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March 29, 2005

Half A World Away

by Thomas A. Droleskey

Mrs. Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo continues to fight for her life as she is well into her eleventh day of being starved and dehydrated to death under cover of law in the State of Florida. Both Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his brother, the President of the United States of America, George W. Bush, have said that there is nothing more that they can do to help Mrs. Schiavo. Constitutional scholars have pointed out that Governor Bush does indeed have inherent powers vested in his office by the Florida State Constitution to act to save Mrs. Schiavo's life. The governor's legal aides disagree. President Bush's spokesman says that there is nothing more that the Federal government can do despite the fact that Mrs. Schiavo has been called as a witness before Congressional committees. This is nothing other than the paralysis of action in the face of this evil being committed under cover of law.

One of the last-ditch, long shot efforts to save Mrs. Schiavo has failed. A person who has been actively involved in the defense of Mrs. Schiavo has just let me know via an e-mail that the effort to have the Vatican clothe Mrs. Schiavo with diplomatic immunity as a representative of the Holy See has been rejected. This idea, which originated with Mrs. Dena Suarez of Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc., and was circulated by attorney James Bendell, did indeed reach the highest levels of the Vatican. It was determined, though, that Mrs. Schiavo would still have her American citizenship and thus be under the jurisdiction of the Florida courts. Efforts continue to convince Vatican officials to issue a plea in the name of the Holy Father himself to save Mrs. Schiavo's life. Those efforts are truly the last hope that Mrs. Schiavo has at this present time insofar as human intervention is concerned.

Many people are maintaining a  prayerful vigil outside of Woodside Hospice as Mrs. Schiavo continues to undergo her passion. According to Mrs. Mary Ann Kreitzer, the President of Les Femmes and the Catholic Media Coalition, a priest from Saint Robert Bellarmine Church, which is located in Miami, Florida, took two busloads of people on a six and one-half drive up to the Woodside Hospice in Pinellas Park. Mrs. Kreitzer wrote:

Fr. Omar Huesca, told his parishioners during the Good Friday service, "I'm going [to the hospice] on Monday.  Who's going with me?" They had two busloads of prayer warriors (about 75) including three priests and a dozen sisters from the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary.  Members of another parish, St. Raymond's joined them as well as two other priests. When the good shepherd leads many follow.

Mrs. Kreitzer asked in her press release of March 28, 2005: "Where is Bishop Lynch?" Half a world away, Mrs. Kreitzer. Half a world away. He is in Indonesia right now, heading a delegation of Catholic Relief Services to examine the progress of the tsunami relief efforts. His team was in the middle of the earthquake that shook Indonesia a short while ago. How interesting that it was in the Providence of God that Bishop Lynch should find himself in the middle of an actual earthquake while there is a moral and spiritual earthquake shaking the world in large part as a result of his own refusal to boldly and unequivocally defend Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo's absolute right to food and water.

The Florida Catholic, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Saint Petersburg, reported on March 24, 2005, that Bishop Lynch, who has raised about $1 million in contributions for the victims of the Pacific tsunami from the Catholics of his own diocese in the last three months, had left on March 22, 2005, for a fact-finding mission and to thank relief workers for their efforts.

Without for one second minimizing the importance of relief efforts for those who have lived through the tsunami of three months ago, Bishop Robert N. Lynch's place is in Saint Petersburg at present, not Indonesia. According to a report provided me by an individual who heard this with her own ears, a traditional priest of an Ecclesia Dei community noted in a Good Friday sermon that a shepherd has the obligation to guard his sheep, stating in no uncertain terms that Bishop Lynch has abandoned his sheep, Mrs. Terri Schindler-Schiavo, and left her to be torn to pieces by ravenous wolves. Alas, Bishop Lynch has issued statement after statement at odds with classical Catholic moral theology--and has consistently refused to publicly acknowledge how his misstatements of Catholic truth have been contradicted by Pope John Paul II's March 20, 2004, statement on the treatment of patients diagnosed to be in a "permanent vegetative state" and by a series of statements from Vatican officials and L'Osservatore Romano. Bishop Lynch's flock would have followed him to Terri Schiavo's Calvary at Woodside Hospice if he had led them there. He abandoned his own sheep for what amounts to a very good exercise in public relations at a time when his abject cruelty to Terri Schiavo has brought him a lot of bad press. And despite the protestations from his spokesman that Bishop Lynch never issued any order to ban his priests from praying outside of Woodside Hospice and/or preaching about Mrs. Schiavo's case, it is very telling that most of the priests who have made the pilgrimage to Mrs. Schiavo's Calvary have been from outside of the Diocese of Saint Petersburg. As goes the shepherd, so goes the flock.

Indeeed, it is more than a little curious that Bishop Lynch has chosen to be away from his diocese during the time in which Mrs. Schiavo might die and her mortal remains be cremated against the wishes of her parents. Remember, Florida probate Judge George Greer announced on February 25, 2005, that Mrs. Schiavo could be starved and dehydrated to death on March 18, 2005. What better way to demonstrate one's Christian compassion for the masses while a member of his own flock suffers one of the worst injustices under cover of law imaginable? I am sorry for being so cynical. Perhaps this trip was scheduled immediately after the tsunami three months aog. However, Bishop Lynch's actions in the case of Mrs. Schiavo have been reprehensible from the outset. They remain outrageous and indefensible. His concern for the people in Indonesia may be very genuine. Genuine also, though, has been his steadfast refusal to condemn Michael Schiavo as a murderer and the act of killing Mrs. Schiavo as a fundamental injustice under cover of law that no one had the right to impose upon her.

Remember this and remember it well: Bishop Robert Lynch has said consistently that Mrs. Schiavo is "in extremis," that is, in a situation near death. Other effete, arrogant snobs have made this same false assertion. If Mrs. Schiavo was so near death (which is what "in extremis" means), then why has she survived for over ten days without food and water? A person who was truly near death would have not have had the physical strength to survive more than a day or so without food and water. There is only one conclusion: although brain-damaged, Mrs. Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo was as healthy as she could be and was no more near death than any one of us prior to her food and water being withdrawn at 1:45 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, on the Feast of the Seven Dolors of Our Lady, Friday of Passion Week, March 18, 2005. Mrs. Schiavo was no more being "kept alive" by the food and water tubes that were and remain her absolute right (see Pope John Paul II, March 20, 2004, for all of you Catholic dissenters on this issue, dissenters who dissent with one Robert N. Lynch) than any of us are when we are partake of food and drink. Mind you, it wouldn't have made any difference if she was in an irreversible coma or was a weak octogenarian in her same state. Food and water are ordinary care no matter how they are administered. To take any action that has as its only end the death of an innocent human being is always and in all circumstances prohibited by the binding precepts of the Fifth Commandment. Bishop Lynch was probably nearer the occasion of death in the earthquake that shook Indonesia a short while ago than Terri Schiavo was prior to March 18, 2005.

When you think about it, however, it is always easier for men like Bishop Lynch to have compassion on the masses after some natural disaster while either fomenting injustice upon others or remaining indifferent in the face of fundamental injustices. Marxists-Leninists always protested their love for the masses as they killed millions upon millions of people in the name of building the New Socialist Man. It is always easier to talk in grandiose terms about social policies that are alleged to benefit the poor (but wind up in most instances enlarging the power of the state and enslaving those who are meant to be assisted; see Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, 1991) than it is to see in the innocent preborn and the suffering disabled the poorest of the poor who must be protected against the diabolical assaults being waged upon them under cover of law. The apparatchiks of the formerly named National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference (NCCB/USCC), now called the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), supported the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin's "Consistent Ethic of Life" in order to indemnify leftist Catholic politicians who they deemed worthy of electoral support even though these politicians also supported baby-killing under cover of law. Oh, yes, it is always easier to protest about the collectivity than it is to be concerned about individuals whose very lives are being threatened unjustly by the coercive power of the State.

In like manner, President Bush has spoken endlessly about the "human rights" of people in foreign countries, going so far as to launch an invasion into Iraq two years ago in his Wilsonian quest to "spread freedom" around the world. Closer to home, though, the President has said that he will propose no new initiatives to stop abortion, saying that the country is not ready to reverse Roe v. Wade. Thus, our troops find themselves in harm's way half a world away to attempt to secure the same set of "values" that have given us contraception and abortion. Back here at home, however, we kill more people by means of surgical abortion than Saddam Hussein, who was most assuredly a corrupt, venal and brutal thug, did in the entirety of his thirty-five years in power as the dictator of Iraq. This is to say nothing of the millions upon millions of babies who are killed each day by chemical abortifacients manufactured by American pharmaceutical companies and purchased by the government of the United States to be distributed domestically and internationally in the name of  "family planning." Our civil leaders see no incongruity between speaking of freedom abroad while we promote the murder of the innocent unborn here and abroad by chemical agents and are indifferent, at best, to the daily slaughter of the unborn by means of surgical baby-killing. President Bush wants to protect the "freedom" of the Iraqi people while he says he is powerless to defend the life of Mrs. Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo.

Yes, it is always easier to turn our attention away from the injustices taking place in our own midst by proclaiming oneself to be a defender of the rights of those far, far way than to trust in the graces won for us by the shedding of Our Lord's Most Precious Blood on Calvary and the intercessory power of Our Lady to take the courageous action that justice requires us to take in situations like those facing Mrs. Schiavo (and many others like her who have no one to bring their situations to public light) at this time and those that face the unborn every single day of the year. Bishop Lynch can try to assuage his conscience about his moral culpability in the impending death of Mrs. Schiavo by demonstrating solidarity with those suffering in the tsunami zone. The truth of the matter is, however, that he had a responsibility to stand by the side of his own suffering sheep as she went through a Calvary of starvation and dehydration under cover of law. This is the case of the shepherd leaving the one sheep to tend after the ninety-nine! (And I do not use exclamation points indiscriminately.)

While praying for the safety of Bishop Lynch and the team assisting him at present, we pray as well that some miraculous grace of God touches his hardened heart to issue an actual, unequivocal plea that the injustice being committed against Terri Schindler-Schiavo be ended at once. And we pray that the next Holy Father will actually govern the Church so that men like Bishop Robert Lynch will not be able to produce spiritual earthquakes against the faith in one diocese after another that put into jeopardy both the salvation of immortal souls and threaten even the physical survival of the sheep entrusted to their pastoral care unto eternity.

With continued prayers for Mrs. Schiavo and her parents and siblings, we beg Our Lady and Saint Joseph to help us make reparation for our own sins and those of the whole world as this innocent life, one of several thousand that die under cover of law in this country alone every day, is being ended by the evil actions of some and the indifference of many.

Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for us.

Saint Joseph, Patron of the Dying, pray for Theresa Marie Schindler-Schiavo.

Saints Jude, Rita, and Philomena, pray for the impossible and hopeless cases, especially amongst the hierarchy of the Catholic Church at present.

An Afterword from Father Lawrence C. Smith

Indeed, Bishop Lynch might have scheduled his current trip back in December, but even in December, Holy Week and Easter were on the calendar for this time frame. Yes, we ask the question of why His Excellency has abandoned his sheep, Terri Schiavo, during her ordeal by neglect. We also must ask why that shephered would be away from his flock for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Paschal Vigil.

His responsibility is to reaffirm his clergy in the Priesthood of Christ, to bear the burden of Christ's Cross as an example to the Faithful, and to welcome the new children of God the Father and Holy Mother Church in the sweet waters of Baptism. One might be able to justify his absence if he went abroad to add to the material assistance being given the tidal wave victims, the admonition to renounce their false worship and idolatry and embrace the One, True Faith by which their souls can be defended from a fate far worse than the death of the body. Somehow, however, I find it possible to doubt that the Second Vatican Council's take on ecumenism and religious liberty will allow the Bishop to feel free to assert such truths during his travels.

God bless you,
Father Smith.



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