.- The removal of Terri Schindler Schiavo’s feeding tube would be “direct euthanasia,” a Vatican official said last week.
Bishop Elio Sgreccia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, told Vatican Radio that the severely disabled 41-year-old Florida woman "should be considered a living human, deprived of full conscience, whose juridical rights should be recognized, respected and defended."
The bishop referred to the court decision, which granted Schiavo’s husband the legal right to remove her feeding tube, as “illicit.” The court ruled that the tube could be removed this week, March 18.
"The removal of the gastric probe from her, in these conditions, could be considered direct euthanasia, because it is an integral part of the way in which Terri Schiavo can be fed and hydrated,” Bishop Sgreccia said on Vatican Radio’s One O Five Live program.
“As far as we can see, prohibiting someone access to food and water represents a ruthless way to kill that person,” he continued. “We feel it our duty to affirm that such a decision goes against the rights of Terri Schiavo and therefore constitutes an abuse of the juridical authority.”
The bishop admitted that it is unusual for the Pontifical Academy for Life to interject in specific cases, but “Terri Schiavo's case goes beyond individual situations due to her exemplary character and the importance that the media have rightly attributed to it."
He said silence, in this case, “could have been interpreted as approval.”
The bishop also warned that if the tube were removed, a juridical precedence would be created in the United States, causing “grave consequences” for others in similar situations in the U.S. and abroad.