Friday, June 17, 2005

"She could never recover"

What exactly does this mean? Recover means get better, and most think that means that one must be perfect, just as they were before any accident, etc took place.

Recover does not necessarily mean this. When an accident victim loses a leg or an arm, that limb may not be able to be reattached. However, the person can still recover. Get better. Walk to the best of their ability with helping aids, such as a prosthetic leg, crutches, or get around in a wheel chair.

If a person loses their eye sight, they can most likely never get it back, but they can learn to read again with Braille, listen to books, etc on tape. Though they will never be the same... they can recover. Get better.

If a person loses their colon to cancer or ulcerative colitis, they will never be the same, but they CAN recover, get better, continue to live. They will need to use a bag as a receptacle for the normal by-products of living, but they do recover. The cancer is gone, with surgery and possibly chemo, radiation...

Someone with brain damage may never be 'back to normal', but they can recover. Terri Schindler Schiavo DID recover and was living, healthy, until someone pulled her tube and refused her food and water. Once that was done, there was no longer any hope of further recovery. Long ago, when therapy was refused her by her guardian... husband, her recovery was slowed. Though it is true, Terri would never be as she was before her collapse, Terri could be helped to live to the best level she could manage to attain. Terri was living. Until they killed her by dehydrating her.

Terri was DISABLED, not dying. Terri had severe brain damage, but it was NOT non-functioning. We were taught long ago in nursing school that NO ONE KNOWS for sure what a person is able to understand when in this state. No one. And for anyone to tell you that Terri could not understand at some level is to make a claim that is not possible to make.

The autopsy did not give us the reason for her collapse, but it DID rule out bulimia. Loudly and clearly. It could not show soft tissue trauma that she may have had fifteen years ago, that could have told us more about why she collapsed. The autopsy could only tell us what we already knew. Terri was dehydrated to death, and had severe brain damage.

What COULD have told us more would have been to have had a PET Scan and an MRI before she was dehydrated/starved to death. THAT could have told us much more. The 'cover-all' diagnosis of PVS may also have been ruled out with further testing, but cannot be diagnosed with a dead body, according to many neurologists.

The Medical Examiner has left the door open for further evidence, which may some day surface. It may sound as though Felos was correct to those who do not know or do not want to know differently. But it proves what we already knew. Terri was NOT DYING when they pulled her tube and stopped the liquids that keep all of us alive. She was not dying at all. But she was disabled.

Do you know anyone that is disabled? Anyone of those disabled with any kind of brain damage? If you don't, then you are very unfortunate. I do. I know many of them, and each individual person deserves respect and dignity ...and life, regardless of what some may judge them to be. They teach us love. They deserve to be treated as a human being, including with food and water, air and shelter. Those are life support, you know....

No one ever said Terri could 'recover' to be what she was before. But Terri may have been able to regain some things, had a promise been kept to provide her with at least basic therapies. Regardless, Terri was alive, and healthy, until they killed her.

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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Atrophy of Compassion (Fr Pavone on the autopsy)

Fr Pavone,

There is a verse of Scripture someplace that says "I thank God everytime I think of you" (paraphrased). And I think of that verse whenever I see your name.

Continue to speak Truth, Fr Pavone, please! We need to hear it, and THIS letter, I put here in its entirety, as I could NOT have said this better myself. God bless you, Fr.

Numbers 6:24-26

June 16, 2005

Atrophy of Compassion
Fr. Frank comments on Terri Schiavo autopsy

The autopsy of Terri Schiavo has been released to the public, bringing attention

once again to this sad and tragic case, and
reigniting so many of the debates surrounding her life and death. Does the autopsy
shed any light on this tragedy? Does it
change anything?

The autopsy, of course, is a medical document about Terri's physical condition. It

is filled with complicated medical terms and
statistics. In and of itself, it tells us simply the details found upon examining
Terri's body. An autopsy is not a crystal ball
either into the past or the future. Nor is it a moral evaluation of the worth of a

human life.

The big temptation is to stretch the autopsy beyond its purposes, and somehow get it
to do more than it can do. Some, indeed,
wonder whether this autopsy was, from the beginning, a political tool worked out by

the euthanasia advocates to advance their
agenda regarding Terri. Whether or not that is the case, the autopsy will certainly
be used by such advocates to further de-
humanize Terri and rob her of her claim to care and protection.

But let's presume that those who conducted this exam did so objectively and
honestly. What, then, do we learn?

For one thing, the autopsy shows that all the media reports that so confidently
asserted that Terri collapsed because of "an

eating disorder" or "a heart attack" should not have been so confident. In short,
the autopsy does not provide a basis for those
claims, and leaves the cause of her initial collapse in 1990 a mystery.

Was Michael Schiavo at all responsible for her collapse? The autopsy does not answer
that question. Perhaps Michael should.

What the exam does tell us, however, is that Terri died from dehydration. Of course,

we knew that already. She wasn't given
any water the last two weeks of her life, and we know why. Michael, and those acting
in concert with him, insisted on that and
got the courts to enforce their wishes. We don't know if Michael was responsible for

Terri's injury, but we do know he was
responsible for her death.

The autopsy goes on to say that Terri's brain was "profoundly atrophied," and only
half the normal size. Fine. If that's what

the experts tell us, there is no problem believing them. But what does that mean,
that she was only half-human, only half a
person, or that she had only half the rights that the rest of us have? That is the
conclusion that we must never accept. That is a

conclusion that does not come from an autopsy, but from a callous disregard for
human life.

Terri did not die from atrophy of the brain. She died from an atrophy of compassion.
Too many people, starting with Michael,

were unwilling to accept the fact that profoundly injured people require profound
compassion and care. Even if this autopsy
report showed that Terri was ten times more damaged than she was, our moral
obligation to respect and protect her life would

not change at all. We don't have to pass a test to qualify for our human rights. An
autopsy is a measure of physical damage, not
of human rights.

The autopsy says Terri was blind. That is not the morally relevant point. The point

is that we are blind...Blind all too often to
the fact that even the disabled and the severely injured have the same dignity and
worth as the rest of us, and show forth the
image and glory of God, even in their brokenness.

The autopsy says that Terri was beyond repair or rehabilitation. But that does not
mean we are supposed to throw her away,
like we throw away a car that is beyond repair. Again, there is no problem accepting

this medical conclusion. But morally
speaking, our compassion is not beyond repair. We can build a society that respects
and protects all our brothers and sisters,
recognizing that their value does not come from how well they function, perform, or


I will never forget my hours with Terri, both before and after her feeding tube was
removed. She responded to me, and she
responded to others who visited her. She laughed, she tried to speak, she returned

her parents' kisses, she followed us with her
eyes, she closed her eyes when I prayed with her and opened them when we were
finished. Medical examiners can offer their
conclusions because of what they saw, but none of that changes what we saw. But both

we and the medical examiners were
looking in from the outside. Any honest medical expert will admit that there is so
much about the human brain we still don't
know. What Terri experienced on the inside is a mystery that only she and God know.

The challenge at this moment is simply this. Whatever she experienced, to whatever
extent she was damaged, and even if she
were totally unresponsive, Terri was one of us. She was our sister, she was a child

of God, she was fully in possession of her
human rights, and nothing can ever justify what was done to her.

Terri Schiavo was murdered, because she was deprived of food and water. We've done
the examination on her body. Maybe

it's time for an examination of our souls.

Contact Priests for Life at PO Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314
Tel: 888-PFL-3448, 718-980-4400; Fax: 718-980-6515
; web:

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Fr Rob called it this morning, early

Read Fr Rob's blog today from 6:30ish AM, long before the autopsy results were in, with his expert opinions...

Monday, June 13, 2005

We Need Leadership like this HERE

There is only one problem. This should be NORMAL, not a 'novelty'.... not something rare... All marriages are to be considered Valid. All should be living their vows til death parts, even if it is after civil divorce. Justify and rationalize it all if you want to, but that has been Catholic teaching from the beginning.

And remember Bishop Sheen's words ...

"Right is still right if nobody is right,

and wrong is still wrong if everybody is wrong,"
--Archbishop Fulton J Sheen author of The Life of Christ

Please sign the petition posted at
and forward this url on to others.
Thank you!

Code: ZE05060803

Date: 2005-06-08

Group Helps Separated Catholics Remain Faithful to Marriage

Almost a Vocation Within the Vocation, Says Auxiliary Bishop of Palermo

PALERMO, Sicily, JUNE 8, 2005 ( A separated 62-year-old mother tries to carry out a three-step process for other Catholics who struggle after parting from their spouses.

"Reconstruction of the person who lives acutely the suffering of rejection, forgiveness of the spouse, and renewal of the marital 'yes' to God," are the stages of the spiritual journey undertaken by members of a group called Saint Mary of Cana, according to its coordinator, Maria Pia Campanella.

The group is comprised of separated persons who remain faithful to the marital bond.

The diocesan Commission for Family Pastoral Care is responsible for supporting these separated faithful who are not living with someone else and who seek a spiritual program that includes faithfulness to marital indissolubility and the sacrament they once received.

Last Sunday, Campanella organized a Day of Reflection and Prayer, which concluded with a Mass and the "renewal of the yes," reported the Italian newspaper Avvenire.

Ongoing sanctification

Pasquale Chiancone, director of the diocesan Center for Family Pastoral Care, explained: "Although a couple is separated, the indissolubility gives the faithful spouse the necessary grace to continue to fulfill the mission of marriage: one's own sanctification and that of one's spouse."

It was the goal of Campanella, who over the last few years has traveled around Italy and abroad to study what the Church proposes to those who are separated and who do not intend to start living with someone else.

"I have been married since 1968 and have been separated from my husband since 1990," said the retired teacher, who has three adult children. "Despite the great sorrow, I understood immediately that I would not try to 'remake my life,' as the saying goes. However, I wanted to know the meaning of my suffering.

"What has really sustained me is daily Mass, the Word of God read every day, and personal prayer which I raise to God from my wounded heart. To this I have added reading of the documents of the Church on marriage, trying to understand the meaning of indissolubility in conjugal separation."

Seeking a specific program, Campanella realized that pastoral care for the separated was almost never geared to helping those who do not remarry, and virtually never offered meditations on the sacrament of marriage.

Appreciating the sacrament

"The topic is never spoken about with ease," she observed. Hence the decision of Auxiliary Bishop Salvatore Di Cristina to start a group of spouses faithful to the sacrament of marriage.

Campanella explained: "The group does not meet only to pray, but tries to appreciate the sacrament of marriage and reflect further on the meaning of indissolubility in the situation of conjugal separation.

"The stages of the journey are the reconstruction of the person who lives acutely the suffering of rejection, forgiveness of the spouse, and renewal of the marital 'yes' to God. The wound is there, but it is important that it not become a plague or gangrene."

Bishop Di Cristina, who guides the group, said: "These persons must be helped and introduced into community life. This program of spirituality is interesting so that those who take part in it can support one another in consolation.

"Theirs is a communion of hope, almost a vocation within the marriage vocation. It is the demonstration that the sacrament of marriage is lasting, because it reflects God's faithfulness, who never regrets the love he gives."

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