs of Holy Mother Church in this time of apostasy.

Saint Athanasius and Saint John Fisher, pray for the removal of all bad bishops from office, especially Bishop Robert N. Lynch.

Saint Therese Lisieux, pray for the victim soul of the Diocese of Saint Petersburg, Therese Schindler-Schiavo, to be comforted by all of the angels and saints as she suffers in union with One to Whom you devoted your life at Carmel, Our Crucified and Risen Saviour Jesus Christ.

Pope Saint Pius X, pray for an end to the scourge of Modernism in the Church and for the restoration of Catholic Tradition.

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