Archive of March 18, 2005

Schiavo’s feeding tube removed, National Right to Life imploring congress to pass one bill

Pinellas Park, Fla., Mar 18, 2005 (CNA) - Around 1:45pm EST on Friday, the family of brain-damaged Terri Schiavo announced that the 41-year old woman’s feeding tube was removed.            
Schiavo has been at the center of a nearly decade-long battle between her family and husband Michael Schiavo, who has been trying to have the feeding tube, which has provided his wife with food and hydration for 15 years, removed.

In February, Florida Judge George Greer ruled in favor of Michael and ordered the tube removed today at 1:00pm EST.

Since Wednesday night, a legal roller coaster ride has ensued, involving congressional subpoenas issued to Terri, her husband and medical personnel at the hospice where Terri currently resides. Despite this, and the ruling of another Florida judge earlier Friday, Judge Greer demanded that the tube be removed as scheduled.

Lori Kehoe, congressional liaison for the National Right to Life told CNA Friday afternoon that the group is imploring people to “drop everything and call their senators and representatives and ask them to pass one bill.”

Late Wednesday, the House of Representatives managed to pass a bill, which may have blocked the removal of the feeding tube, but Thursday, the Senate passed a narrower bill, which many doubt would make it to law on time. 

An impassioned George Felos, attorney for Michael Schiavo, speaking to reporters Friday, called the efforts of the U.S. Congress, acts of, “thuggery,” and “political strongarming.”

He added that he doesn’t know if today marks the end of the Schiavo battle, citing two new federal lawsuits, which have been filed since the tube was removed.

In response to Felos’ comments, Kehoe told CNA that, far from political strongarming, she thinks Americans will be delighted and encouraged “that members of congress, both on the right and left have come together to rescue a helpless woman.”

She is still hopeful for Terri, noting that “so many people are working from so many different angles, maybe God will use one of these to save her life.”

Friday afternoon marks the third time that Terri’s feeding tube has been removed along with acts in 2001 and 2003.

Pro-life groups say they are undeterred by today’s news and will continue to fight until the final hour. Sources say that once the feeding tube is removed, it could take between 7 and 10 days to end Terri’s life.

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Judge rejects congressional action to save Schiavo’s life

Pinellas Park, Fla., Mar 18, 2005 (CNA) - Florida Judge George Greer, rejecting moves of members of congress as well as a ruling by another judge an hour before, has ordered the feeding tube of 41-year old Terri Schiavo to be removed, effective immediately.

Judge Greer said that he saw no reason to change his earlier decision, which granted permission to Terri’s husband, Michael Schiavo to remove his wife’s feeding tube as early as 1:00pm EST today. Terri has been in a brain-damaged state since 1990 and requires food and water delivered through the tube to stay alive.

Earlier today, lawmakers issued a subpoena to bring Terri before a Senate Health Committee meeting on March 28th. Under federal law, it is illegal to impose any harm on someone who has been issued a congressional subpoena.

David Gibbs, attorney for Terri’s parents, said that he’s “optimistic that no responsible” doctor or medical staff would remove the tube given today’s congressional action.

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Florida judge blocks removal of Schiavo’s feeding tube

Pinellas Park, Fla., Mar 18, 2005 (CNA) - A Florida judge has temporarily blocked the removal of Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube past today’s scheduled 1:00pm EST deadline.

David Demers, Pinellas Circuit Court Chief Judge, sitting in for Judge George Greer, who originally ordered the feeding tube removed, issued the statement amid legal races by pro-life lawmakers to save Schiavo’s life.

Just earlier, the Senate Health Committee issued a subpoena for Schiavo to appear before congress on March 28th. Under federal law, it is illegal to impose harm or death on anyone who has been issued a congressional subpoena.

Simultaneously, the Pinellas Park hospice where Schiavo currently resides also received a subpoena although its specific details are unclear.

David Gibbs, attorney for Schiavo’s parents said that, “It is a contempt of Congress to prevent or discourage someone from following the subpoena that's been issued. What the U.S. Congress is saying is, `We want to see Terri Schiavo.'"

He added that, "The family is prayerfully excited about their daughter going before the United States Congress for the whole world to see how alive she is."

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Congress calls Terri Schiavo to Washington

Pinellas Park, Fla., Mar 18, 2005 (CNA) - In a race to beat a 1:00pm EST court ordered deadline to remove the feeding tube of brain-damaged Terri Schiavo, lawmakers have issued subpoenas to bring her and her husband Michael Schiavo before a Senate Health Committee meeting on March 28th.

Terri’s husband has staged a multi year battle against her parents to have the feeding tube, which provides Terri with food and hydration, removed. In February, Florida Judge George Greer ruled in his favor and set the March 18th deadline.

David Gibbs, attorney for Schiavo’s parents said that, "It is a contempt of Congress to prevent or discourage someone from following the subpoena that's been issued. What the U.S. Congress is saying is, 'We want to see Terri Schiavo.'"

He added that, "The family is prayerfully excited about their daughter going before the United States Congress for the whole world to see how alive she is."

Under federal law, it is illegal to cause harm or death to a person who has been issued a Congressional subpoena.
Senate majority leader Bill Frist (R-TN) issued a statement today saying that the purpose of the hearing was to review health care policies and practices relevant to the care of non-ambulatory people.

In the midst of the last-minute legal battles, Judge Greer denied an appeal from the state of Florida to block the tube’s removal.

Schiavo’s feeding tube has already been removed twice before, once in 2001, and again in 2003. Her family has vowed to fight for their daughter’s life even up until the last moment.

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Pope demonstrates ‘unfathomable dignity’ of priesthood, says Cardinal Castrillon

Vatican City, Mar 18, 2005 (CNA) - This morning, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, presented John Paul II’s long awaited Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday 2005.

 Archbishop Csaba Ternyak and Msgr. Giovanni Carru, respectively secretary and under-secretary of the congregation were also present at this morning’s press conference and presentation of the letter.

 The Vatican published the eleven-page document in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Polish. It was dated March 13th.

Cardinal Castrillon told reporters that this year's Letter is particularly significant because it was signed in "a place marked by the Cross of Christ," Rome's Gemelli Hospital.

The cardinal said that, "In the silence of his suffering, the Pope, with the example of a life given 'to the end', repeats the Pauline affirmation: 'we preach Christ crucified, ... the power of God and the wisdom of God,' loving all men with Christ's charity and completing in his own body what is lacking in the passion of the one Savior and Redeemer," referring to Colossians 1:24.

The prefect continued, saying, "From his own cross, the Pope indicates to each priest the unfathomable dignity, conferred upon him by ordination, of being able to pronounce, 'in persona Christi,' the words that instituted the Eucharistic mystery, and of receiving the capacity to transform his own priestly existence into a radical gift for the Church and for humanity."

"Conformed to Christ,” he said, “we priests are called by the Pope to transform ourselves into Eucharistic bread, giving thanks to God with our own lives, for the work of salvation achieved by His only begotten Son."

Cardinal Castrillon noted that the Holy Father "reminds us of 'the obedience of love,' that grateful obligation with which we have been entrusted, to give ourselves entirely to the People of God, an obligation that we assumed on the day of our priestly ordination and that finds expression, as an example for all the faithful, in following the authoritative discernment of bishops, imitating Christ Who at the last Supper entrusted Himself to the Church.”

What we are giving is our autonomy, even our legitimate autonomy, a giving against which modern culture rebels as it seeks self-realization in reason unfettered by any limitation."

"Once more,” he continued, “in this year of the Eucharist, the Holy Father introduces us with love to the 'mysterium Paschae', which is the great mystery of faith.”

With the gentleness of faith, we are invited by the Pope to reverently safeguard the liturgical norms that not only protect the sacredness of the Rite but give it luster. We priests will accept his words in order to be custodians of the Eucharist, in a continuous vigil and in all corners of the earth, and on our knees before the Tabernacle we will place all our solitude."

The cardinal concluded by highlighting the fact that "despite the passing of the years, strengthened by the Pope's words, we will spread the youthfulness of God Who is in us and irradiate it to those we meet on our way.”

The Holy Father assures us that from priestly sanctity will grow new life for the Church, with vocations that will guarantee the ardor of new evangelization, nourished by the bread of eternal life."

Read the full document at:

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House to issue subpoena in last minute attempt to save Schiavo

Washington D.C., Mar 18, 2005 (CNA) - Yesterday, the House and Senate struggled to pass a bill agreeable to both groups of lawmakers. While the House managed to pass the Incapacitated Person's Legal Protection Act of 2005, the Senate passed a narrower version of the bill that many fear won't make it to law on time due to the Easter recess. Pro-life leaders are now looking at last minute options to save brain-damaged Terri Schiavo, whose feeding tube is scheduled to be removed at 1:00 EST today.

Members of the House of Representatives, late Thursday evening, issued a statement saying that they would issue subpoena documents to the hospital and hospice workers responsible for the removal of Schiavo’s feeding tube.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis issued a joint statement late Thursday describing the group’s plan.

"We will issue a subpoena which will require hospice administrators and attending physicians to preserve nutrition and hydration for Terri Schiavo to allow Congress to fully understand the procedures and practices that are currently keeping her alive," said the statement.

Others are also looking into the subpoena option, including Mike Enzi (R-WI), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee, who has requested that Schiavo herself testify before his committee.


Legally, a subpoena must protect the individual from harm or death until their scheduled appearance.


Florida judge George Greer, ruled last month in favor of Terri’s husband, Michael Schiavo, who has been trying to end his wife’s life for years. Terri’s family however, has vowed to fight him every step of the way, even until the last moments. 

Terri’s brother, Bobby Schindler told reporters that his sister “has an incredible will to live. She hasn't given up on us these past 15 years. We're going to do everything we can to try to provide her the help she deserves and get her home and be with her family."

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Bush issues statement on Terri Schiavo; pro-life groups vow not to give up

Washington D.C., Mar 18, 2005 (CNA) - Yesterday, on the eve of the scheduled starvation of brain-damaged Terri Schiavo, President George Bush issued a formal statement speaking out against the act.

The president said that although, “The case of Terri Schiavo raises complex issues… in instances like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws, and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life.”

He added that, “Those who live at the mercy of others deserve our special care and concern. It should be our goal as a nation to build a culture of life, where all Americans are valued, welcomed, and protected - and that culture of life must extend to individuals with disabilities.”

Pro-life groups and lawmakers are racing against the clock to beat today’s 1:00 pm deadline before Schiavo’s feeding tube is scheduled to be removed. Sources say that once it is taken out, it will take between 7 and 10 days to end her life.

Late Wednesday, the House of Representatives managed to pass a bill, which may have blocked the removal of the feeding tube, but Thursday, a narrower bill passed the senate which many doubt will make it to law on time.

Pro-life groups are not giving up the fight however. The National Right to Life issued a statement Thursday urgently calling on constituents to immediately “contact their Senators and Representative and urge them to do whatever is necessary to resolve the differences between the chambers and get a bill that will save Terri Schiavo to the President's desk before it is too late."

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Pope appears in video to gathering of young people

Rome, Italy, Mar 18, 2005 (CNA) - Pope John Paul II appeared in a live video to hundreds of young people gathered at St. John Lateran Basilica Thursday evening. The young people had gathered to show their support and express their hope that the Pope will travel to World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany, in August, reported the Associated Press.

The appearance lasted less than a minute. The 84-year-old Pope did not speak but made the sign of the cross to the crowd, which broke into cheers. At one point, the Pope reportedly covered his eyes with his hand, and the live video signal cut out.

"We'll see you in Cologne," one of the speakers at the prayer service said. World Youth Day is the Pope’s only scheduled foreign trip of the year. 

The prayer service in St. John Lateran Basilica was presided over by Camillo Cardinal Ruini, the Pope's vicar for Rome. He read a message from John Paul that said: "I wish to spiritually join you, and to express all my affection for you: I know that you are always close to me and you never tire of praying for me. I greet you and thank you from the bottom of my heart." 

He then prayed: "We raise together our eyes to Jesus the Eucharist. ... Jesus, we adore You hidden in the host! In a time marked by hatred, egoism, the desire for false happiness, decadent behavior, the absence of paternal and maternal figures, instability in so many young families and the fragility and uneasiness of which young people are victims, we look to You, Jesus Eucharist with renewed hope.”  

“Notwithstanding our sins,” he continued, “we trust in Your Divine Mercy. ... The heavenly Father created us in His image and likeness; from Him we have received the gift of life that, the more we recognize it as precious from the moment of its beginning to death, the more threatened and manipulated it becomes." 

We adore You, Jesus Eucharist. We adore Your body and blood given for us and for all in the remission of sins. ... As we adore You, how can we not think about the many things we should do to give You glory?.”  

The Pope implored Christ “to understand that 'to do' in Your Church, .... it is important above all 'to be', that is, to stay with You in adoration, in Your gentle company."

The Holy Father added his prayer that each young person present would place Jesus at the center of their lives, commit to building "a civilization of love, and participate in Sunday, and even daily, Mass." 

He said he hoped for many vocations to the consecrated life and to the priesthood as well as "generous vocations to holiness, which is the high measure of ordinary Christian life, especially in families: It is this which the Church and society most needs today."     

Since returning to the Vatican from Gemelli Hospital Sunday, the Pope has committed to only one public appearance during Holy Week — a blessing on Easter Sunday. Senior cardinals are expected to stand in for him at other events next week.

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U.S. Senate passes bill that could save Terri Schiavo by voice vote

Washington D.C., Mar 18, 2005 (CNA) - Senator Mel Martinez’s (R-FL) private relief bill to aid Terri Schiavo passed the Senate by a voice vote yesterday.

The Incapacitated Person’s Legal Protection Act of 2005 will allow Schiavo’s parents to appeal to a Federal Court and give the court an opportunity to ensure that Schiavo’s due process rights had not been violated in the state judicial proceedings.

Earlier yesterday, Concerned Women for America (CWA) issued a statement, urging the Senate to take immediate action to save Schiavo, a 41-year-old disabled woman, whose feeding tube is scheduled to be removed this afternoon.

"Terri's plight is a clear choice for Americans. It’s a watershed moment whether we as a country will decide for disabled people that their death is preferable to us than life," Wendy Wright, CWA's senior policy director, had said in a statement.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed identical legislation March 16. It had been sponsored by Congressman Dave Weldon (R-FL) and would delay the removal of Schiavo's feeding tube by moving the case to federal court.

However, Senate Democrats blocked the legislation, reported Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said he would try to pass a separate bill.

"If we don't act or if somebody does not act, a living person who has a level of consciousness, who is self-breathing will be starved to death here in the next two weeks," Frist reportedly said.
Florida's state House also passed a bill yesterday by a vote of 78-37 that would help to keep Schiavo alive. reported that the Senate immediately began debating a scaled-down version of the House bill, which would block withholding of food and water from patients in a persistent vegetative state who didn't leave a written directive. The Senate bill would apply only to cases in which families disagreed on the patient's wishes.

Florida state Sen. Dan Webster, R-Winter Garden, the bill's sponsor in the Senate, said the new legislation avoids the constitutional problems found in "Terri's Law" of 2003, which the Florida Supreme Court said violated the legal separation between the three branches of government.

Schindler lobbies in Washington

The CWA also reported that Schiavo’s brother, Bobby Schindler, has been in Washington, lobbying senators and congressmen to protect her life.
Wright reported that Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-Connecticut), one of the few congressmen to speak against the bill to save Schiavo, said to Bobby: “That's not a life.”

She underlined that Johnson said this about a woman who responds to jokes and communicates through blinking  “even trying to stand up when told that if she didn't attempt to, then she would be killed."

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Abortion still included in Millennium Development Goals

, Mar 18, 2005 (CNA) - Universal access to reproductive health, which includes abortion, should be included in the United Nation’s strategy for the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), concluded a UN conference this week.

The Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute reported that delegates at the two-day meeting of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) agreed Thursday that the international strategy to reduce poverty and improve quality of life should be expanded to include a broad feminist agenda.

The conference was held in preparation for a major progress review of the MDGs this September. 

A number of delegates voiced their support for universal access to abortion. France Donnay, chief of the Reproductive Health Branch of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), reportedly said, "reproductive health and rights are at the core of life for every human being" and "include...the means to avoid unwanted pregnancies." 

She added: "Universal access to reproductive health, including family planning, is the starting point" for achieving the MDGs, and nations should include sexual and reproductive health in their universal health care plans. 

Lynn Freedman, lead author of a key UN-commissioned report on reducing maternal mortality, recommended that universal access to reproductive health be achieved by 2015.

Norway and Canada welcomed these recommendations.

The UN Secretary General's progress report on the MDGs will be released March 21.

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St. Patrick is model for evangelization, says archbishop

Canberra, Australia, Mar 18, 2005 (CNA) - St. Patrick is a much-celebrated saint because he was able to engage the “spirit of the people” and communicate the Gospel to them in their time and culture, said Archbishop Francis Carroll.

"His own totally authentic faith, his deep love of God and of the people he served, carried their own conviction. Somehow he engaged the very spirit of the people," said the president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. He spoke of the popular Irish saint at a St. Patrick’s Day ecumenical service at the Australian Center for Christianity and Culture in Canberra yesterday.

St. Patrick, he said, "spoke to [the people’s] deepest hungers, desires, and aspirations and so the Gospel message flowed into and transformed the very genius of the Irish without destroying or binding its energy."

Archbishop Carroll said that while much is said of the inculturation of the Gospel today, this is "much more than a matter of language, the use of symbols and the adaptation of local customs." 

"The Christian message must engage the very spirit of modern men and women, speak to their deepest aspirations and satisfy the real hungers of the human heart,” he said.

"In today's Church much energy is spent in pastoral planning, strategic thinking and professionalism in ministry. These have their place but do they leave sufficient room for the movement of the unpredictable Spirit who guided and energized Paul and Patrick," he said.

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Wisconsin Bishop praises firefighters for protecting Eucharist

, Mar 18, 2005 (CNA) - While Bishop Robert Morlino is still lamenting the gutting of St. Raphael Cathedral, spiritual home of nearly 270,000 Catholics in the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, to fire, he has a lot to be grateful for.

The 150-year old building may be beyond repair but the Bishop expressed his gratefulness that no one was hurt in Monday’s early morning blaze.

Bishop Morlino told a press conference on Tuesday that he would not tire of telling the story of the Madison firefighters who risked their lives struggling through the unstable, burned-out cathedral to rescue the consecrated Eucharist hosts.

He said that the firefighters "went in there and had to cut their way through and they brought it out with great reverence.”

The diocese is currently exploring whether the cathedral, parish home to over 350 families, will be repaired or rebuilt entirely.

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Confessions over the internet invalid, say Peruvian bishops

Lima, Peru, Mar 18, 2005 (CNA) - Responding to a string of television programs promoting Confession over the internet, the Bishops Conference of Peru said this week the Sacrament of Reconciliation requires the physical presence of the penitent and the priest.

In a statement, the bishops recalled that Reconciliation was instituted by Jesus Christ “to erase the sins committed after Baptism,” and that in order to receive it, in addition to its inherent requirements, “the physical presence of the priest and the manifestation of his sins to the priest in person” are obligatory.

“In no case can long distance, complete confession of grave sins or absolution of a priest be considered valid by the Catholic Church,” the bishops emphasized.  They went on to cite the document of February 22, 2002, published by the Pontifical Council on Social Communications on the Church and the Internet, which points out that, “virtual reality cannot substitute for the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, nor the sacramental reality of the other sacraments, nor the worship shared in a human community of flesh and bones.”

“Sacraments on the internet do not exist,” the text adds.  “Even religious experiences that are possible there through the grace of God are insufficient if they are separated from interaction in the real world with other persons of faith.”

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Church in Costa Rica objects to plan to legalize abortion

, Mar 18, 2005 (CNA) - The Special Committee for the Defense of Life of the Bishops Conference of Costa Rica decided this week to send legal, medical and ethical objections to proposed changes in the law that would legalize abortion to the President and leaders of Congress in that country.

According to Alexandra Loria, member of the Committee, the proposed changes contain measures that, in addition to favoring abortion, also promote the use of contraception from a very young age.  Specifically, in a section on sexual and reproductive rights, the proposal refers to abortion as a “right of all women.”

The President of the Bishops Conference of Costa Rica, Archbishop Jose Francisco Ulloa, underscored the importance of the work of the Committee for the Defense of Life, “because, in addition to the recurring appearance of Government proposals that are contrary to the country’s laws and to Costa Rican society, we are experiencing the imposition of strategies to legalize abortion in Costa Rica.”

“It cannot be that, while we Christians continue to face such a serious adversary alone, organizations that promote a culture of death collaborate together and share well-defined objectives and strategies with regards to the legalization and decriminalization of abortion,” the archbishop said. 

The chairman of the Social Affairs Committee, Congressman Juan Jose Vargas Fallas, said he would “sharply oppose any law that would break with Christian principles, especially if it is a bill that would attack the life of a human being.”

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John Paul II is most respected leader among Spanish

Madrid, Spain, Mar 18, 2005 (CNA) - According to a study by the Elcano Royal Institute of Spain published in the daily “La Razon,” Pope John Paul II is the world leader most respected by the Spanish.  The Holy Father earned higher approval ratings than Javier Solana of the European Union, Kofi Annan of the UN, and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

According to the study that evaluates 14 world personalities, Pope John Paul II once again obtained the highest approval ratings despite numerous attacks on his image in the Spanish media.

The study showed that world leaders least respected include Tony Blair, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro.

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