Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Silent Before the Shearer

In 1973, we had a critical hour for the life of the unborn. It seems, if I may speak so broadly, that we have reached a critical hour yet again in the life of the U.S. This time, we are asked to determine the purpose and value of the suffering and the weak in our society. Terry Schiavo's case has taken a new turn and possibly a turn to life. What I find distressing is the misunderstanding and superficial analysis of the media. For example, just to take one, you may add more in the comments box, that somehow this is a right to die case. Well, first, the only person who is able to tell us Terry's wishes in this case is her husband, and given her husband's behavior, I am not sure if he is reliable. Second, she's not dying; she simply needs assistance in taking in nutrients. Otherwise, the only thing "wrong" with Mrs. Schiavo is severe brain damage. So Terry is not receiving life support in the technical sense. She is simply being fed. What's so wrong about that? Certainly, if Terry reaches a point where she can't assimilate food anymore, then she would be dying, and the feeding tube becomes life support. Third,

What are we going to do about this? Well, most folks would say call your representative or Gov. Bush or those public officials in Florida. The only problem is that this smacks of activism and not Gospel activity. Let's take this instead as a first step. This week, take one day and fast. When I say fast, I mean eat nothing. Unite your hunger pains to the pains of Terry and her family, and for Michael and his conversion as well. We have to show a love for friend, neighbor, stranger, and even the enemy. If you can't fast, then abstain from an extra thing -- not just the meat on Friday. Third, spend extra time in prayer. After you have done these things, then call the people mentioned above.

I have been very remiss in not mentioning this sooner, but I would like to commend my brother priest, Fr. Rob Johansen. From the beginning of this case, he has been working diligently with Terry's parents to bring this case to a positive resolution. He has shown himself a capable and diligent warrior for the gift of life. A tip of the biretta goes out to him. He currently, I think, is in Florida helping the Schiavo family even as you read this. Here you can read his article "Saving Terry's Life" from Catholic World Report. Or you can see his reprint of the Catholic Doctors' Opinion of the Schiavo matter.

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