Catholic leaders urged to defend Terri Schiavo’s right to life

.- American Life League is calling on Florida’s bishops and priests to defend Terri Schindler Schiavo’s right to life and to speak out against the court decision that will have the disabled woman’s feeding tube removed March 18.

Terri Schiavo, 41, has been lying in a hospice for more than 10 years, unable to speak or to move. While she is able to breathe on her own and respond to some stimuli, she requires a feeding tube for routine nutrition and hydration.

Her husband, Michael Schiavo, has been fighting her parents to have the feeding tube removed. A judge recently ruled in his favor and the tube is to be removed in two weeks. If the tube is removed, it could take as long as several weeks for Terri to die from starvation and dehydration.

"Now more than ever, the Catholic Church must pray and take action on Terri's behalf,” stated Judie Brown, president of American Life League.

Terri’s bishop, Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, and other U.S. bishops “must not let Terri die a painful death while they quietly sit by and do nothing," said Brown in a press release.

The Florida Catholic Conference released a statement Feb. 28 stating its "continued concerns for Terri Schiavo," but Brown says this is not enough.

“Now is the time for them to offer Masses for Terri's safety and encourage every priest in Florida to do likewise,” she said. Bishops and priests should preach from the pulpits about the sacredness of human life, participate in public vigils and prayer services, and contact public officials insisting that everything possible be done to protect Terri, she urged.

The American Life League also denounced Judge George Greer’s decision, calling it “a death sentence.” 

"Judge Greer's ruling is unconscionable," said Brown. "Terri is not being treated as the living, breathing human person that she is. Rather, her basic civil rights are being tragically trampled upon.

Brown called on all Catholics to pray for Terri and for the conversion of her husband.

"All Christians, clergy and lay people alike, must display true courage and stand against this injustice,” she said. “Terri is not dead yet and we must do all we can to prevent that tragedy from occurring."

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