.- The leader of a national pro-life organization reiterated his previous statements yesterday that Terri Schiavo’s death was murder. "Terri Schiavo was in fact murdered by being deprived of food and water for 13 days,” said Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life. The priest had received criticism for making that same statement immediately following Schiavo’s death last week.
The 41-year-old brain-damaged woman died March 31 after her feeding tube removed March 18 by court order. The court order was the result of a years-long legal battle between her husband, Michael Schiavo, and her parents. The court ruled in favor of her husband, who argued that Terri had expressed to him that she would not want to be kept alive under these conditions.
“The reason Michael Schiavo's attorney George Felos was so upset that I said this is because he is a euthanasia advocate, and the only way to advance euthanasia is to sugar-coat it, and never call it murder. But it is,” said Fr. Pavone.
“Moreover, it is inaccurate to describe Terri Schiavo's death as peaceful and gentle,” he continued. “I was with her for several hours the night before she died and again the next morning, up until 10 minutes before she died. She was in an agony unlike anything I have ever seen, and to describe it in any other way is irresponsible and dishonest.
Fr. Pavone acknowledged Felos' plea that he “speak words of compassion and reconciliation.”
“I have indeed done so publicly over recent months,” said Fr. Pavone. “But compassion does not mean compromising the truth, and reconciliation is possible only when one repents of doing evil acts like killing.
“The role of a priest, moreover, is not simply to make people feel good, but to denounce injustice and proclaim truth, no matter how discomforting it may be,” he added.