Archive for the ‘*Terri Schiavo’ Category

Dear Readers,

Today marks the 12th anniversary of the death of Terri Schiavo. A needless death and as far as I and many others believe, a death by murder. Personally, I think this marks a day of shame for America as a country and as a people, including religious and political leaders and representatives. I am especially ashamed of those who are Catholic and more especially of those who were bishops – every single one of them who did not take a forceful stand against Terri’s local bishop. In fact, four days after Terri’s feeding tube was removed, one of them stated that “The bishops and lay faithful of Florida have the task of leading American Catholics in the Terri Schiavo case. They’re working hard to provide that leadership. Our job, outside Florida, is to support Ms. Schiavo and all those concerned for her well-being with our prayers. We especially need to pray for Ms. Schiavo’s family”. Nonsense! The local bishop did nothing to save Terri or to help her family. What Terri and her family needed (in addition to prayers) was intercessory action. Lacking that, many Americans including bishops, failed them.

Please read Bobby Schindler’s story about his sister (below) and (if you haven’t in the past) my reflection on the twelve days I spent in Florida supporting Terri, her family and others who supported and fought for them. At the time, I was one of those “non-Floridians” and I didn’t see many “lay faithful of Florida” or from anywhere else. [see Calvary in Pinellas Park.] One further comment: never assume others are doing the job God has called each of us to do – we must be Christians without borders.

From Bobby Schindler:

Hi Fredi – Last year I wrote about my sister in National Review [original publication]. It’s as relevant now, and I’m sharing it today in case there’s someone in your life who could benefit from learning her story. [See full story copied below because Bobby wants his story shared and I find that most readers don’t click on external links.]

I wrote earlier this week about what we’re doing for Terri’s Day, and I wanted to update you to let you know there’s still time to support our mission and have your name placed in our special “Guest Book” that we’ll be presenting to my mother in honor of your support and in memory of my sister.  [Learn about Terri’s day here.]

Our work continues only with support from you. Please consider a gift in honor of Terri today, during this painful time of year for my mother and our family. [Go to https://lifeandhope.nationbuilder.com/2017terrisday]

God bless you,

Bobby

What Terri Schiavo Still Can Teach Us

by Bobby Schindler March 31, 2016

Her name — my sister’s name — is seared into the national memory as a face of the right-to-life movement, but it’s now been more than a decade since her death. Many are now too young to remember her witness, or they have forgotten.

At the age of 26, Terri experienced a still-unexplained collapse while at home alone with Michael Schiavo, who subsequently became her guardian. After a short period of time, Michael lost interest in caring for his brain-injured but otherwise young and healthy wife. Terri was cognitively disabled, but she was not dying, and she did not suffer from any life-threatening disease. She was neither on machines nor “brain dead.” To the contrary, she was alert and interacted with friends and family — before Michael placed her in a nursing home and eventually petitioned the courts for permission to starve and dehydrate her to death.

It was this decision by Michael that made my sister’s story a national story rather than simply a family story. It was this decision — to deprive my sister of food and water — that transformed our family’s struggle. Rather than trying to work with Michael to care for and rehabilitate Terri as aggressively as possible, we now were battling against Michael to fight for my sister’s life.

Michael finally testified, after many years of legal maneuverings against my family, that Terri had told him before her accident that she would not have wanted to live in a brain-injured condition. It was this hearsay evidence that led the media and others to deny Terri’s right to life, and instead speak of “end of life” issues and advocate for her “right to die.” On the order of Judge George W. Greer, and despite the efforts of Saint John Paul the Great, a president, Congress, and a governor, Terri was deprived of water and food. After 13 days, my sister died of extreme dehydration on March 31, 2005.

We couldn’t save my sister, though millions of advocates did succeed in speaking for the fundamental dignity of every human life, regardless of circumstance or condition.

It was the trauma of our experience fighting for my sister that led my family to create the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network a decade ago, both in memory of my sister and in service to medically vulnerable persons today. Unbeknownst to my family at the start of our struggle, the method of Terri’s death — the fatal denial of food and water — was not altogether uncommon. It has only become more common in the decade since her passing, as Wesley J. Smith so routinely documents.

Indeed, new “rights” to death are paradoxically being enshrined through the international medical system, reshaping a vocation meant to care for and heal the sick into one that eliminates suffering by eliminating the sufferer. Increasingly, medical professionals do this — end life — even without the patient’s consent. A stranger, in other words, may very well decide how and when you die.

It was once true, for instance, that food and water were considered “basic and ordinary care.” Yet now the presence of a tube (as distinct from a spoon) to deliver food and water means that basic nourishment is considered “extraordinary” and a form of “medical treatment.” Yet tubes are often used for the same reason that automation is revolutionizing the work force: They’re cheaper and more efficient than round-the-clock human care. It is now legal in every U.S. state to deny food and water, leading to fatal dehydration. This is simply one step on the path to controlled and regulated access to all forms of food and water, including whatever a bureaucrat decides can be placed on your mother’s nursing-home supper tray.

Hospital ethics committees are often leading the effort to reshape medicine, giving themselves unilateral power to decide whether a patient deserves to receive treatment or whether life-affirming treatment will continue when there is a dispute within a family. The tragic case of Chris Dunn, who was filmed last year literally begging for his life in a Texas hospital, illustrates all too well what happens when an ethics committee decides to appoint itself as a legal guardian in order to deny treatment — even when such a course is opposed, as it was in Dunn’s case, by both the patient and his guardian-mother.

Not only is death often imposed, it is now also encouraged as if death itself were a form of medicine. As of last year, more than half the states in the country were considering a form of physician-assisted suicide legislation. It appears likely that suicide will, within the next five years, be enshrined as a personal “health” right in most of the country. In this, we would only be following some of our European neighbors. In the Netherlands and Belgium, as Wesley Smith recently documented, Alzheimer’s patients, infants with disabilities, the aged, and the chronically ill are routinely encouraged to die or have death imposed upon them.

Brittany Maynard, who committed suicide in November 2014 after already having outlived her doctor’s terminal-brain-cancer prognosis, was able to choose her death by suicide, but how many now will die not because they embrace that sort of death but because they feel pressured — by smiling physicians or hovering children and heirs — to accept it? To die without hope seems the furthest thing from death with dignity. Other, less fortunate patients will face what Smith explains is considered “termination without request or consent,” a wonderfully anodyne way to describe murder through terminal sedation or the denial of food and water.

My experience in fighting for my sister, and the experiences of assisting more than 1,000 patients and families through the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network over the past decade, have strengthened my resolve and my belief that we can do better as a culture, and for those requiring authentic medical treatment, than what our present attitudes and laws suggest.

It’s why the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network affirms essential qualities of human dignity, including the right to food and water, the presumption of the will to live, due-process rights for those facing denial of care, protection from euthanasia as a form of medicine, and access to rehabilitative care. Each of these were rights my sister was denied, and they are rights of every patient that are often at risk or contested outright.

As we mark the anniversary of my sister’s death, I’m hopeful that we can remember some of these genuine means of upholding human dignity. If we do, we can be assured that when we face crisis in our own lives and the lives of those whom we love, we will meet the moment with a dignity and grace that elevates us in our weakest moments — regardless of the outcome.

That was the promise of medicine once, and it’s what my sister continues to inspire me to fight for daily.

— Bobby Schindler is president of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, author of A Life That Matters: The Legacy of Terri Schiavo, and an internationally recognized pro-life advocate.

[See Calvary in Pinellas Park.]

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I share Mr. Jalsevac’s sentiments and encourage all pro-life individuals, organizations and political representatives, to read his entire article, take heed and respond accordingly.

Two quotes to entice you:

Almost all candidates are in this position. Even most Catholic bishops are greatly lacking a good understanding of the crucial details, implications and real truths of the on-going war against vulnerable human life and the family. Very few of these leaders have the time to study these issues as they should, and as we do full-time, all year round. But they don’t have to. There are many very trustworthy, long-time leaders more than willing to provide free counsel.

Most leaders hugely underestimate how much there is to learn about our issues, how crucial they are to any nation and the extent of deception and outright lying that must be waded through to get to the truth.

Carson’s response reveals that he still is not aware of what happened to Terri and how her husband, who hated Terri’s parents and siblings, and a corrupt court forced the removal of nutrition and hydration from Terri.

Terri would have likely lived at least several or perhaps more years and was well aware of and enjoyed those who came to visit her. She was falsely portrayed as being in a vegetative state. Her adulterous husband had shacked up with another woman some years ago and clearly wanted her out of the way while proclaiming that death is what Terri wanted. He stood to financially benefit in a large way from her death.

Police snipers were posted on the roof of the building where she was slowly being starved and dehydrated to death. Her parents and siblings were permitted very controlled access to her. Visits were closely monitored by security agents who watched their every move as they saw their daughter/sister slowly executed before their eyes. It was barbaric, horrendous, and in the end a moral indictment against the whole nation. It became in international story.

There were extraordinary actions taken to ensure that no one interfered with Terri’s extremely painful death. Her siblings, her parents, Fr. Frank Pavone, who spent time with her in her room in the hospice – no one was permitted to relieve her suffering. Not even permitted to moisten her painful, cracked lips.

“I respect the emotions of the Schiavo family and know that this is a painful and difficult issue for many who defend the sanctity of life,” Dr. Carson said.

That statement undoubtedly has been felt by many to be demeaning, as though it was mainly about emotions or that any concern everyone had was because the family was having to endure emotional sufferings due to some ordinary medical event in the life of a very ill person.

Well, I can tell you, I was angry back then when this took place, as were thousands and thousands of others. This whole saga, with the complicity of the medical system, the courts, the police, the media, even some priests, bishops and medical ethicists and the negligence of all who should have done much more, was a great evil.

It almost seemed at times that the entire nation would be held accountable for participating in the very public, slow execution of Terri Schiavo. She was a special victim, a sign of something much greater than herself. This was some kind of special test of America that was permitted to happen. America failed.

Today, ten years after the deed was done, I find my disgust and anger has not lessened. Justice has not yet been done.

Read the entire article at LifeSiteNews

RELATED: Terri Schiavo 

Read Full Post »

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 16, 2015 / — Dr. Ben Carson owes pro-life and medically vulnerable Americans an apology. Similarly, any pro-lifer supporting his campaign should take another look at the candidate’s values.

Speaking to reporters at a Florida Republican Party conference on Friday, November 13, Dr. Carson marginalized Terri Schiavo and other struggling and medically vulnerable patients.

Terri Schiavo, who died on March 31, 2005 from starvation and dehydration, was brain injured but otherwise healthy woman who was not reliant on life support. Michael Schiavo, her estranged husband and guardian, had led a national court case to remove her feeding tube—a means of nourishment which millions of patients rely on every day—in order to end her life almost a decade after warehousing her in a nursing home and suspending rehabilitative care.

When asked by a reporter whether he believed Terri Schiavo deserved Congress’s attempt to halt her court-ordered 13-day death by starvation and dehydration, Dr. Carson blithely responded, “I don’t think it needed to get to that level. I think it was much ado about nothing.”

Dr. Carson continued: “We face those kinds of issues all the time, and while I don’t believe in euthanasia, you have to recognize that people that are in that condition do have a series of medical problems that occur that will take them out,” explaining that “your job [as a doctor] is to keep them comfortable throughout that process and not to treat everything that comes up.

The Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network condemns Dr. Ben Carson for these callous remarks that serve to marginalize an already underserved community of patients. Whether Dr. Carson understands that Terri Schiavo was not a terminal patient is unclear, but it is certainly clear that Dr. Carson’s advice to doctors “not to treat” brain injured patients is precisely the form of euthanasia that led to the suspension of Schiavo’s rehabilitation and ultimately her court-ordered death.

Bobby Schindler, president of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network and brother of Terri Schiavo, issued these remarks:

“Every pro-life advocate knows how hard it is to argue for the Constitutional right-to-life from natural birth to natural death. Terri was denied a natural death from men who shared Dr. Carson’s hopeless views on the value of a life in need of love and extensive rehabilitation.”

“As both a Christian and a world renowned neurological surgeon,” Schindler continued, “Dr. Carson owes every pro-life advocate an apology. At best, he spoke from a perspective of personal prejudice and ignorance. At worst, he truly shares the perspective of so many euthanasia activists. Terri was denied the protections Congress attempted to afford her, which were the same due process rights that every death row prisoner in this country possesses. But for the brain injured, which include everyone from professional athletes to everyday Americans, their cases are often hopeless because of the attitudes Dr. Carson professes.

“If we get a President Carson, conservatives won’t need to fear Obamacare’s so-called death panels,” continued Schindler, “because Dr. Carson would himself represent a one-man death panel, content to ration care and decide who deserves a chance at life based on a warped sense of the ethics of medicine and humane law.”

According to Tom Shakely, executive director of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network: “Traumatically brain injured patients need intensive rehabilitative care, period. Every day, shocked Americans learn they will have to fight their own doctors and medical providers just to afford their loved ones a shot at recovery in the face of a system increasingly driven by cost-minded MBAs rather than caring MDs. For Dr. Carson to align himself with the bureaucrats is devastating.”

“This isn’t about politics, concluded Shakely. “Dr. Carson’s remarks raise serious questions about the moral character of his allegedly pro-life candidacy. Pro-lifers can’t afford any more part time believers.”

***

The Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, was established by the family members of Terri Schiavo to defend the rights of the medically vulnerable. These rights include the protection from the removal of food and water (via a feeding tube) which has been redefined as medical treatment instead of basic and ordinary care. The Life & Hope Network has communicated with and supported more than 1,000 families, and has been involved in hundreds of cases since Terri’s Death. To learn more about the work of the Life & Hope Network, please visit lifeandhope.com.

Media Contact:

Tom Shakely, Executive Director — tshakely@lifeandhope.com

855-300-4674, Extension 3

RELATED (Re-post):

Calvary in Pinellas Park

I will never forget my pilgrimage to ‘calvary’ in Pinellas Park, Florida on behalf of my sister Terri and her family. I was so very blessed to have been able to be there to support them and to advocate for Terri’s right to life. I cherish them and the people who stood in solidarity with them, mostly having come from long distances. Of the many fine people I was privileged to meet, I remember with special fondness a young family of eight from Ohio who put aside every other concern and without much planning hurriedly loaded their van with bare essentials and began the long drive to Pinellas Park.

Along with harboring warm feelings for the Schindler family and their supporters, my heart grieves Terri’s cold-blooded murder. Being present at the scene of that crime – in the midst of or close by the victims, the intervenors, the perpetrators, the politicians, the police, and the news media – subjected my whole being to a rivalry of emotions and a variety of experiences and encounters. But rather than reflect on what being there was like, I have chosen to reflect on what being there was about.

So many, if not most, of those who have spoken or written about Terri’s plight have missed the point. It matters not in the least what Terri’s physical condition was. No justification could be made for taking her life no matter who the ‘experts’ are or how many words they spout.

Of my twelve days and nights in Florida, most were passed in prayer outside the hospice in Pinellas Park. A few days were spent in support of Terri in Tallahassee at Florida’s House and Senate committee hearings, and lobbying at Senator and Governor offices. I also participated in two candlelight prayer vigils outside the Governor’s Mansion during which we pleaded with the Governor via an intercom at the gate to do everything possible to save Terri.

I do not agree with those who have proposed that our role, as non-Floridians, was to support Terri and all those concerned for her well being with our prayers. Yes, of course we should have supported them with prayers, but not merely with prayers of petition. God wants to communicate with us when we pray. The petition He wants most from us is that we may obtain the graces and virtues that are necessary to not only know his will, but also to actively abide by it. He wants us to be his instruments of love, mercy, justice and peace.

Terri is sister to each and every person on earth. God entrusts each and every human life, not only to parents, but also to each and every one of us. To be an authentic disciple of Christ Jesus each of us must accept that responsibility.

The universal Church must be united in the acceptance of that responsibility. Neither borders nor domains, even if they exist within Her own structure (as in dioceses, provinces and regions), can excuse Her (us) from actively reaching out – not merely speaking out. This is particularly so when the ‘local Church’ has been negligent in Her duties and discipleship (as it was in Terri’s case). Supporting those who are in error is not unifying; it is destructive.

When bishops, priests, deacons and laity neglect to intervene on behalf of those at risk and fail to boldly, emphatically and persistently preach the Gospel of Life and correct and admonish those in error about grave issues such as abortion, euthanasia, cloning, embryo production and destruction for any reason, or any other crime against humanity, the stage is set for all of these tragedies to occur. We have been stagehands for decades now, having embraced a disregard for human life and even become desensitized to millions of murders of unborn babies. One of the ways in which that disregard and insensitivity is demonstrated daily is by our lack of intervention at the numerous baby-killing centers throughout our country where thousands of babies are murdered every day. Every bishop and pastor in the nation should have been preaching about Terri’s right to life from the pulpit and imploring us to become actively involved with her family in their fight for her life.

Pope John Paul II could not have made that point any clearer in his encyclical (Evangelium Vitae) to bishops, priests, deacons, men and women religious, and lay faithful, which begins with: “The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus’ message. Lovingly received day after day by the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as ‘good news’ to the people of every age and culture.” The introduction closes with: “To all the members of the Church, the people of life and for life, I make this most urgent appeal, that together we may offer this world of ours new signs of hope, and work to ensure that justice and solidarity will increase and that a new culture of human life will be affirmed, for the building of an authentic civilization of truth and love.”

In ‘A Note On Liturgical Norms for Homilies’ Fr. Frank Pavone points out: “Liturgy is, ultimately, a life-giving encounter with God. There can be no more appropriate setting in which to proclaim and defend the gift of life. The liturgical laws of the Church certainly leave the door wide open for such a proclamation and defense!”

Those who stood as advocates for life at ‘calvary’ in Pinellas Park, Florida did so with the “dauntless fidelity” called for by the Holy Father. They came with hope that Terri’s life would be saved and with love to help the Shindler family carry their cross.

I don’t think there is a better way to close this reflection than with the following excerpt from Pope John Paul II’s farewell message given during the official departure ceremony for him at the Detroit Airport on 19 September 1987:

“America, your deepest identity and truest character as a nation is revealed in the position you take towards the human person. The ultimate test of your greatness is the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenseless ones. The best traditions of your land presume respect for those who cannot defend themselves. If you want equal justice for all, and true freedom and lasting peace, then, America, defend life! … Every human person – no matter how vulnerable or helpless, no matter how young or how old, no matter how healthy, handicapped or sick, no matter how useful or productive for society – is a being of inestimable worth created in the image and likeness of God. This is the dignity of America, the reason she exists, the condition for her survival – yes, the ultimate test of her greatness: to respect every human person, especially the weakest and most defenseless ones, those as yet unborn.”

Amen.

terri

References:

“Terri and her family”

SERIOUS HEALTH CARE AND END OF LIFE DECISIONS

“Evangelium Vitae”

“Pope John Paul II’s farewell message given at the Detroit Airport on 19 September 1987”

 

 

Read Full Post »

Really Ben? Shame on you!

Re-post:

Calvary in Pinellas Park

I will never forget my pilgrimage to ‘calvary’ in Pinellas Park, Florida on behalf of my sister Terri and her family. I was so very blessed to have been able to be there to support them and to advocate for Terri’s right to life. I cherish them and the people who stood in solidarity with them, mostly having come from long distances. Of the many fine people I was privileged to meet, I remember with special fondness a young family of eight from Ohio who put aside every other concern and without much planning hurriedly loaded their van with bare essentials and began the long drive to Pinellas Park.

Along with harboring warm feelings for the Schindler family and their supporters, my heart grieves Terri’s cold-blooded murder. Being present at the scene of that crime – in the midst of or close by the victims, the intervenors, the perpetrators, the politicians, the police, and the news media – subjected my whole being to a rivalry of emotions and a variety of experiences and encounters. But rather than reflect on what being there was like, I have chosen to reflect on what being there was about.

So many, if not most, of those who have spoken or written about Terri’s plight have missed the point. It matters not in the least what Terri’s physical condition was. No justification could be made for taking her life no matter who the ‘experts’ are or how many words they spout.

Of my twelve days and nights in Florida, most were passed in prayer outside the hospice in Pinellas Park. A few days were spent in support of Terri in Tallahassee at Florida’s House and Senate committee hearings, and lobbying at Senator and Governor offices. I also participated in two candlelight prayer vigils outside the Governor’s Mansion during which we pleaded with the Governor via an intercom at the gate to do everything possible to save Terri.

I do not agree with those who have proposed that our role, as non-Floridians, was to support Terri and all those concerned for her well being with our prayers. Yes, of course we should have supported them with prayers, but not merely with prayers of petition. God wants to communicate with us when we pray. The petition He wants most from us is that we may obtain the graces and virtues that are necessary to not only know his will, but also to actively abide by it. He wants us to be his instruments of love, mercy, justice and peace.

Terri is sister to each and every person on earth. God entrusts each and every human life, not only to parents, but also to each and every one of us. To be an authentic disciple of Christ Jesus each of us must accept that responsibility.

The universal Church must be united in the acceptance of that responsibility. Neither borders nor domains, even if they exist within Her own structure (as in dioceses, provinces and regions), can excuse Her (us) from actively reaching out – not merely speaking out. This is particularly so when the ‘local Church’ has been negligent in Her duties and discipleship (as it was in Terri’s case). Supporting those who are in error is not unifying; it is destructive.

When bishops, priests, deacons and laity neglect to intervene on behalf of those at risk and fail to boldly, emphatically and persistently preach the Gospel of Life and correct and admonish those in error about grave issues such as abortion, euthanasia, cloning, embryo production and destruction for any reason, or any other crime against humanity, the stage is set for all of these tragedies to occur. We have been stagehands for decades now, having embraced a disregard for human life and even become desensitized to millions of murders of unborn babies. One of the ways in which that disregard and insensitivity is demonstrated daily is by our lack of intervention at the numerous baby-killing centers throughout our country where thousands of babies are murdered every day. Every bishop and pastor in the nation should have been preaching about Terri’s right to life from the pulpit and imploring us to become actively involved with her family in their fight for her life.

Pope John Paul II could not have made that point any clearer in his encyclical (Evangelium Vitae) to bishops, priests, deacons, men and women religious, and lay faithful, which begins with: “The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus’ message. Lovingly received day after day by the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as ‘good news’ to the people of every age and culture.” The introduction closes with: “To all the members of the Church, the people of life and for life, I make this most urgent appeal, that together we may offer this world of ours new signs of hope, and work to ensure that justice and solidarity will increase and that a new culture of human life will be affirmed, for the building of an authentic civilization of truth and love.”

In ‘A Note On Liturgical Norms for Homilies’ Fr. Frank Pavone points out: “Liturgy is, ultimately, a life-giving encounter with God. There can be no more appropriate setting in which to proclaim and defend the gift of life. The liturgical laws of the Church certainly leave the door wide open for such a proclamation and defense!”

Those who stood as advocates for life at ‘calvary’ in Pinellas Park, Florida did so with the “dauntless fidelity” called for by the Holy Father. They came with hope that Terri’s life would be saved and with love to help the Shindler family carry their cross.

I don’t think there is a better way to close this reflection than with the following excerpt from Pope John Paul II’s farewell message given during the official departure ceremony for him at the Detroit Airport on 19 September 1987:

“America, your deepest identity and truest character as a nation is revealed in the position you take towards the human person. The ultimate test of your greatness is the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenseless ones. The best traditions of your land presume respect for those who cannot defend themselves. If you want equal justice for all, and true freedom and lasting peace, then, America, defend life! … Every human person – no matter how vulnerable or helpless, no matter how young or how old, no matter how healthy, handicapped or sick, no matter how useful or productive for society – is a being of inestimable worth created in the image and likeness of God. This is the dignity of America, the reason she exists, the condition for her survival – yes, the ultimate test of her greatness: to respect every human person, especially the weakest and most defenseless ones, those as yet unborn.”

Amen.

terri

References:

“Terri and her family”

SERIOUS HEALTH CARE AND END OF LIFE DECISIONS

“Evangelium Vitae”

“Pope John Paul II’s farewell message given at the Detroit Airport on 19 September 1987”

 

 

Read Full Post »

It doesn’t matter whether or not they resided within your diocese. Please Christ-up for the next victim for whom you have the opportunity to intercede.

All Life Matters: Jahi Mcmath’s Journey

by Michelle Malkin

“Jahi McMath is ALIVE.”

The very first column I filed in 2014 exposed the plight of a beautiful young girl, the same age as my daughter, whom medical experts declared “brain dead” after a routine tonsillectomy gone wrong. Are you ready for the rest of the story?

Doctors told Jahi’s mom, Nailah Winkfield, that her child’s organs would “shut down” and her brain would “liquefy” if kept on life support. Hostile hospital administrators in Oakland moved to pull the plug on Jahi. Medical officials callously referred to Jahi as “dead, dead, dead” and dismissed the child as a “body.” Smug critics mocked and hounded the family to give up and let go. Jahi’s life, they concluded, was worthless. But the experts and naysayers were wrong. CONTINUE

Terri Schivo’s murder: Calvary in Pinellas Park 

by Fredi D’Alessio

I will never forget my pilgrimage to ‘calvary’ in Pinellas Park, Florida on behalf of my sister Terri and her family. I was so very blessed to have been able to be there to support them and to advocate for Terri’s right to life. I cherish them and the people who stood in solidarity with them, mostly having come from long distances. Of the many fine people I was privileged to meet, I remember with special fondness a young family of eight from Ohio who put aside every other concern and without much planning hurriedly loaded their van with bare essentials and began the long drive to Pinellas Park.

Along with harboring warm feelings for the Schindler family and their supporters, my heart grieves Terri’s cold-blooded murder. Being present at the scene of that crime – in the midst of or close by the victims, the intervenors, the perpetrators, the politicians, the police, and the news media – subjected my whole being to a rivalry of emotions and a variety of experiences and encounters. But rather than reflect on what being there was like, I have chosen to reflect on what being there was about.

So many, if not most, of those who have spoken or written about Terri’s plight have missed the point. It matters not in the least what Terri’s physical condition was. No justification could be made for taking her life no matter who the ‘experts’ are or how many words they spout.

Of my twelve days and nights in Florida, most were passed in prayer outside the hospice in Pinellas Park. A few days were spent in support of Terri in Tallahassee at Florida’s House and Senate committee hearings, and lobbying at Senator and Governor offices. I also participated in two candlelight prayer vigils outside the Governor’s Mansion during which we pleaded with the Governor via an intercom at the gate to do everything possible to save Terri.

I do not agree with those who have proposed that our role, as non-Floridians, was to support Terri and all those concerned for her well being with our prayers. Yes, of course we should have supported them with prayers, but not merely with prayers of petition. God wants to communicate with us when we pray. The petition He wants most from us is that we may obtain the graces and virtues that are necessary to not only know his will, but also to actively abide by it. He wants us to be his instruments of love, mercy, justice and peace.

Terri is sister to each and every person on earth. God entrusts each and every human life, not only to parents, but also to each and every one of us. To be an authentic disciple of Christ Jesus each of us must accept that responsibility.

The universal Church must be united in the acceptance of that responsibility. Neither borders nor domains, even if they exist within Her own structure (as in dioceses, provinces and regions), can excuse Her (us) from actively reaching out – not merely speaking out. This is particularly so when the ‘local Church’ has been negligent in Her duties and discipleship (as it was in Terri’s case). Supporting those who are in error is not unifying; it is destructive.

When bishops, priests, deacons and laity neglect to intervene on behalf of those at risk and fail to boldly, emphatically and persistently preach the Gospel of Life and correct and admonish those in error about grave issues such as abortion, euthanasia, cloning, embryo production and destruction for any reason, or any other crime against humanity, the stage is set for all of these tragedies to occur. We have been stagehands for decades now, having embraced a disregard for human life and even become desensitized to millions of murders of unborn babies. One of the ways in which that disregard and insensitivity is demonstrated daily is by our lack of intervention at the numerous baby-killing centers throughout our country where thousands of babies are murdered every day. Every bishop and pastor in the nation should have been preaching about Terri’s right to life from the pulpit and imploring us to become actively involved with her family in their fight for her life.

Pope John Paul II could not have made that point any clearer in his encyclical (Evangelium Vitae) to bishops, priests, deacons, men and women religious, and lay faithful, which begins with: “The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus’ message. Lovingly received day after day by the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as ‘good news’ to the people of every age and culture.” The introduction closes with: “To all the members of the Church, the people of life and for life, I make this most urgent appeal, that together we may offer this world of ours new signs of hope, and work to ensure that justice and solidarity will increase and that a new culture of human life will be affirmed, for the building of an authentic civilization of truth and love.”

In ‘A Note On Liturgical Norms for Homilies’ Fr. Frank Pavone points out: “Liturgy is, ultimately, a life-giving encounter with God. There can be no more appropriate setting in which to proclaim and defend the gift of life. The liturgical laws of the Church certainly leave the door wide open for such a proclamation and defense!”

Those who stood as advocates for life at ‘calvary’ in Pinellas Park, Florida did so with the “dauntless fidelity” called for by the Holy Father. They came with hope that Terri’s life would be saved and with love to help the Shindler family carry their cross.

I don’t think there is a better way to close this reflection than with the following excerpt from Pope John Paul II’s farewell message given during the official departure ceremony for him at the Detroit Airport on 19 September 1987:

“America, your deepest identity and truest character as a nation is revealed in the position you take towards the human person. The ultimate test of your greatness is the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenseless ones. The best traditions of your land presume respect for those who cannot defend themselves. If you want equal justice for all, and true freedom and lasting peace, then, America, defend life! … Every human person – no matter how vulnerable or helpless, no matter how young or how old, no matter how healthy, handicapped or sick, no matter how useful or productive for society – is a being of inestimable worth created in the image and likeness of God. This is the dignity of America, the reason she exists, the condition for her survival – yes, the ultimate test of her greatness: to respect every human person, especially the weakest and most defenseless ones, those as yet unborn.”

Amen.

terri

References:

“Terri and her family”

“Evangelium Vitae”

“A Note On Liturgical Norms for Homilies”

“Pope John Paul II’s farewell message given at the Detroit Airport on 19 September 1987”

 

 

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by Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer, President, Human Life International

Good Friday

Even a casual observer of American society can tell that there is a certain sinister chaos spreading throughout every aspect of public life these days. Naturally, as it filters through society it finds its way into our homes, families and personal lives as well. The reports of monumental breakups and takeovers, meltdowns, dysfunctions, cutbacks, disasters, protests, catastrophic events, scandals, and just plain moral chaos are, shall we say, legion, and it does not look like there will be any let up in the dismantling of our formerly decent society any time soon. Public officials and the movers-and-shakers of social communications long ago divorced American culture from authentic Christian values, and the result is that modern America has found itself first wandering then running down a very slippery slope to moral and social anarchy. The darkness has settled upon us.

This idea came home to me this week when I attended the 5th Anniversary Mass of Terri Schindler Schiavo at Ave Maria University in FL. How well I remember the horrible killing scene in Pinellas Park, FL in 2005 when the combined efforts of pro-lifers and some political allies were not able to stop the forward motion of such raw evil. From the Florida circuit courts all the way up to the US Supreme Court, the corrupt judiciaries refused to intervene and even ordered her killing, with impunity. The US Congress was almost laughably powerless to help. The utter uselessness of the bishop and clergy in the diocese where Terri was murdered was a microcosm of the Church Impotent rather than the Church Militant. The thousands of calls that the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation now gets in their attempt to stop other similar killings are an indication that this same darkness is now penetrating our society at an alarming level.

Every aspect of American society is touched by this chaos: the pervasive and unstoppable corruption in government, the major media, Hollywood, academia, healthcare, and even within our own churches! All of this corruption is multiplying the shadows over our society and penetrating into every aspect of personal and family life as we speak.

What I find most alarming, as an exorcist, is the spread of truly occult phenomena in our youth culture. It used to be that vampires had to go back into their coffins with the first streaks of dawn. Now handsome young vampires are sullying the covers of every gossip magazine and tantalizing prime time audiences with their evil – and teenage girls are just swooning for them…. Don’t be fooled: the vampire culture is the spawn of the Harry Potter culture that has washed over our youth for a decade and still seduces parents into thinking it is all just “harmless entertainment.” Kids dressing up as sorcerers, blogging about vampires, dabbling in Wicca – it’s just plain seductive and evil. Our Baptismal Promises demand that we “reject Satan and all his works and all his empty promises,” and that includes demons, witches and vampires!

If I were anything other than a Christian, I would probably despair of the status of the culture all around us. Yes, there are movements fighting to take the culture and politics back, but most of these are just about political power and, if they have an effect at all, they will just install another version of corruption in place of the political devils they cast out.

The reason I don’t despair in the face of all this darkness, though, is because I remember that once-upon-a-time Evil had its Hour. I am not talking about sixty-minutes of willowy darkness. I am talking about the worst crime ever committed in history, the blackest deed ever known to man: the killing of the Son of God on Calvary. The corrupt politicians, clergy and laity of the day were all implicated in the crime. Worst of all, the devil was sitting back gloating at his masterpiece of evil.

But much to the devil’s surprise, evil did not win the Day…because at that very moment of deepest darkness, the Son of God did something utterly unforeseen and caught the whole wicked world unaware: He shattered the darkness and rose from the dead! Who would have imagined!

Ever after, those who persevere through Good Friday looking toward the joy of Easter Sunday find themselves immersed in the same eternal mystery of Light. Christ has pierced the darkness and given us Hope! We can sing the great “Te Deum” hymn with the greatest fervor now in every dark hour of our lives: “In you Lord is our hope – and we shall never hope in vain!”

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My reflection at the time.

Deacon Fournier today.


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