Terri Schiavo's Faith May Save Her
Tangibly, that is.

I would guess that everyone is familiar with the story of Terri Schiavo, the brain damaged woman in Florida who is at the center of another storm--a storm about the right to end another's life. Her husband, being the loving sensitive type, wants to starve and/or dehydrate her to death because she is in a chronic vegetative state. Her parents, also being loving sensitive types, have offered to care for her in order to keep her alive. The courts in Florida have sided with the caring husband over the caring parents and have ordered her feeding tube withdrawn. The legislature in Florida, in conjunction with governor Jeb Bush, is fighting to protect her life. At the moment, the Florida Supreme Court is trying to decide whether the latest actions taken by the legislature to keep her alive are appropriate exercises of the legislative power.

Well, it turns out that Ms. Schiavo's parents may have come up with a trump card: Ms. Schiavowas a Roman Catholic and therefore euthanasia is against her firmly held religious convictions. In a new memorandum of points and authorities filed by Ms. Schiavo's parents concerning "substantial change in circumstances that the court must consider" in the case, they argue that her religious beliefs would not have permitted her to accept the withdrawal of her feeding tube.

The new circumstances directly involve Terri's lifelong religious beliefs as a Roman Catholic and her fundamental right to freedom of religious belief and expression.

Lawyers for Terri's parents Bob and Mary Schindler say given a "significant development" in the church's moral teaching that patients in a so-called "persistent vegetative state" should be provided food and water, the court's 2000 decision that Terri would choose to end her life can no longer stand.

In a March 20, 2004 address, Pope John Paul II, head of the Roman Catholic Church, said, "I should like particularly to underline how the administration of food and water, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act. Its use...should be considered, in principle, ordinary and proportionate, and as such morally obligatory..."

The Schindler attorneys say given the "overwhelming evidence of Terri's life-long faith and devotion to the Church - which she proclaimed only hours before her collapse - she would never willingly defy the Holy Father's teaching by consenting to conduct that is now morally forbidden by the Church."

"Terri Schiavo's Parents File Memo Citing 'Substantial Change' in Case"

So, it appears that faith may save Ms. Schaivo regardless of what skeptics believe.


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