the Eleventh Hour
Thomas A. Droleskey
reading for Septuagesima Sunday (Mt. 20:1-16), which fell this year
on January 16, 2005, concerned the parable of the vineyard owner who
hired workers at different hours in the day to work his field. He
paid each group of workers the same wage no matter how long they had
worked during the day, including those who had worked only for an
hour. This is a reminder to every Catholic that God will extend His
ineffable mercy to all who seek it out in the Sacrament of Penance
no matter how long they live after they are given sacramental absolution
for their sins. The Lord desires the conversion of sins, not their
death. He will reward those who have been faithful their entire lives
and He will reward those who turn to Him with a truly repentant heart
in the hospital of Divine Mercy that is the confessional just before
they die. And those who have been faithful their entire lives are
not to begrudge God's generosity to those who come in at the eleventh
made by Renato Cardinal Martino, President of the Pontifical Council
for Justice and Peace, in behalf of Mrs. Terri Schindler-Schiavo has
indeed come at the eleventh hour. Although Pope John Paul II, who
was rushed to Gemelli Hospital in Rome earlier today for an emergency
tracheotomy, last year reaffirmed the basic principle of Catholic
moral theology that the provision of food and water was a basic right
of human beings no matter their physical and/or mental condition,
His Holiness never mentioned the name of Terri Schindler-Schiavo.
This prompted this writer, among others, to plead with the Holy Father
to do so now before yet another attempt is made by her faithless husband,
Michael Schiavo, to starve her to death under terms of an unjust and
immoral law on the statute books in the State of Florida. Hundreds
upon thousands of people from around the world have been storming
Heaven with prayers that Terri's shepherds speak her name publicly
and unmistakably so as to let Michael Schiavo and his pro-euthanasia
attorney, George Felos, and Judge George Greer know that the Holy
See stands on the side of the absolute right of Terri Schindler-Schiavo
to the provision of food and water. Cardinal Martino's unprecedented
intervention for a patient in Terri Schindler-Schiavo's situation
is quite welcomed and will certainly be of use to the family members
who are fighting to save her life.
Michael Schiavo has
little to rely on now other than his unsubstantiated claim that the
wife to whom he has been unfaithful while she has received minimal
care following the mysterious incident that caused her brain damage
fifteen years ago tomorrow, February 25, would have wanted to have
her feeding and hydration tubes removed. The Florida law itself is
unjust and immoral. No human being has any right to give his or her
consent to being starved and dehydrated to death, thus vitiating any
desire on the part of Mrs. Schindler-Schiavo to have been so cruelly
to put to death, if such a desire ever existed or was ever expressed.
Schiavo would be hard put to demonstrate that Mrs. Schiavo would want
to be starved and dehydrated to death if that meant going against
the express teaching of the Catholic Church as reiterated last year
by Pope John Paul and applied quite explicitly and without qualification
in her own particular case at this moment. Mr. Schiavo can present
zero evidence that his wife, even assuming (and it is quite an assumption
to make given the fact that we have the word only of a man who has
been unfaithful to his wife as she lay in a hospital bed and fathered
children by another woman) an illicit desire on her part to be starved
and dehydrated to death, would oppose Cardinal Martino's plea for
her life, made in the context of stating clearly that God alone is
the arbiter of life. Where is the evidence for that, Mr. Schiavo?
Where is the evidence for that, Judge Greer? Mind you, such evidence
would not make the removal of her feeding and hydration tubes moral.
In the context of the flimsy "evidence" accepted by Judge
Greer thus far, it can certainly be argued that Mrs. Schiavo would
not have approved of going against the clear statement of Catholic
teaching reiterated by the Pope last year and applied directly to
her own case by Cardinal Martino this very day.
Michael Schiavo has
said publicly that he "loves" his wife and that he is just
trying fulfill her "wishes." Why does he insist on maintaining
legal custody of her when she has parents who want to give her the
love and medical attention that she has been denied these past fifteen
years? Terri Schindler-Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler,
are willing to take custody of their daughter and to care for her.
What is Mr. Schiavo afraid of? Is he afraid that Terri, like Sarah
Scantlin in Kansas, will indeed regain her capacity to speak? Has
he anything to fear from this if she does indeed regain this capacity
as some have suggested in print and in investigative news stories?
Why the insistence on executing a woman who others want to keep alive
at their own expense? This is not love. This is diabolical. It is
the devil himself who seeks to destroy people in the name of "love"
while denying them the care that is absolute due.
Holy See has come to the assistance of Terri Schindler-Schiavo, her
own local bishop, the Most Reverend Robert N. Lynch, the Bishop of
Saint Petersburg, remains mute. Does he plead unconditionally for
Terri's right to be fed and hydrated? Does he condemn Michael Schiavo's
desire to remove her feeding and hydration tubes? Has he repudiated
the pastoral letter of the Florida bishops' conference that said that
the removal of such feeding and hydration tubes was indeed morally
licit (depending upon the patient's ability to recover and the economic
burden put on family members) since the Holy Father condemned it in
no uncertain terms last year? Will Bishop Lynch echo Cardinal Martino's
plea for Terri's life regardless of her ability to recover from the
injuries to her brain? While Cardinal Martino's intervention is indeed
welcomed, the fact that Bishop Robert Lynch was appointed a diocesan
ordinary in the first place and has remained in office for so long
to damage the Faith is itself a telling commentary on the corruption
wrought by the ethos of conciliarism in the past forty years. Terri
Schindler-Schiavo should be receiving the unconditional support of
her local shepherd now, not silence from a man who has shown himself
consistently to be a friend of modern theologians in the moral realm
and revolutionary liturgists in the liturgical realm.
prayers for Terri Schindler-Schiavo at this time are paramount. She
has many in her own situation who lack anyone to fight for them. It
is thus important for us to continue fervent in our prayers, especially
in our Rosaries as consecrated slaves to Our Lady's Sorrowful and
also at this time, as we do at all times, for Pope John Paul II. His
physical debility and the many trials to which he has been subjected
in recent years are a simile for the weakness and debility that the
Church in her human elements has suffered as a result of the ethos
of conciliarism and all of its novelties. We pray to Saint Joseph,
the Patron of the Universal Church and of the dying, especially if
this is Pope John Paul II's final agony. And we pray to Saint Matthias
on his feast day that all of the bishops, Successors of the Apostles,
will exhibit his own fidelity to the Deposit Faith entrusted to the
Church by the God-Man, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, rather than
continue to imitate the betrayal of the one whose place in the episcopate
he took, Judas Iscariot.
Help of Christians, pray for Terri Schindler-Schiavo.
the Archangel, pray for Michael Schiavo.
pray for George Greer and George Felos.
pray for the all of the Catholic bishops of the world.
Bellarmine, the fierce opponent of Luther and the Protestant Revolt,
pray for Bishop Robert N. Lynch.