A U.S. bishop spoke out on behalf of Terri Schindler Schiavo, a brain-damaged Florida woman, who has been in a semi-conscious state for more than 10 years, saying that her life has great worth and that her treatment is not a case of extreme measures.
Bishop Robert F. Vasa of the Diocese of Baker, Oregon, spoke of Terri’s situation in light of Church teachings on medical care and end-of-life treatment.
“The Catholic Church teaches that hydration and nutrition are simply water and food. These must always be provided as long as the food or water itself or the method of delivery is not unduly burdensome to the patient,” he said. “There does not appear to be any indication from Terri that the provision or the method of provision of food and water is burdensome to her.
“To treat her as if she were already dead is cruel and inhumane. To treat her as if she is dying is likewise ludicrous,” said the bishop in a message to Terri’s parents, Mary and Bob Schindler. Bishop Vasa said her parents’ love and battle to keep her alive tell “the world that Terri has great worth.”
“Terri is alive. She is kept alive by the same things that keep me alive – food, water, air. Her disability deprives her of the ability to ingest these things; it does not deprive her of the ability to digest them,” he continued. “She may well die in the future from an inability to digest food but it would be murder to cause her death by denying her the food she still has the ability to digest and which continues to provide for her a definite benefit – life itself.”