Skip to comments.Remembering Terri Schiavo: A Five-Year Anniversary Marked By Cruel Bigotry
Posted on 03/31/2010 5:10:34 AM PDT by wagglebee
March 31st will mark the five-year anniversary of the needless death of my sister, Terri Schiavo.
It is difficult to believe this much time has passed since that horrible event which will be forever seared into my memory.
I wish I could say things have changed for the better since my sisters death or that people with cognitive disabilities are now better protected in response to the horror she had to endure.
Tragically, however, it seems the rights of the brain-injured, elderly and others are still being violated.
All one has to do is look at what happened just last week. On March 21st, Fox aired an episode of The Family Guy that featured a "sketch" called "Terri Schiavo: The Musical." I was astonished at the producers cruel bigotry directed towards my sister and all cognitively disabled people.
Sadly, although more offensive than what my family has seen in the past from the media since Terri died, the bald-faced ignorance expressed in that episode of The Family Guy was nothing new. In fact, all signs indicate that we have embarked on a very disturbing path.
There is no disputing that Terris life and death had an astonishing impact on our nation. Our family still receives letters, emails and phone calls almost every day from people who tell us how Terris story touched them in profound ways, particularly when they come to know the facts.
Indeed, it was because of my familys experience trying to protect Terri that we realized how all persons with similar cognitive disabilities are completely vulnerable to state laws that currently make it legal to deny them the most basic care food and water.
This horrifying realization was why we established Terris Foundation. In Terris name, my family now works to protect tens of thousands of people with similar brain-injuries from having their fundamental freedoms taken away by an aggressive anti-life movement hell-bent on portraying severely disabled and otherwise vulnerable human beings as nothing more than useless eaters.
If the amount of phone calls we receive is any indication, what happened to Terri has become common. I think most people have no idea how our individual rights to make decisions about basic care like food and water, antibiotics, etc., have been so dramatically eroded. This not only includes family members advocating for loved ones but also protecting oneself by medical directive.
We recently heard from a woman whose mother was being cared for at a hospice facility. The daughter was powerless to effectively advocate for her mother because she had no power of attorney.
Even though she was her mothers next-of-kin, and despite the fact her mother was begging her for food, the daughter was not allowed to feed her. It had been determined the mother was no longer able to swallow. But the daughter said her mother was eating safely just prior to being sent to hospice and questioned whether she still could. The mother was not given a feeding tube, and died just a short time later.
Perhaps the Death Panels Sarah Palin spoke of sounded like bombastic language. Yet when Palin added this term into our nations debate on health care, I believe she did not realize that many hospitals and facilities already have something frighteningly similar. Ethics committees are making many life and death decisions about patients, including whether to withhold simple provisions.
In a seemingly clandestine way, these ethics committees comprised of medical and legal professionals are empowering facilities to make life and death decisions independent of the family or a persons own wishes.
The chilling stories we receive make it clear few citizens have any idea how vulnerable they are when it comes to judgments left in the hands of these ethics committees and facilities. And with the federal government now controlling our health care, there is no reason not to believe that these types of committees wont become nationalized. Particularly when a health care system has been sabotaged by cost factors and quality of life judgments.
When our office receives phone calls from people fighting for their loved ones, I cannot help but look back and reflect on the courage of many individuals and groups who advocated on behalf of my sister.
As time has passed, however, many of those people, organizations and politicians even many of our own friends have fallen silent. Many who once ardently supported Terris life no longer actively educate or advocate for vulnerable patients.
With each troubling phone call from a frantic family, I am reminded there are countless other Terris in desperate need of our voice. Terris Foundation has been successful helping to save some, but sadly so many others have fallen victim.
I understand our nation faces many challenges today that may threaten our very existence. But how can we claim to be a just and honorable society, deserving of any blessing at all, if we richly reward hateful bigots while refusing to protect our weakest citizens?
Moreover, how did the tremendous courage and kindness we saw when we were fighting for Terris life have faded? How can any of us abandon this issue when all signs are that things are getting worse?
There are still many who support our efforts, who recognize the erosion of the value and dignity of the medically weak and who believe in protecting the life and liberty of all human beings.
The problem is their voices are often drowned out by the din of the pro-death lobby that claims death is the only dignified answer to a complicated problem.
Meanwhile the pro-death movement has not fallen silent. Rather, it has grown more vocal. The issue for them did not die with Terri. Indeed, their success in killing her seems to have only bolstered their determination to gain wider acceptance among the American people.
There will always be people with needs, there will always be others who work tirelessly to help them, and there will always be those who turn the other way; or worse sit behind their drawing tables, disseminating cruel bigotry and hatred toward the disabled and vulnerable.
Until we all recognize that our inherit worth doesnt change because of lifes circumstances, illness, disability or other events, we will continue to rob our most vulnerable of their right to fairness, justice and the ability to guide their own course in life.
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"By order of the government, a healthy young woman was denied food and water until she died."
"Do we believe in the sanctity of all human life, or do we believe in the sanctity of some human life?"
Remembering Terri on the Five-Year Anniversary of Her Death
Five Years Ago Today, Terri Schiavo Dies After Almost Two Weeks Without Food or Water
Five years ago today Terri Schiavo died. By the order of Judge George W. Greer, Terri died a slow barbaric death by starvation and dehydration over a period of almost two weeks. We have been posting stories of the events that occurred on each of those days not only in respect for Terri's memory, but a reminder that in this moment countless people are suffering slow, agonizing deaths in hospice, nursing homes, and hospitals in America and around the world.
Terri Schiavo Dies
From March 31, 2005 (FBW/BP)
Terri Schiavo, the 41-year-old disabled woman at the center of a nationwide life-and-death debate, died Thursday morning in her Florida hospice -- nearly two weeks after her feeding tube was pulled.
Her case captured the nation's attention in recent weeks, as Congress and President Bush intervened in an attempt to save her life. But in the end, Schiavo's parents failed to convince federal courts to re-insert her feeding tube.
(continue reading . . .)
Give Mr. Schindler extra points for calling the Pro-Death forces by name. “Pro-killing” would be even more accurate.
Thread by me.
Five years since the court-ordered murder of Terri Schindler Schiavo, I can still see the vase of flowers next to her bedside. The vase was filled with water, keeping the beautiful blooms resplendent. Terri had gone 13 days without water or food. She was literally withering before our eyes in the hours before her death. Her dying was not a peaceful and gentle process. In all my years as a priest, I had never seen anything like this. Her face showed emotions of terror combined with sadness. She died in a Florida hospice on March 31, five years ago.
Wednesday is Terris Day, a day when congregations and people of faith all over the country remember this woman whose life was cut short by the culture of death. On that day at 5pm, I will be the celebrant and homilist of the National Mass for Terri at Ave Maria University in Naples, Fla. We will pray with Terris family for all those in situations like hers.
Five years after Terris murder, the world has become an even more dangerous and cynical place.
Terri died on Easter Thursday. Liturgically, the Church considers the time from the Easter Vigil through the Sunday after Easter as one Easter Day. Terri suffered as the Church meditated on the sufferings of Christ, and she died as the Church celebrated his resurrection. Her anniversary this year takes place within Holy Week. We are assured that Terri shared in Jesus victory over death, and that should bring us comfort. But to look around us and see how strong the culture of death has become should send us all to our knees in prayer and out to the streets in action.
Terris life and terrible death have apparently become, for some, a laughing matter. Anyone who saw Fox Televisions The Family Guy was asked to find humor in Terris situation. What an ugly little bugger, went the lyrics to a song. Maybe we should just unplug her. Besides being grotesque, the vile cartoon was built on fiction, not fact, and helped to perpetuate the lie that allowed so many people to accept Terris death as a good thing.
Doctors in Family Guy introduce us to all the machines that were supposed to be keeping Terri alive. But Terri was not kept alive on machines, and I didnt see any of those machines in her room. She had a simple feeding tube inserted at mealtimes to supply nutrition and water. She was sustained by the very things that keep you and me alive: food and water. And love. Terri was surrounded by the love of her parents, Bob and Mary, and of her brother and sister, Bobby Schindler and Suzanne Vitadamo.
Terri responded to me and others around her. She smiled and laughed when her father kissed her and his mustache tickled her face. When her mother asked her a question, I heard her trying to say something. She was not able to speak words, but she returned her moms kiss.
When I told her I wanted to pray with her and give her a blessing, she closed her eyes and, at the end of the prayer, opened them again. She was not a vegetable. She was a living person who was being starved to death. This was murder.
After Terris death, Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed that people like Terri, and those who are much worse off including those who are not expected to recover are not to be deprived of food and water. But our laws governing these matters today are devoid of humanity and of the basic sense of justice that this norm embodies. Thats why each and every one of us has to accept responsibility for what happened to Terri, and work to ensure it does not happen again.
Some people thought that the problem in Terris case was that she had never explicitly written down how she would want to be treated if she became unable to speak for herself, and thus it was up to the legal system to make the determination. Proponents of the living will sprang into action to make sure everyone signed one. But not many people realize that the whole concept of the living will was initiated by the euthanasia movement.
The problem today is not that one might be given unwanted treatments, but that one might be refused wanted treatments and even basic care. It makes much more sense to sign a Will to Live, which was designed by the National Right to Life Committee and allows people to appoint a proxy who will advocate for morally appropriate care.
If Terri had had the opportunity to sign a Will to Live, she might still be smiling and laughing with her mother, brother and sister, and she would have mourned the loss of her father last year. You can find a Will to Live here.
We can protect ourselves and our loved ones with a Will to Live, but we will only be successful in extending this protection to everyone if we fight the culture of death in the political arena. Every person devoted to the cause of life must become involved: Register to vote and make sure your family and friends are registered; learn the pro-life or pro-death positions of every candidate, and spread the word. Vote in every primary and, come November, when three dozen senators and every member of the House of Representatives are up for re-election, make your feelings known in the voting booth.
The fifth anniversary of Terris death coincides with two other milestone anniversaries: Its been 10 years since the world lost one of its most powerful defenders of life, Cardinal John J. OConnor, and 15 years since Pope John Paul II published his encyclical Evangelium Vitae, which spoke of the sacred value of human life from its very beginning until its end and affirmed the right of every human being to have this primary good respected to the highest degree.
Terris rights were not respected, which is why Priests for Life and Terris family established Terris Day two years ago. Our aim is to promote education, prayer and activism to counter discrimination against the disabled.
I urge all readers of NCRegister.com, along with churches, schools and pro-life organizations, to observe this day. Terris senseless and cruel death can transform all of us into champions of life.
Wow! I didn’t realize we have that many signatures on the petition to impeach killer judge greer. So much for the myth that most of us approved of torturing Terri to death.
I think one of Bobby Schindler’s most endearing character traits is his stubborn streak. You could stand him up at the gates of hell and he’d still refuse to abandon the truth.
I hope I’d be the same.
I have no doubt you would be.
Lord Jesus, you healed so many people during your public ministry. I bring before you now, in prayer, all those who are terminally ill -- those afflicted with cancer, AIDS, and other illnesses.
Look lovingly and compassionately upon them. Let them feel the strength of your consolation. Help them and their families to accept this cross they are asked to carry. Protect them from euthanasia, Lord.
Let them see you carrying their cross with them, at their side, as you once carried yours to Calvary. May Mary be there, too, to comfort them.
Lord Jesus, I know and believe that, if it is your will, you can cure those I pray for (especially N.). I place my trust in you. I pray with faith, but I also pray as you did in Gethsemane: your will be done.
Bless us, Lord, and hear my prayer. Amen.
|Reprinted from "Queen of Apostles Prayerbook" with permission of copyright holder, Pauline Books & Media,|
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Thread by Salvation.
LE BLANC, France, March 29, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Little Sisters Disciples of the Lamb are a contemplative religious community in France that enables girls with Down syndrome to respond to a religious vocation.
The tiny community, founded in 1985 and based in Le Blanc, in the diocese of Bourges, is made up of seven sisters, five of whom have Down syndrome.
In a world where up to 90 percent of Down syndrome children are aborted, the Prioress of the Little Sisters Disciples of the Lamb says the order exists, "To allow those who have the last place in the world, to hold in the Church the exceptional place of spouses of Jesus Christ. To allow those who depend on others for their everyday life to take in charge, in their prayer, the intentions that are entrusted to them. To allow those whose life is held in contempt to the extent of being in danger from a culture of death, to witness by their consecration to the Gospel of Life."
The possibility of young women with Down syndrome being enabled to realize their religious vocation depends on the support of sisters without the disability, who have responded to a call to consecrate themselves to God with their disabled sisters and to form one community with them.
A leaflet produced by the community describes the Little Sisters Disciples of the Lamb as an order "Guided by the wisdom of St Benedict," and "following every day the little way taught by Saint Therese" that "teaches our little disabled sisters the manual labour necessary for their development. We live poverty in putting ourselves at their disposal. With them, we share the work of everyday life."
"The office, adoration and the praying of the rosary are adapted to their rhythm and their capacities. In a spirit of silence, our prayer feeds every day on the Eucharist and on the meditation of the Gospel."
"Today, more girls with Down Syndrome are knocking at our door. To respond to their request, our family needs new vocations. Vocations to share a contemplative life with 'the smallest in the Kingdom'."
The order's vocation leaflet encourages "young girls touched by the spirit of poverty and dedication, ready to offer a whole existence to the service of Christ in the person of their sisters with Down Syndrome," to visit the priory, which is close to the abbey of Fontgombault, for a period of vocational discernment.
Information on the Little Sisters Disciples of the Lamb is available from the Foundation of Monasteries, 83 rue Dutot, 75015 Paris, France.