The president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, said this week that Italy’s “Terri Schiavo,” Eluana Englaro, “has been condemned to die of hunger and thirst because she has been living in a vegetative state for many years. Let us hope that at the last minute this decision will be reconsidered and ideology will not completely blind consciences.”
According to the SIR news agency, the cardinal made his comments at the conclusion of a Mass for the 27th Congress of the Centers for Aid to Life. The case he was referring to involves a 37 year-old Italian whose feeding tubes have been removed after the Supreme Court ruled her father had the right to disconnect them to bring about her death. The case is being compared to what happened in the U.S. with Terri Schiavo, who died thirteen days after her tube was removed.
Cardinal Antonelli said, "Eluana is in a 'vegetative state,' but she is not a vegetable. She is a person who is sleeping," he said. "The person, also when she is sleeping or disabled, retains all of her dignity. The person is valuable in herself, not for what she produces or consumes, or for the pleasure or satisfaction she gives to others."
“We are called to bear witness even with our sacrifice” and to make an “intelligent, generous and persevering effort in favor of life,” the cardinal said.
"Many words have been said and written about Eluana's case," he continued. "The most beautiful and persuasive of these are those [spoken] by the nuns (who care for Eluana): 'If there is someone who considers her dead, let them leave Eluana to continue with us, who feel she is alive ... Let us have the freedom to love and to give ourselves to one who is weak.'"
“I feel I must repeat the call of Mother Teresa, ‘Don’t kill the children with abortion. If you don’t want them, give them to me’,” the cardinal said.