Florida Bishops break silence on Schiavo case

.- In a statement made public yesterday, but dated February 28th, the Florida Catholic Conference broke their silence regarding brain-damaged Terri Schiavo, who has spent the last ten years in hospice care unable to speak or move. A Florida judge ruled last week that Terri’s husband, Micheal Schiavo could remove the feeding tube, which provides her with daily food and water, in two weeks.

Many Pro-life organizations have been urging the Florida bishops to speak out for Terri and her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, who have vowed to continue the fight to save their daughter’s life.

In their statement, the bishops were quick to point out that “Mrs. Schiavo is not ‘brain dead’ or comatose.”

They added that she “is a defenseless human being with inherent dignity, deserving of our respect, care and concern.” 

“Her plight”, they continued, “dramatizes one of the most critical questions we face:  To be a truly human society, how should we care for those we may not be able to cure?”

The bishops indicated that in their previous statements, they had “made it clear that there should be a presumption in favor of providing nutrition and hydration even by artificial means as long as it is of sufficient benefit to outweigh the burdens involved to the patient.” 

They reiterated that plea, asking that, “Mrs. Schiavo [continue] to receive all treatments and care that will be of benefit to her.”  

The statement also cited Pope John Paul II, who said March 2004 that, “the administration of water and food, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act.”

The bishops closed the statement clearly indicating their desire that those persons responsible for Terri “will see that she continues to receive nourishment, comfort and loving care.”

The statement was signed by, Archbishop John C. Favalora of the Archdiocese of Miami, and Bishops John J. Nevins of the Diocese of Venice, John H. Ricard, SSJ of the Diocese of Pensacola/Tallahassee, Victor Galeone of the Diocese of St. Augustine, Gerald M. Barbarito, JCL of the Diocese of Palm Beach, Thomas G. Wenski of the Diocese of Orlando, Felipe J. Estévez of the Archdiocese of Miami and Robert N. Lynch of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Schiavo’s home diocese.


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