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THE TERRI SCHIAVO CASE: A CATHOLIC NEUROLOGIST’S PERSPECTIVE
wftsradio.com ^ | James M. Gebel Jr., M.D., M.S., F.A.H.A.

Posted on 04/28/2005 9:09:55 PM PDT by murphE

Over the past several weeks, it has come to my attention that significant debate has developed regarding the Terri Schiavo case. I have read various e-mail messages between Cathy Beal, Father Cekada, Father Dardis, Bishop Sanborn, and two letters appearing in the St. Gertrude the Great Church bulletin.

Let me begin by stating that I do not feel I have either the theological expertise (mine is limited to a minor in theology at Xavier University, a Jesuit college in Cincinnati) or moral authority to adequately address the theological aspects of this case. However, I do feel that my background as a neurologist with additional specialized “fellowship” training in both neurological critical care (the subspecialty of neurology which deals with patients in comas and other critical neurological illnesses) and stroke, at the Cleveland Clinic and University of Cincinnati respectively, put me in a position to contribute some thoughts on the medical aspects of her case. Since completing medical school, I have over 15 years of experience training, practicing, and doing research in these areas. I have also had the opportunity as the result of my training and expertise in these areas to testify as an expert witness in such matters in medical malpractice and pharmacological product liability lawsuits. I state the above not to be prideful, but to give you some tangible appreciation of the fact that, simply speaking, there are few people in the country with any better training background or practical expertise to understand in detail the scientific and medical aspects of the care of patients like Terri Schiavo, whom I deal with on literally an almost daily basis.

I have reviewed the CT scan images of Terri Schiavo’s brain, watched the video of her taken by her family members, and also reviewed some summary comments/ excerpts regarding testimony given in deposition transcripts in her medical malpractice case. These again are all things I do on a very frequent basis. They are, to be frank, part of how I make my living. Having clarified the context in which I share my thoughts with you, I offer the following thoughts on this matter:

1) Terri Schiavo was NOT in a persistent vegetative state. The video taken of her clearly and unequivocally demonstrates that, at least at times, she is in a minimally conscious state and capable of interacting in a rudimentary way with her family and environment, which by definition excludes her from being medically classified as comatose or in a persistent vegetative state.

2) The parts of Terri Schiavo’s brain which would allow her to perceive pain, here thalami, were clearly intact and visible on her CT scan images shown by her husband, Michael Schiavo, on national television (which I rarely watch, and by the way, I have never voluntarily watched “Oprah”)

3) The parts of Terri Schiavo’s brain which would allow her to perform complex cognitive function, or which would enable her to speak or understand speech, were clearly damaged.

4) The parts of Terri Schiavo’s brain which would allow her to swallow on her own were intact and, in fact, she did not suffer from medically significant dysphagia (swallowing difficulty). If she had, she would have been dead long ago from a condition known as aspiration pneumonia, an infection in the lungs which is the result of inhaling one’s own saliva.

5) The parts of Terri Schiavo’s brain which would allow her to move her arms and hands to feed or hydrate herself were clearly damaged.

6) The parts of Terri Schiavo’s brain which would allow her to experience discomfort and/or pain due to hunger were undamaged.

7) Other tests were available to better clarify the full extent of Terri Schiavo’s awareness or lack thereof, such as MRI scanning of her brain ( a more detailed picture of the brain than a CT (CAT) scan, EEG (a brainwave test), and evoked potential studies, which could decipher the extent to which she could hear or see. These studies were refused by her husband, Michael Schiavo.

8) Terri Schiavo did not receive or require intravenous hydration or nutrition (so-called “TPN” or total parenteral nutrition.

9) Oral or stomach tube feeding via an “NG” (nasogastric tube) (a tube put down one’s throat to the stomach) or (more commonly) via a “G-tube” are routinely used to feed stroke victims, both temporarily and indefinitely in patients with stroke or other brain injuries who cannot feed themselves, whether due to swallowing problems (which occur at least temporarily in most stroke victims). Such feeding and hydration are by modern medical standards considered as ordinary and unburdensome as eating and drinking on one’s own. Such feedings are, in fact, less expensive than what an average American spends on food and water, and are easily administered a few times a day by a family member, requiring much less effort than cooking three meals a day. Terri Schiavo’s husband, parents, or siblings could easily administer such feedings. They are by no logical measure extraordinary or unduly burdensome by any reasonable standard (moral, medical, or economic).

10) Terri Schiavo could have been cared for at home with some home health care assistance at modest to at most moderate expense which would not by any common sense standard be deemed economically burdensome.

11) Terri Schiavo’s stomach and intestines were fully functional and capable of digesting food, even normal food if it was placed in her G-tube.

12) Terri Schiavo could have received sequential neurostimulation therapy to her throat muscles, which may have further improved her swallowing function to the point that she may have been able to chew or swallow at least some types of normal food and/or liquid if placed in her mouth. This and other similar available measures were denied to her by her husband.

13) Terri Schiavo’s brain, while severely damaged, had not “failed.” When someone’s brain “fails” i.e. is irreparably and totally damaged, they are, by definition, dead. While we can keep people alive when other vital organs such as the liver, kidneys, lungs, and even heart fail (via dialysis, organ transplantation, etc.), not even 2005 era medicine can keep one alive if one’s brain has failed, because all other organs shut down within 5 days when this occurs, even when every maximal effort possible is made.

14) Terri Schiavo did not require, nor to the best of my knowledge did she ever receive intravenous nutrition (TPN), as was suggested in one of Father Cekada’s e-mail messages. Lifelong TPN, in contrast to tube feeds, is widely considered to be an extraordinary, burdensome, and expensive means of prolonging life, and are comparable to a respirator in that regard.

15) Terri Schiavo’s doctors did, in my opinion, probably commit malpractice by failing to order routine pre- procedure labs which would have disclosed severe electrolyte disturbances secondary to her bulimia.

16) Medical malpractice care awards/settlements are often grossly overinflated due to plaintiff’s attorneys hiring so-called “life care planners” who add up every conceivable convenience and treatment imaginable as “necessary” for the rest of the patient’s life. Their overestimates are typically further compounded by overestimating the patient’s life expectancy. Furthermore, all the money is paid in advance at today’s dollars, meaning the real money value of the award is much higher than the actual cost of such care in the vast majority of such cases. Terri Schiavo’s true care needs would certainly be far less than 750,000 or 1,000,000 dollars.

17) Attorneys representing patients and defendants in medical malpractice and other medicolegal matters often “shop around” for expert witnesses until they find experts who will give an opinion which suits their client’s needs. Thus, it is no surprise that George Felos, a well-connected euthanasia advocate, was able to find three physicians to testify that Mrs. Schiavo was in a persistent vegetative state. In fairness, likewise it is no surprise that Terri Schiavo’s parents and siblings’ attorneys found expert witnesses who testified that she was not. One should certainly be suspect of the testimony of an expert witness who has spoken to the Hemlock Society and concludes that Terri Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state.

18) Terri Schiavo died of dehydration, not starvation. Dehydration kills one much faster than starvation, barring the exception of extreme malnourishment, which was not the case here.

19) Terri Schiavo had an average life expectancy despite her brain injury, and would not have died were it not for her being deprived of nutrition and hydration. The proximate legal and medical cause of her death in my opinion was dehydration.

20) Laws regarding who has legal authority over health care decisions vary greatly by state. In Pennsylvania, for instance, children and siblings have as much right to make medical decisions as spouses, unless a pre- specified durable power of attorney designating one of them pre- exists the illness, or unless a living will was written by the patient. Other states require a durable power of attorney to be obtained no matter what. Ex- spouses, unless they are made durable power of attorney, have no legal right to make medical care decisions in any state.

21) Discontinuation of tube feeds or any form of food in general causes intense hunger pains for 2-3 days, which Terri Schiavo would have had the capacity to feel and suffer.

22) Death by dehydration occurs slowly, eventually causing hyperosmolarity often resulting in shriveling, cracking, and bleeding of the mucous membranes. This causes pain, nosebleeds, and as consciousness begins to wane, patients often begin aspirating blood from the nosebleeds, thickened, mucus or saliva, or both, causing aspiration pneumonitis. The aspiration along with accumulation of unsecreted organic acids results in progressive shortness of breath which further compounds the mucus membrane injury. Observing this struggling to breath and choking is often very disconcerting to family members as well as potentially painful and discomforting to the patient. This is why such patients are often administered morphine, which both relieves pain and suppresses this so- called “air hunger.” This is also I suspect why the judge in the Terri Schiavo case barred pictures or video of her being taken while she dehydrated and starved. Much as those who are pro- abortion most detest the one thing which actually shows people what happens in the case of abortion (pictures of aborted babies), euthanasia advocates do not want people to see the visible suffering which often occurs in cases like Terri Schiavo’s.

23) Cases like Terri Schiavo’s are, thankfully, rare. This is why when they occur and ultimately result in legal battles, we hear about them on the media. Collectively, even if one were to assume each and every one of them were to result in a lifetime of tube feedings, would be far less of an economic burden on society than a new football stadium.

Cases like Terri Schiavo’s understandably evoke a wide range of emotional responses and theological arguments. Unfortunately, the Catholic Church, theologians, and bioethicists in general lag far behind in their scientific understanding of the rapid and increasingly complex advances in medical care, which often occur literally even prior to our ever having the opportunity to contemplate their moral and theological implications. It is in the spirit of attempting to help simplify and clarify some of the medical aspects of the Schiavo case that I share the above thoughts with those who are inclined to read them. Finally, I would advise each and every person to prepare a living will as you would a normal will so that your families might be spared the pain and anguish of having to decide what care measures you would want should a grave or terminal illness occur. Had Terri Schiavo done so, her family and many others would have been spared from the bitter, divisive, and expensive series of legal battles which followed, which were the real extraordinary burden to society in her case.

Respectfully,

James M. Gebel Jr., M.D., M.S., F.A.H.A.


TOPICS: Catholic; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics; Religion & Science
KEYWORDS: cary; catholic; cekada; gebel; terrischiavo
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1 posted on 04/28/2005 9:09:56 PM PDT by murphE
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To: Canticle_of_Deborah; Gerard.P; vox_freedom; te lucis; donbosco74; Robert Drobot; rogator; ...

ping


2 posted on 04/28/2005 9:13:14 PM PDT by murphE (The crown of victory is promised only to those who engage in the struggle. St. Augustine)
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Comment #3 Removed by Moderator

To: breakers; topher; Ohioan from Florida; floriduh voter; Gerish

Ping!


4 posted on 04/28/2005 9:35:43 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Saundra Duffy; Fam4Bush

FYI bump!


5 posted on 04/28/2005 9:43:39 PM PDT by PistolPaknMama (Will work for cool tag line.)
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To: murphE
even if one were to assume each and every one of them were to result in a lifetime of tube feedings, would be far less of an economic burden on society than a new football stadium.

But then where would the sports fans go to eat unassisted and hydrate themselves? At least we have our priorties straight. /sarcasm

6 posted on 04/28/2005 9:52:34 PM PDT by PistolPaknMama (Will work for cool tag line.)
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To: murphE

Great post! Thank you.


7 posted on 04/28/2005 11:56:43 PM PDT by Hetty_Fauxvert (http://sonoma-moderate.blogspot.com/)
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To: murphE

What is most puzzling to me in this Schievo case, is indeed the discrepancy of her swallowing capabilities.
Medical interventions that can be withheld as a result of a previously made advanced directive, only involve invasive things, and are normally clarified as "iv fluids; tube feeds, ventilator support" etc.
Now what bothers me the most are the reports from the nurses is that she made efforts to drink, but that offering it to her was forbidden. I'm assuming at some point someone decided via swallow eval that she was a high aspiration risk, but I've never heard that definitively. But still this is a askill that can be rehabed, and can certainly improve with training over time.
If thats not the case (abnormal prohibitive swallow eval), then how, legally, can someone be forbidden from offering po fluids? IF one argues that it was her desire to die, then doesnt her effort to drink supercede her previous decision?
The lack of info about her ability / inabilty to drink, even if just sips, to me is the missing data I need to make a conclusion about this case. If she really could make a drinking effort, and was denied this, and denied swallowing rehab, I believe that to be clearly criminal, regardless of what any implied advanced directive may have said.


8 posted on 04/29/2005 12:12:05 AM PDT by swingdoc
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To: cpforlife.org

ping


9 posted on 04/29/2005 6:15:54 AM PDT by murphE (The crown of victory is promised only to those who engage in the struggle. St. Augustine)
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To: murphE
Oh, my goodness, here we go again.

When will these simpletons learn that TERRI WAS JUDGED TO BE A PHOTOTROPIC HOUSEPLANT AND PET ROCK, by PVS experts and Constitutional Scholars across these here fruited plains?

Goodness, gracious do we have to revisit the issue of watering the plant, yet again?

10 posted on 04/29/2005 6:32:42 AM PDT by AlbionGirl ('True love and the miracle of forgiving - I believe in Simple Things.')
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To: murphE

The world needs doctors like you. God bless you and may you always be a voice for life.


11 posted on 04/29/2005 9:50:30 AM PDT by lastchance (Hug your babies.)
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To: lastchance

I do hope you realize I am not the author or a doctor, James M. Gebel is, I just posted what he had to say. ;-)


12 posted on 04/29/2005 10:52:47 AM PDT by murphE (The crown of victory is promised only to those who engage in the struggle. St. Augustine)
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To: murphE

I'd take issue with his advice to have a living will. It is more important to ensure your doctor is pro-life and appoint a legal guardian with authority to make life and death decisions in case of incapacitation.


13 posted on 04/29/2005 11:09:15 AM PDT by annalex
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To: swingdoc

Having experienced a family member unable to safely take fluids by mouth (per os), this topic is not unfamiliar to me. My father was such a case. While he was designated npo (nisi per os) by the doctors, and we had to approve that order due to the risk of pneumonia, we nonetheless had to grapple with the question of discomfort. The mouth dries out and the patient greatly desires to drink. Some moist swabbing is a remedy, but it cannot take the place of a drink. At some point you have to decide if keeping the patient "safe" is better or worse than making him comfortable. Giving a little spoonful of coffee, for example, might not be a good thing for physical health, but when it is extremely appreciated by the patient, perhaps it is worthwhile. When the patient is in decline, and his days may be numbered short, how could a moment of great relief be a bad thing? The nurse doesn't have to know.

In Terri's case, the guard, the nurse, and the "husband" wouldn't have to know. Much more difficult. And it seems that the conspicuously deliberate prohibitions surrounding her were criminal acts. There were people who wanted to help but could not. And those who the court allowed to control her environment were bent on her death. I heard one report that said that only "dry swabbing" was allowed. That is an act of war. It's probably a good thing for me I was not there, because I would have made some trouble. I will not presume to pass judgment on those who were there and tried to help her, but we ought to remember that "trying to work in the system" only ended up with Terri slowly dying of unrelieved and torturous thirst. Perhaps a little confrontation would have done some good. It might have given other protestors some courage, too. The corrupt legal system has now made quite a name for itself, it seems to me. We no longer are inexperienced.

Remember Terri in your prayers.


14 posted on 04/29/2005 11:34:16 AM PDT by donbosco74 (Sancte Padre Pio, ora pro nobis, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.)
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To: Ohioan from Florida; amdgmary; PhilDragoo; IleeneWright; floriduh voter; BykrBayb

.


15 posted on 04/29/2005 3:22:46 PM PDT by Future Useless Eater (formerly FL_Engineer) (It was wrong to kill her. No other "facts" matter.-JimRobinson)
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To: AlbionGirl

>>>When will these simpletons learn that TERRI WAS JUDGED TO BE A PHOTOTROPIC HOUSEPLANT AND PET ROCK, by PVS experts

Yes, by the tiniest majority of expert opinions (3 to 2) she was judged to be in PVS.

How about one "no" vote out of twelve and you don't execute?


16 posted on 04/29/2005 3:30:27 PM PDT by Future Useless Eater (formerly FL_Engineer) (It was wrong to kill her. No other "facts" matter.-JimRobinson)
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To: murphE

I will never forget.


17 posted on 04/29/2005 3:38:57 PM PDT by Saundra Duffy ( Theresa Marie SCHINDLER - We will NEVER FORGET! - IMPEACH JUDGE GREER!!!)
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To: AlbionGirl

A tomato cannot smile at her mother.


18 posted on 04/29/2005 3:40:12 PM PDT by Saundra Duffy ( Theresa Marie SCHINDLER - We will NEVER FORGET! - IMPEACH JUDGE GREER!!!)
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To: Saundra Duffy; Future Useless Eater
I don't get it, but that's ok. Hope you know my post was total sarcasm, and that I was very much for allowing Terri to be taken care of by her parents.

I've exhausted all original comment as regards Terri's demise, but I hope you don't think I was implying she was anything less than a child of God.

I just couldn't believe these people who were so shocked at being called nazis, would then turn around and call her a phototropic houseplant or pet rock, and do so with pride and fervor.

19 posted on 04/29/2005 4:20:23 PM PDT by AlbionGirl
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Comment #20 Removed by Moderator

Comment #21 Removed by Moderator

To: AlbionGirl

No matter how much you think it isn't necessary, you have to remember the sarcasm tag.


22 posted on 04/29/2005 6:11:42 PM PDT by murphE (The crown of victory is promised only to those who engage in the struggle. St. Augustine)
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To: swingdoc
"IF one argues that it was her desire to die, then doesnt her effort to drink supercede her previous decision?"

One would think what one wishes today should supercede past directives. Apparently, in many of these situations THAT is not the case. Frightening to say the least.

23 posted on 04/29/2005 7:06:18 PM PDT by TAdams8591 (Evil succeeds when good men don't do enough!!!!)
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To: murphE
"Terri Schiavo was NOT in a persistent vegetative state. The video taken of her clearly and unequivocally demonstrates that, at least at times, she is in a minimally conscious state and capable of interacting in a rudimentary way with her family and environment, which by definition excludes her from being medically classified as comatose or in a persistent vegetative state."

Agreed. My assessment also, agfter having cared for such patients in the past and the assessment of many on this forum as well.

The last doctor to see her, the one from the DCF, diagnosed her into her third or fourth day of dehydration/starvation as semi-conscious, which to me made sense, especially when considering the video.

24 posted on 04/29/2005 7:11:41 PM PDT by TAdams8591 (Evil succeeds when good men don't do enough!!!!)
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To: donbosco74
Well said.

Unless thousands of people had stormed that hospice, the chances of saving Terri were nill.

After, what we experienced in this incident, it would be wise for people to devise a rescue plan, in the event of future such incidents.

25 posted on 04/29/2005 7:19:14 PM PDT by TAdams8591 (Evil succeeds when good men don't do enough!!!!)
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To: AlbionGirl
"I just couldn't believe these people who were so shocked at being called nazis, would then turn around and call her a phototropic houseplant or pet rock, and do so with pride and fervor."

And they whined about it incessantly. I cannot begin to imagine their dramatic posturing, had one of their own family members been called cruel names the way Terri was. They so reminded me of the democrats who whine about Republicans while they themselves commit far worse offenses.

26 posted on 04/29/2005 7:24:18 PM PDT by TAdams8591 (Evil succeeds when good men don't do enough!!!!)
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To: murphE

Well I was mistaken about the author. But I sure as heck am not taking back a blessing or the hope you will continue to defend life.


27 posted on 04/29/2005 9:10:47 PM PDT by lastchance (Hug your babies.)
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To: TAdams8591

There was such a plan by the Michigan militia. When their services were offered, David Gibbs, the attorney for the family, told them NO. He never even ASKED the parents.

They had organized ex-military from across the country! They had a SAFE HOUSE set up to take care of terri.

Don't get me wrong. I don't advocate the militia. It's not like I even know what they really do, to be honest, but they wanted to save Terri from an inhumane death and were prepared to do what NO ONE else would do.....nor what no one else did!

I would have said YES!


28 posted on 04/29/2005 9:11:36 PM PDT by IleeneWright
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To: Salvation

Thank you for the ping!


29 posted on 04/29/2005 9:12:21 PM PDT by IleeneWright
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To: breakers

So was the good father out of the universe when the Pope John Paul II of blessed memory issued his statement about nutrition and hydration of PVS and/or minimally conscious patients ? Did the Cardinals who issued the e Vatican statement's on Terri Schiavo not have the nuanced theological training to grasp the whole picture. Hey if you don't feed someone they'll starve to death. Oh pretty simple after all.
The true horror is that this man may have a great deal of influence on the Parish's RE program. That scares me.


30 posted on 04/29/2005 9:20:34 PM PDT by lastchance (Hug your babies.)
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To: breakers
I take extreme offense at Cekada's rationalization. Mrs. Terri Schindler was not dying. She was a handicapped individual who needed compassion and care. Nor was her sustenance, via a feeding tube, "extraordinary".

High school football players, who have had their mandibles shattered, have received sustenance via a straw for weeks. Terri was no different.

Terri's body never rejected physical sustenance, to my knowledge.

Withdrawal of such physical sustenance, however, was the direct means of her cold-blooded murder.

It is false therefore to claim that Terri Schiavo was the victim of "euthanasia" or "murder".

With the above statement in mind, it is my opinion that it is false for Cekada to even claim he's a Catholic.

31 posted on 04/29/2005 9:29:59 PM PDT by Grey Ghost II
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To: breakers
Cardinal von Galen's sermon could well have been written today so poignant and appropriate is it to contemporary times.

And so the monster that is Euthanasia, most publically begins with the case of Terri Schiavo, her body being cremated to hide the truth of her condition and how it came to be. The parallels to Nazi Germany are chilling. One would have to be deaf, dumb and blind NOT to see it. Or evil.

Thank you for posting it! Thank you also for pinging me to this thread.

32 posted on 04/29/2005 9:41:55 PM PDT by TAdams8591 (Evil succeeds when good men don't do enough!!!!)
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To: IleeneWright
Yes, you are right about the militia. I did not get the sense that the militia had the numbers in my humble opinion, that would have been required to save Terri. I may be wrong about that.

The Schindlers did not seem to want to be responsible for the ensuing violence.

Considering the outcome of events in Terri's case, I think people might view things a little differently the next time. And most unfortunatley, there will certainly be a NEXT time.

33 posted on 04/29/2005 9:54:06 PM PDT by TAdams8591 (Evil succeeds when good men don't do enough!!!!)
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To: lastchance
Most of the parishioners probably didn't know or care what the pope said anyway. That's why they rely on priests for advice so they don't have to bother themselves about it. It would have been more honest if the priest had given the pope's opinion even if they differed since it is still in the theological tinkering stage.

In the end, you have to inform yourself as best you can and follow your conscience. I think I would have to change parishes if I had a priest like that. I fear there are many more just like him. They've been in hospitals and seen it all and I suppose it is icky and nasty to deal with.

With me it goes something like this. Unto those whom much is given, much is expected. Naturally in poor countries the bar would be lower. The irony of starving a helpless, disabled, reasonably otherwise healthy woman in a country that exports mountains of food is almost overwhelming.

I'll take Father Pavone any day. I shouldn't be writing this, but I've been grievously upset ever since this happened. I cancelled my subscription to our local catholic paper long ago for several different reasons, among which were advertised, organized, led-by-priests pilgrimages to Medjugorje which were forbidden.

It was probably a smart move as the editor or assistant editor of the paper is now sitting in prison for having child porn on the church computer.

The upshot of that was I got second hand what the paper had to say about the case, and it seemed to follow the thinking of the priest of St. Gertrude's.

And it goes much deeper for me. My catholic therapist who is a trained nurse has participated in pulling feeding tubes. I told her that was murder. And I am the one who is the nutcase and on two meds.

If I were more sure that I was on the right side, I would definitely seek out another therapist. I also met another catholic nurse who befriended me who casually told me she accompanied a prominent local doctor to Egypt on a mission to perform tubal ligations on women there, rich, poor, I do not know.

I know I have had in the past and continue to have difficulties here, but this is what I have been dealing with and it makes me uneasy to the core of my being wondering who in the catholic world you can trust.

This is the mess that is the catholic church. And I saw another thread about Catholic Hispanics seeking God in the US. I'll tell you what a lot of them are doing. They are going Pentecostal and Evangelical. Some stick with the church. What kind of shepherding they will get is beyond me.

34 posted on 04/29/2005 10:02:42 PM PDT by Aliska
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To: Grey Ghost II
Agreed. Cekada is NO Catholic. He deserves and should be defrocked and ex-communicated. Many of his comments were off base and offensive. ONE of them is below:

"Further, in my opinion, Mrs. Schiavo' s husband (as horrible a person as he seems to be) -- and not her parents -- had the sole right before God to determine whether these means should have continued to be used."

Cekada entirely IGNORES that Michael Schiavo had completely compromised his marriage to Terri, because he was in an extramarital relationship with another woman with whom he resided for ten years and with whom he bred two children when he refers to Schiavo as Terri's "husband." No husband in such a situation retains ANY rights, never mind "sole" rights, before God to make any decision regarding his spouse, let alone a decision of such uncommon magnitude.

Cekada's statement is complete and utter blasphemy. Sole right before God my eye! Despicable!

35 posted on 04/29/2005 10:16:36 PM PDT by TAdams8591 (Evil succeeds when good men don't do enough!!!!)
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To: swingdoc
Terri received rehab therapy during the 1990 to 1993 period. During that period she is seen in videos not only swallowing but licking her lips with purpose from side to side ... something a PVS patient cannot do. As soon as the lawsuit monies came into her then husband's control, the husband stopped ALL therapy and even threatened anyone found trying to help Terri. The husband (whom Greer considered a fit guardian for Terri) forced neglect upon Terri for the next decade plus of her life, even disallowing antibiotics when she had an infection. Clearly, her then husband was a gross abuser of his wife (via forced, pernicious neglect of her needs and ignoring the monies awarded for her therapy and care for the next 51 years--the court-determined span for the award). The results of such forced neglect caused Terri to be unable to swallow food or liquid, yet she swallowed her own saliva without aspirating, every day.

You raised a pertinent question regarding Terri's swallowing abilities, so I thought I would fill you in on how the guardian's denial of her basic therapy and care contributed strongly to her declined state, declined from the gains seen in the 1993 videos.

36 posted on 04/29/2005 10:18:20 PM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote life support for others.)
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To: MHGinTN

A declined state which made it easier for Michael to claim Terri was in a coma or PVS.


37 posted on 04/29/2005 10:24:32 PM PDT by TAdams8591 (Evil succeeds when good men don't do enough!!!!)
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To: TAdams8591
Recalling the gross neglect and forced neglect that followed for five years prior to his conveniently 'remembering' that she wouldn't want to live on artificial means no doubt aided him in his goal to have her put down with the help of the Felos death cultists and unJudge Greer.

Which raises another issue: the alleged statement by Terri that she wouldn't want to be kept alive artificially was supposedly made during a time when food and water were not considered artificial means of life support, so the Felos work to have Florida declare such as artificial is even more damming tot he death cabal that had Terri executed on greer's 'clear and convincing' testimony allowed in his court without allowing anything contrary to such into the court record.

Florida is still to dangerous a place to even drive through on the way to somewhere else.

38 posted on 04/29/2005 10:34:21 PM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote life support for others.)
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To: MHGinTN
When Terri made her supposed comment about not wanting "tubes," feeding tubes were NOT even an issue. They were not as commonly used then as now and were not considered life support. In fact, the reference to life support as "tubes" was not used commonly until feeding tubes were used more commonly as the term "tubes" came from feeding tubes.

At the time Terri made her supposed remarks, the term "machines" was used the most often. People at that time were most likely to say they didn't want to be "on machines" or "hooked up to machines."

This is one of the many reasons, I don't believe Terri ever uttered the statement about not wanting to be on "tubes" that she was purported to have made.

39 posted on 04/29/2005 11:07:52 PM PDT by TAdams8591 (Evil succeeds when good men don't do enough!!!!)
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To: Aliska

The gates of hell shall not prevail. Keep hope and remember that all happens as allowed by God. You are already able to discern that many so called Catholics both lay and clergy hold and teach views which are in direct contradiction to the Church's moral teaching. It is unfortunate that the MSM gives more voice to these " catholics" than those who are faithful Catholics.
For a good dose of orthodoxy I strongly suggest
www.ewtn.com and the websites for Crisis Magazine, Envoy Magazine, Biblical Evidence for Catholicism and Christianity Today. The last is Protestant but its core ethics and morals do not conflict with Catholic teaching and it always includes great articles in their weblog.
Pray for all the Church, especially our priests and bishops. The Church is always being purged but lately this purging is much more public and painful for many. Remember too that there are no new heresies and that the Holy Spirit is our protection against these heresies. The Truth of Jesus and the Church will remain long after the likes of the priest of St. Gertrudes are dry dust.


40 posted on 04/30/2005 2:13:33 AM PDT by lastchance (Hug your babies.)
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To: lastchance
I was able to discern some things long before I became Catholic, by learning the hard way, praying, and thinking. Unfortunately, I also followed the societal herd at the same time and made many mistakes.

What makes this so agonizing for me is that these are nice people. In a lot of ways, they are "nicer" than I am, better socially integrated, etc., etc. I LIKE them as people.

You just can't know what kind of agonozing conflict this causes deep within.

I slept late this morning, and the most lovely all-American looking couple with their two children in tow knocked at my door. They were Baptists and were inviting me to their church.

Is God trying to tell me something? What? I'm pretty ecumenical minded, and your protestant suggestion to Crisis Magazine as well as the catholic publications are all of interest to me. I will try to track some of them down. I'm not that much of a fan of EWTN, but they do have some good things mixed in with some things from the past that got me upset in their answers section concerning charismatics and the seer they had on the program about Medjutorje.

I don't blindly follow the pope, but some of the things coming from there just resonate. I think about them and kick them around.

I don't want to think about this any more today and will try to make it to mass tonight and just live with the conflicts.

Thank you for your resonse.

41 posted on 04/30/2005 11:51:38 AM PDT by Aliska
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Comment #42 Removed by Moderator

To: TAdams8591

If you have any ideas you had best not post them where snoops can see them.


43 posted on 04/30/2005 5:08:31 PM PDT by donbosco74 (Sancte Padre Pio, ora pro nobis, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.)
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To: Grey Ghost II

I didn't sleep well last night thinking of that piece of work by Cekada. I was going to send a letter back to refute him but I just don't have the energy or time right now. If he's not some kind of mental incompetent, he is doing his best to undermine the efforts of the entire movement in Terri's defense.

It's not just a matter of information. He has deliberately and with foreknowledge contradicted the courageous statements of the Vatican on this issue. We might do well to reel in any discontent we have with what Pope Benedict XVI says because we might be detracting from the authority of the Papacy over creeps like Cekada.

Isn't Cekada sedevacantist, anyway? I don't really know, but that seems to be what I heard. If it's true, it goes a long way to explaining the screwball thinking that can result when one separates himself from the Holy See!


44 posted on 04/30/2005 5:22:46 PM PDT by donbosco74 (Sancte Padre Pio, ora pro nobis, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.)
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To: murphE
Let me begin by stating that I do not feel I have either the theological expertise (mine is limited to a minor in theology at Xavier University, a Jesuit college in Cincinnati) or moral authority to adequately address the theological aspects of this case.

What a shame to so think. Perhaps the popular momentum wouldn't be quite so deadly if more non-religious laid claim to their full moral authority.

45 posted on 04/30/2005 5:27:08 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (In Honor of Terri Schiavo. *check my FReeppage for the link* Let it load and have the sound on.)
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To: Aliska

> And it goes much deeper for me. My catholic therapist who >is a trained nurse has participated in pulling feeding >tubes. I told her that was murder. And I am the one who is >the nutcase and on two meds.

I'm not Catholic but also have had severe and painful disputes with ppl I know over the past months. None of whom, thankfully with any real authority over me. Here's my sincerest wishes/prayers for you (Aliska) finding a new therapist ASAP.

Have confidence in your own judgment, keep reading the
pro-life writers' positions. Your courage in telling
your current therapist is to be commmended.


46 posted on 05/01/2005 6:49:43 PM PDT by cycjec
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To: murphE
>> 15) Terri Schiavo’s doctors did, in my opinion, probably commit malpractice by failing to order routine pre- procedure labs which would have disclosed severe electrolyte disturbances secondary to her bulimia.

Bulimia was never established and was convincingly disputed by family and friends. Even Michael denied that Terri was bulimic at first -- until he figured out that it was his best alibi.

Chances that a healthy young woman, 26, would get out of bed at 4:30 in the morning and go into cardiac arrest due to chemical imbalance are about zero. "Extremely rare," said one of the docs who examined Terri. What are the other possibilities? Domestic violence comes to mind. That's the #1 cause of injury and death to young women. There's only one suspect -- Michael Schiavo.

Michael told a different story every time he described the most memorable moment of his life. Indisputably, he was lying. Why would an innocent man lie, and lie, and lie? An innocent man wouldn't have to.

47 posted on 05/02/2005 3:45:41 PM PDT by T'wit (Anything the liberals call "fair" is unfair, deceitful, dishonest, anti-American, wicked and crazy.)
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To: breakers
For those interested in this case I share the debate that led Dr. Gebel to refute Fr. Cekada who holds that Terri Schiavo should have had her feeding tube removed and that Michael Schiavo had every right to do so.
__________________________________________
Dear Father Cekada,
I am writing to beg you to clarify your comments concerning the death of Terri Schiavo.
You quoted the 16th-century Dominican theologian Vittoria as follows:

"If a sick man can take food or nourishment with a certain hope of life, he is required to take food as he would be required to give it to one who is sick. However, if the depression of spirits is so severe and there is present grave consternation in the appetitive power so that only with the greatest effort and as though through torture can the sick man take food, this is to be reckoned as an impossibility and therefore, he is excused, at least from mortal sin.”

How do we know what state her spirits were in?

Has it been proved that there was grave consternation in Terri’s appetitive power?

Was Terri’s feeding achieved only with the greatest effort and through torture?

If the answer to all this is ‘I don’t know,’ or ‘no,’ then every Catholic should fight such a murder.
No doctor ever made such claims about Terri Schiavo. As a matter of fact, those on the side of Michael Schiavo bragged about how healthy Terri was, saying this showed that she had been given great care.

But even if all of the above were true, the theologian you quoted said that even then, one who denies such essentials “is excused, at least from mortal sin.”
Vittoria is saying then, that some sin could be involved.
And that is if all of the above were true. If it is not, then Vittoria clearly states: "If a sick man can take food or nourishment with a certain hope of life, he is required to take food as he would be required to give it to one who is sick.”

Terri’s survival for 15 years is solid proof of her “certain hope of life.”

Terri was not in a coma, she was not terminally ill. She was not hooked up to any life support machines. The only support Terri needed to stay alive was the same support necessary to all mankind, nutrition and hydration. The issue here is why food and water was denied this disabled woman.

Michael Schiavo and the courts have always stated that the sole reason for denying her food and water was so that she would die. This was a healthy human being who was starved to death because she was mentally disabled.

The Church has always had the highest respect for life. The examples you have given prove that. Your interpretation of them is troubling indeed.

You claim that the adulterous husband, who denied his Catholic wife not only food and water, but access to the Sacraments had the “sole right before God” to withhold her food and water. Terri’s mother was told she would be arrested if she so much as placed an ice chip on her dying daughter’s lips.

As to the expense of Terri’s food and hydration, such treatment can and is often administered at home. Even if that were not the case the story of Dives and Lazarus verses the Good Samaritan is very clear.

The elderly, the ill, and the disabled of America have every reason to fear. Though the plaque on the statue in New York Harbor says, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,” these are empty words when the strong dispose of the weak and the culture of death has become the law of the land.

We offer our prayers for Terri’s immortal soul, while remembering the words of St. Matthew, “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul."
I look forward to hearing from you Father.
May God bless you,
Cathy Beil
P.S. I am still hoping to read those documents you told me about in February.
_________________________
Father Cekada's Reply:
_________________________
Dear Cathy,

Thanks for your e-mail.

1. The Vittoria quote was intended to (a) show the origin of the teaching
on extraordinary means and (b) provide some examples of what were considered
extraordinary means.

2. It was the quote from Pius XII that provides the general principle that
must be applied and that defines the term "extraordinary means" ‹ those
which involve "grave burdens for oneself or another."

This, not the Vittoria quote, was the starting point for my discussion.

3. Providing nutrition and hydration artificially on a permanent basis does
indeed constitute a grave burden:

"Routine medical practice today utilizes intravenous feeding in in a
countless variety of cases. Certainly the physician regards this procedure
as an ordinary means of safeguarding life. It is obviously capable of being
carried out , under normal hospital conditions, without any notable
inconvenience. For these reasons, I would regard recourse to intravenous
feeding, in the case of typical hospitalized patients, as an ordinary and
morally compulsory procedure.

"The above statement applies, as stated, to routine hospital cases and where
the procedure is envisioned as a temporary means of carrying a person
through a critical period. Surely any effort to sustain life permanently in
this fashion would constitute a grave hardship."Charles McFadden OSA,
Medical Ethics, 4th ed., (Philadelphia: 1956), imprimatur by Cardinal
O'Hara.

Accordingly, when it is envisioned that such means will need to be employed
permanently, they become "extraordinary" and there is no moral requirement
to continue their use.

4. Below is a letter to The Remnant that expands upon some of my original
remarks.

5. I lost the note regarding the documentation you mention. Did it concern
SSPX's use of the John XXIII Mass, or was it something else?

In Christ,

Father Cekada
_______________________
Note: Father Cekada’s letter to the Editor of the Remnant Newspaper is at the end of this post.
_________________________________________

I replied to Father Cekada’s email:
___________________________________________
Dear Fr. Cekada,

Thank you for your prompt reply to my questions. From that reply, it appears that we agree that Vittoria’s teaching did not apply to Terri Schiavo and that you used it only to: (a) show the origin of the teaching on extraordinary means, and (b) provide some examples, none of which applied to Terri Schiavo.

You wrote, “It was the quote from Pius XII that provides the general principle that must be applied and that defines the term "extraordinary means" ‹ those which involve "grave burdens for oneself or another." This, not the Vittoria quote, was the starting point for my discussion.”

I have read the document from which that quote came. Again Father, I would ask you to clarify the relationship between that document and Terri Schiavo. The quote was taken from Pius XII’s Address to an International Congress of Anesthesiologists.
http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/doc/doc_31resuscitation.html
The issue here was not concerning food and hydration. The questions the pope was addressing were three and all of them were restricted to resuscitation, not food and drink.

Since you refer to that example however, I would ask you to again read other sections of the same document. Although the pope says that resuscitation is not necessary in all cases he stresses the fact that, “…There is not involved here a case of direct disposal of the life of the patient, nor of euthanasia in any way: this would never be licit. Even when it causes the arrest of circulation, the interruption of attempts at resuscitation is never more than an indirect cause of the cessation of life, and one must apply in this case the principle of double effect and of "voluntarium in cause."

Of course, everyone knows that in Terri Schiavo’s case the withdrawal of food and water was the direct cause of her death. Hers was not a matter of resuscitation.
In the same paragraph as the quote that you used to justify Terri Schiavo’s murder, the pope said this, “We shall willingly answer these three questions. But before examining them we would like to set forth the principles that will allow formulation of the answer.
Natural reason and Christian morals say that man (and whoever is entrusted with the task of taking care of his fellowman) has the right and the duty in case of serious illness to take the necessary treatment for the preservation of life and health. This duty that one has toward himself, toward God, toward the human community, and in most cases toward certain determined persons, derives from well ordered charity, from submission to the Creator, from social justice and even from strict justice, as well as from devotion toward one's family.”
The quote you used follows those words. Now we already know from Vittoria’s statement that food and water was not extraordinary in the Schiavo case and Pius XII was not speaking of food and water, but about resuscitating a patient with artificial means. Terri Schiavo did not need resuscitation. She was not on a respirator, which was the machine these anesthesiologists were concerned about, when they asked clarification from Pius XII.

In the Remnant article you wrote, “Moral theologians categorize as extraordinary those treatments that are physically painful, invasive, repulsive, emotionally disturbing, dangerous, rarely successful, expensive, etc.”
None of the above applies to Terri Schiavo except “perhaps” expense, but then her “husband” had received a large amount of money for her care.

You then quote from a 1956 article concerning temporary intravenous feeding and permanent, "The above statement applies, as stated, to routine hospital cases and where the procedure is envisioned as a temporary means of carrying a person through a critical period. Surely any effort to sustain life permanently in this fashion would constitute a grave hardship."Charles McFadden OSA, Medical Ethics, 4th ed., (Philadelphia: 1956), imprimatur by Cardinal O'Hara.

Surely you would agree Father that medicine has advanced tremendously since 1956. Technology has come far in the past 50 years. What constituted a grave burden in 1956 is not necessarily a burden today.

Many extraordinary procedures from 1956 are ordinary today. In 1945 a Gallop Poll showed that most people had never heard of television, it was extraordinary. Today it is an ordinary, albeit evil influence in many homes. In past decades, women often died in childbirth. At risk mothers today might be put in a hospital till the birth, which is very expensive. Premature babies cost millions as modern technology devises ways to keep these little ones alive in prenatal units around the world. According to your teaching these innocents should be taken off the machines for the expense is a drain on society.

What about the pregnant woman, who learns that her unborn child is going to be severely disabled imposing a heavy burden on their families or on society. According to your teaching, that mother would have the right to, if not abort the child, to starve it after its birth. Based on hardship and expense and that child should not live.

Your entire thesis seems to be based on cost. And so I ask Father, what is the price of life these days? What is the dollar amount that we finally tell our suffering loved ones is too much?

I thought Traditional Catholics, more than most, were aware of the great benefits derived from sacrifice. We know that grave burdens, embraced as Christ embraced His for us, lead us to an eternal reward.

You also did not address the issue of why Terri’s mother was threatened with arrest if she so much as put an ice chip to her dying daughter’s lips. Surely that was not considered extraordinary?

You wrote that, “Accordingly, when it is envisioned that such means will need to be employed permanently, they become "extraordinary" and there is no moral requirement to continue their use.”

The only thing that was proved to be permanent was that Terri would be disabled. There were nurses and doctors who came forward and testified that she could swallow. She did not drool; she was able to swallow her own saliva. But her adulterous, “husband,” only 3 months after receiving over a million dollars for her care, ordered all rehabilitation stopped. When he found out that a nurse was feeding her Jello, he had her fired. Judge Greer said in 2003, “I do not want anyone feeding that girl!”

Since when is rehabilitation considered extraordinary? The sole purpose of rehabilitation is so that the person can do on their own what they cannot at that time.

You wrote in the Remnant article, “Nowadays the latter burden ‹ extraordinary expense ‹ is mostly hidden, because "someone else pays for it" ‹ i.e., you and I and everyone else foot the bills through health insurance premiums, doctor malpractice premiums and high taxes. This is now a grave burden on society. If someone wants to make every effort to sustain life for as long as possible in a body that is obviously shutting down for good, he is free to pay for extraordinary means himself ‹ but it is wrong for him to impose this burden on everyone else.”

But it was Michael Schiavo who imposed such a burden on society, not his suffering wife, Terri. He got the money and then wanted rid of the reason for his windfall.

None of our care would be so expensive if it weren’t for people like Michael Schiavo, who sought to benefit from his wife’s misfortune and then be rid of her once that benefit was his.

You wrote, “Had Terri Schiavo not received a $750,000 ³malpractice² settlement ‹ i.e., some trial lawyers shook down an insurance company, which in turn calculated that it would be cheaper to pay them and the Schiavos off, rather than gamble with the Oprah-watching idiots in the average jury pool ‹ you can bet that her husband and parents would not have sold off their own houses to sustain her for all this time.”

With all due respect Father, we do not know this. And to claim such as a reason or excuse to decide such an issue is relying on one’s own thoughts and emotions rather than facts. The outcome of such a bet will have no bearing on our duty to the weak of the world.

You wrote, “Instead, you and I ‹ not merely the Schiavos or the Schindlers ‹ got stuck with the "grave burden" of paying for it. If something is immoral in the whole affair, it is surely this.”

Is that Catholic teaching or emotion? My family and I are unduly burdened by the unfair tax laws and the inflated insurance and medical rates we are bound to pay. And yet that immorality pales in comparison to the execution by starvation of Terri Schiavo.

As far as Michael Schiavo’s sole right before God to decide her fate, you wrote, “In the Schiavo case, however, the civil courts examined the matter and repeatedly reaffirmed Mr. Schiavo's rights.”

Yes Father and these same civil courts have given mothers the right to kill babies in their womb. I don’t think they have shown competence in natural or moral law and I would hope that our priests would look fully at the issue before giving credence to the immoral civil courts.

You condemn those who oppose her execution and wanted her adulterous “husband” removed as guardian as being “emotional.” You write as an alternative to this adulterous husband, “Assign headship of the wife to the relative deemed most worthy by the majority of members of an Internet chat room?” Isn’t that emotional rhetoric Father?

You say, “Even a wicked husband retains certain rights before God.” I agree Father, but let us not forget while guarding that wicked husband’s rights -- his wife who has been violated by his refusal to grant her care and by his infidelity, also retains certain rights before God.

You wrote, “The tendency of so many traditionalists to resolve moral or theological questions ‹ be it the Schiavo case, the Indult, excommunications, schism, heresy, the Fatima consecration, the sede vacante dispute, etc. ‹ by following emotional reactions, rather than by seeking out an objective principle that the Church has laid down, makes them ripe for deception by the ignorant and manipulation by the cynical.”

I couldn’t agree more. And it was on this discussion we had in February that you were going to send me information that proved me incorrect in using the example of Pope Liberius’ excommunication of St. Athanasius and the condemnation of several councils of Pope Honorius I as a heretic. You said that I couldn’t use those examples to compare the situation of the church today. I was trying to resolve an issue by seeking out an objective principle the Church already laid down.

You also promised to send me information that would refute my belief that the ordinary magisterium is only infallible when they teach in union with the each other. My information came from the 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia which states that the body of bishops is infallible and each bishop is not so, save in proportion as he teaches in communion and concert with the entire Episcopal body.

Again Father, I thank you for your reply and look forward to hearing from you.
God bless you,
Cathy Beil
______________________________________
Fr. Cekada’s (unemotional?) Reply
_____________________________________
Dear Cathy,

Bishop Sanborn is doing something on the Honorius/Liberius question. I'll forward it to you when it's completed.

As regards your comments on the Schiavo case:

1. In the quote, Pius XII enunciated the general moral principles to be applied, not merely particular ones applicable only to the narrow question of resuscitation.

Otherwise, you would have to maintain that his statements like "Normally one is held to use only ordinary means" or "life, health, all temporal activities are in fact subordinated to spiritual ends" apply only to the specific case of resuscitation, and that in other cases therefore: a) One is not held to use even ordinary means to preserve life and b) Life is not subordinated to spiritual ends.

Good luck.

2. The expense of Terri Schiavo's maintenance was "socialized" through wealth redistribution ‹ $750,000 via the litigation/insurance company shakedown, and other hidden costs we can only guess at via tax and other insurance subsidies.

(This should be obvious to anyone with the last name Brueggemann.)

Michael Schiavo and the Schindlers were very generous in spending everyone else's money.

Such expense is a grave burden on society, and as such falls within the definition of "extraordinary means." There is accordingly no moral obligation to continue it.

3. A wicked husband still maintains his headship over the wife before God and his "domestic and paternal authority."

He has the right to say yes or no to ice chips and Jello, unless and until an ecclesiastical or civil court, for a grave and just reason, legitimately impedes him from exercising his right.

Compromise on that principle, and the family is toast.

4. Finally, the larger problem I see is that lay traditionalists like you are trying to turn something into a mortal sin that isn't.

You have no business doing so. You don't have the training in moral theology that priests have, and you certainly don't have the confessional experience we do in applying moral principles.

But this doesn't stop you from boldly expressing your "opinion" on the moral issues in the Schiavo case, because in the practical order you simply cannot accept the fact that a priest probably knows a lot more that you do about certain subjects ‹ chief among them, moral theology.

I am supposed to make the distinctions for you between right and wrong, because I have the training, the sacramental graces and the experience to do so.

But because do not have the humility to recognize this in practice, you will go on endlessly arguing for your "opinion," rendering exchanges like this a waste of the priest's time, and in the process, I fear, turning traditional Catholics into members of the Church of Lay Opinion.

Be assured of my prayers.

Yours in Christ,

Father Cekada
__________________________

I asked Fr. Brendan M. Dardis from St. Pius X Church in Cincinnati to read Fr. Cekada’s opinion on Terri Schiavo. Fr. Dardis actually went to Florida, led Rosary processions, and spoke with Terri’s parents and her brother. He based his opinions on Catholic Teachings and the facts of Terri’s case. Note his title and read what he wrote an article entitled: EXTRAORDINARY MEANNESS:

"You have asked for my reaction to Fr. Cekada's opinion contained in a recent bulletin concerning Terri Schiavo's death. I have read his words which he set forth "for the record." My first impression is that he suffers from cognitive dissonance.

First, the quotation from Vittoria is not applicable to the Schiavo case. She was not tortured by being fed; her torture began when she was prevented from being fed. The greatest effort was not being expended on her; she had won a million dollar lawsuit precisely for her care. Even the oral introduction of food and water was denied Terri Schiavo, a means of preserving life which can never, under any circumstances, be denied to an animal, much less a human person. Terri Schiavo was denied the most ordinary of means. Her death was not hastened by the removal of a feeding tube, it was caused by starvation. To deny that her death was anything less than passive euthanasia is absurd on its face, and her case sets a frightening precedent.

Second, to claim that Michael Schiavo had the sole right before God to determine his wife's fate would be laughable if it were not so tragic. He woke up in the arms of another woman the morning his wife's feeding tube was removed. He denied all therapies for his wife. He prevented all the standard diagnostic tests that could well have determined his wife's true state. His wife suffered serious ulcers on her buttocks and thighs because he prevented the nurses from turning her. Her teeth were rotten because no one was allowed to brush them and no dentist ever attended her. The husband stands to inherit the estate of his wife. At which point do unfaithfulness, abuse, neglect and greed create a conflict of interest so serious that one's marital rights are abdicated? Apparently, never.

Third, the means were not extraordinary. To whom, it should be asked, were Terri Schiavo's care and feeding overly burdensome. Her family offered to take care of her. To them she was not too burdensome. When her case became widely known, her husband was offered relief from a number of sources. He refused all such offers. Perhaps life was too burdensome for Terri herself. That sort of argument, however, can bear no moral weight because she was not in any apparent pain or discomfort and could not express her own desires. Or perhaps her life was too burdensome to society. Such an argument seems quite silly when one considers the rarity of her case.

Moreover, if we claim that the cost of food and a hospital bed are overly burdensome to our society, we are liars. Consider the cost of all the poor individuals in states the same or similar to Terri Schiavo's and compare that to the money spent on frivolous entertainments and sports in this society. Our duty is what has become a burden. The burden does not appear to have been too great on Terri Schiavo's husband either. He won a large malpractice lawsuit to pay for her care and was living in a fulltime adulterous affair. One can almost hear him groan under the great load he suffered.

Finally, we can consider what ought to have been done in Terri Schiavo's case. All the doctors and nurses who filed affidavits should have been listened to. The video clip you showed me was very strong evidence that Terri Schiavo was not in vegetative state, persistent or otherwise, but a thorough diagnosis was never arrived at. One does not lose one's humanity when one loses a human power, be it physical or cognitive. The noble course for Mr. Schiavo, if he could not bring himself to care for his wife, would have been to give Terri to her family. The armed police state stood between a sick woman and her mother, preventing the mother from bringing a glass of water to the suffering daughter. Anyone who countenances such a scene lacks moral clarity at best or is equivalent to the Nazi SS at worst.

I have copied a few remarks for you to read. The "Starving for a Fair Diagnosis" by Fr. Johansen is especially good on Tern's medical and legal history. The Statement from the NCCB on nutrition and hydration is also very good. It expands on Pope Pius XII's short statement, and it takes many modern medical advances into account. It is a wonder that the nation's bishops could have published something so good, considering how corrupt and modernist they are. The statement by Renato Cardinal Martino, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, includes the opinion that "whoever stands idly by without trying to prevent the death of Terri Schindler Schiavo becomes an accomplice to murder." That very sentiment was what motivated my going to Florida (if we ever have a spare minute, I will tell you some good and some sorry stories from my trip). The Christian Medical & Dental Associations press release states: "Removing Tern's tube was done simply to remove a burdensome patient." Even the Protestants can get it right sometimes. Finally, the article by Wesley J. Smith shows how modern ethicists argue that one can be human but a non-person at same time and the connections between euthanasia and abortion—chilling stuff.

I am sure you have found other good articles on this sad subject. There is certainly a plethora of choice. Don't forget that when we were in our mothers' wombs, we were all fed by a tube, we were unable to express our desires, we lacked the ability to speak and abstract, and we would have needed morphine every bit as much as Terri Schiavo needed her morphine drip to prevent our crying out in pain if our nutrition and hydration had been blocked."
4/14/2005
____________________________________
Fr. Cekada's article in Remnant:
To the Editor,

My letter on the Terri Schiavo case that appeared in your previous issue
was widely circulated and prompted many comments from traditionalists ‹
nearly all negative and emotional.

Most objections were rooted in misconceptions about extraordinary means,
or in a disgust with the actions of Terri Schiavo's husband.

I would appreciate the opportunity to expand upon both these points, and
then add a more general observation.

1. EXTRAORDINARY MEANS. The resolution of the moral issue in the case hinges
upon the definition of the term "extraordinary" ‹ not as the term is defined
by medical science, but rather as it is defined by moral theologians.

Pius XII's statement defines extraordinary means as those which "involve
any grave burdens for oneself or another."

The emphasis, then, is not on the specific procedure that is performed, but
rather upon the burden that results from performing it.

Moral theologians categorize as extraordinary those treatments that are physically painful, invasive, repulsive, emotionally disturbing, dangerous,
rarely successful, expensive, etc.

Nowadays the latter burden ‹ extraordinary expense ‹ is mostly hidden,
because "someone else pays for it" ‹ i.e., you and I and everyone else foot
the bills through health insurance premiums, doctor malpractice premiums and
high taxes.

This is now a grave burden on society. If someone wants to make every
effort to sustain life for as long as possible in a body that is obviously
shutting down for good, he is free to pay for extraordinary means himself ‹
but it is wrong for him to impose this burden on everyone else.

Had Terri Schiavo not received a $750,000 ³malpractice² settlement ‹ i.e.,
some trial lawyers shook down an insurance company, which in turn calculated
that it would be cheaper to pay them and the Schiavos off, rather than
gamble with the Oprah-watching idiots in the average jury pool ‹ you can bet
that her husband and parents would not have sold off their own houses to
sustain her for all this time.

Instead, you and I ‹ not merely the Schiavos or the Schindlers ‹ got stuck
with the "grave burden" of paying for it.

If something is immoral in the whole affair, it is surely this.

2. WHO DECIDES? Mrs. Schiavo¹s husband (as horrible a person as he seems to
be) ‹ and not her parents ‹ had the right before God to determine whether
these means should have continued to be used.

A husband does not somehow automatically lose his headship of the household
or his God-given "domestic and paternal authority² if he becomes a moral
reprobate.

An ecclesiastical or civil court may for a grave reason, of course, prevent
him from exercising his authority.

In the Schiavo case, however, the civil courts examined the matter and
repeatedly reaffirmed Mr. Schiavo's rights.

The alternative to this is what? Allow in-laws automatic headship over the
wife when they believe the husband is a "moral reprobate"? Have those
paragons of family values ‹ congressmen ‹ legislate the rules? Assign
headship of the wife to the relative deemed most worthy by the majority of
members of an Internet chat room?

Even a wicked husband retains certain rights before God.

3. EMOTION OR PRINCIPLE? The negative response to both these points was
almost without exception based on emotion.

This I find very disturbing ‹ because the first reaction a Catholic ‹ lay
or clerical ‹ should have when confronted with a complex moral or
theological problem is to find the principle that applies ‹ what, in other
words, is the standard the Church (not my emotions, directed by Michael
Savage) uses to separate virtue from sin, or truth from error, on any
particular issue.

In most cases, the right principle and the correct definition of its terms
can be found in a theology book somewhere, even though it may take some time
and priest with good Latin to find it.

The tendency of so many traditionalists to resolve moral or theological
questions ‹ be it the Schiavo case, the Indult, excommunications, schism,
heresy, the Fatima consecration, the sede vacante dispute, etc. ‹ by
following emotional reactions, rather than by seeking out an objective
principle that the Church has laid down, makes them ripe for deception by
the ignorant and manipulation by the cynical.

The reactions of so many in the Schiavo case make me fear that when it
comes to deceiving the elect, the Antichrist won¹t have to work too hard.

The Rev. Anthony Cekada
St. Gertrude the Great Church
West Chester, Ohio
www.sgg.org
www.traditionalmass.org
48 posted on 05/05/2005 4:52:15 AM PDT by Cereus (Refuting Fr. Cekada on Schiavo case)
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Comment #49 Removed by Moderator

To: annalex; murphE

"I'd take issue with his advice to have a living will. It is more important to ensure your doctor is pro-life and appoint a legal guardian with authority to make life and death decisions in case of incapacitation."

I absolutely agree with your statement concerning living wills.

Great article, Murph. The doctor knows his stuff. Too bad he wasn't in charge of Terri's health care.


50 posted on 05/08/2005 3:09:08 AM PDT by Pepper777
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