Sunday, February 27, 2005

Florida Bishops on Terri Schaivo

I found this link through HMS blog a collection of statements from the Florida Bishops Conference on Terri Schaivo. I didn't expect anything useful but I read the most recent one, Feb 15, 2005 and I thought it was excellent. Of course, because it resonates with my take on the issue:

1. Lament Confusion as to Her Condition

We lament that there remains – in the eyes of many – confusion as to Terri Schiavo’s actual condition and prospects for her treatment. We have continually requested that parties involved seek greater resolution in this regard.

What I find particularly unfair as far as her state goes is that the one video shot of her mother talking to her is used as "proof" that she is responsive. That is absolute nonsense. People in a persistent vegitative state appear to be responsive, but the fact is that they aren't. Now, it is possible that the parents have seen things otherwise, but that video has been used as proof and that is just pure propaganda at this time. That video is one of the primary reasons that I became very suspicious of the whole thing. I felt that it was an unfair attempt at propaganda and manipulation. Now, of course, if I was one of her parents, hey, I'd use any and everything if I was trying to keep my daughter alive, nonetheless, it is what it is, propaganda.

2. Presumption for Nutrition and Hydration

The Catholic community begins discussions regarding the withdrawal and withholding of artificial nutrition and hydration with a presumption in favor of their provision. However, when the burdens exceed the benefits of providing them, they may be withdrawn or withheld. We note that what is too burdensome for one person may not be too burdensome for another.

Baseline, hydrate and nutrate, however, there is a subject burdensone threshold, at which point hydration and nutrition may be withdrawn.

3. Need for Health Care Advance Directives

That Terri Schiavo left no written instructions as to whom should make such decisions in her absence (a healthcare surrogate), or what criteria ought to be used to make such determinations has contributed to the difficulty of this case. This is not rare. Studies indicate that approximately 20% of adults have completed such tools. We urge all adults to utilize written directives, and we offer a Catholic Declaration on Life and Death, which can be found on the website.

This is the crux of the issue, who then speaks for Terri. The question is not what does the Church want, or what should a Catholic do? The question is what would Terri have wanted? The husband claims she would not have wanted to persist in this state. I wouldn't want to persist in that state. I suspect more Americans than not would.

4. Need for Ethical Decision-making

It is also important to note that such health care surrogates and medical directions can never “trump” or override appropriate moral considerations. In this regard, Catholic teaching notes that the proxy may not deliberately cause a patient’s death or refuse ordinary and normal treatment, even if he or she believes a patient would have made such a decision.

This was a bone thrown to the Schindler supports to avoid a crap storm if such a statement hadn't been made. As I said earlier moral considerations are not the issue. This is not about proving a point. The issues is what would Terri have wanted? Not what the Catholic Church wants. I want my plug pulled, period.

But even this statement pans out in favor of Michael Schaivo. What it is saying is that if leaving the hydration and nutrition are not a burden on him in particular, but his intention is to kill her then that is wrong. So it doesn't even apply to him, because if he states that the burden is to high for him, then according to the previous point, he can withdraw hydration and nutrition.

5. Presume Best Intentions

We urge people to refrain from excessive rhetoric and misguided zeal, against which Pope Pius XI cautioned. There are many unanswered questions in this case, and it is necessary to presume upon the best intentions of all involved until shown otherwise.

No one has ever accused the pro-life movement of presuming best intentions. The mindset is full throttle demonization of anyone agnostic or on the other side of the issue. This is the little slap on the wrist for the pro-life crowd. Basically, shut with this, murderous killer executioner adulterous husband with illegitimate bastard children, foolishness.

6. Opposition to Euthanasia

We oppose euthanasia. While withdrawal of Terri Schiavo’s nutrition and hydration will lead to her death, if this is being done because its provision would be too burdensome for her, it could be acceptable. If it is being done to intentionally cause her death, this would be wrong.

This restates my earlier point. Basically, he's got a green light and no one is in a position to stop him even based on Catholic teaching. The only valid red light is if we can tell that his intention is to cause her death, i.e, not the burden issue. And no one can do that because no one is in Michael Schaivo's mind.

7. Join in Prayer for Terri Schiavo and Family

We continue to ask all people of good will to join us in prayer for Terri Schiavo, whose spiritual needs are being met by clergy of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, and for all involved in this difficult case, especially her husband, parents and siblings.

We can all agree on this, I think.

This looks like a tacit green light from the Florida Bishops. I am no friend of the Bishops, but I say I don't disagree with much in this statement.


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