Friday, February 18, 2005

Next Monday Is Day of Decision For Terri:
An Update From Bob & Mary Schindler


I spoke to Bob and Mary Schindler last night, and they tell me they're "hanging in there". Needless to say, they are very frustrated by the obstinate refusal of the Florida appellate courts to even listen to arguments as to why they should protect Terri's life. As I wrote last week, the Florida Second District Court of Appeals, in a move almost certainly intended, as Bob Schindler described it, to "stop them dead in their tracks", issued a ruling against the Schindlers without handing down a written decision, and thereby precluded further appeals for Terri.

So Terri's fate comes down to next Monday afternoon. The Schindlers have a hearing before Judge Greer at 2:30 PM next Monday, in which they will ask him to extend the stay on removal of Terri's feeding tube while the other legal issues they have raised (which you can read about here) are still pending.

According to the Schindlers attorneys, if Judge Greer does the right thing, he ought to extend the stay. It would be absurd to allow Michael to kill Terri while other legal issues are still pending. But, as Bob said, the Schindlers have learned not to try to predict what Judge Greer will do, and have certainly learned not to trust Judge Greer to do the right thing.

They are grateful for all the prayers and support they have received, and ask for you to stay the course with them. Please keep praying, speaking out, and taking action. We can still rescue Terri from a terrible fate.

I'll have another post on some of the legal issues and challenges soon, when I have more time to write.

A Pro-Terri Blog You Should Check Out

John Bambenek has a blog, the eponymous Ravings of John C.A. Bambenek, and he has tons of good information on Terri.

He has reproduced, in its entirety, an article from The Empire Journal which details Judge Greer's track record of ignoring another woman's abuse at the hands of her spouse, abuse which ended in her death.

He also has provided a list of both Florida state as well as Federal legislators and officials to contact, so as to bring pressure to bear on them to help save Terri. Please look over the list, and contact some of the people on it. They need to know that we're behind Terri!

Thanks, John, for your good work!

A Prayer For Terri

Pete Vere, over at the Catholic Light blog, and I have collaborated on composing a prayer for Terri, asking for the intercession of Sr. Lucia of Fatima, who passed away this past Sunday, February 13th. We invite you to start praying this prayer for Terri's deliverance:

Merciful Father, you blessed Sr. Lucia of Fatima as a child with a vision of the Virgin Mary, and granted her the grace to live a life of holiness and heroic obedience to Holy Mother Church. By her life she bore witness to the glory of God. Grant, in this hour of need for your daughter Terri Schiavo, that by Sr. Lucia's intercession, those souls hardened by the culture of death may come to believe in the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and be moved to revere and protect her life and all innocent human life. Amen.
I'm Going To Florida Next Week

I'm not prepared to say whether this is Providence or merely coincidence, but I have been planning for a couple of months on taking some vacation beginning next Thursday, and going down to Florida to visit my Mom, who lives near Orlando. As Orlando is only a two-hour drive from Tampa-St. Pete, I had also planned a visit to the Schindlers.

Now that Terri's life hangs in the balance, I may modify my plans for the trip. If the worst happens, and Michael succeeds in withdrawing Terri's food and water, I'll want and need to spend more time in Clearwater, to give support to the Schindlers and those rallying to Terri's side, much as I did in October 2003.

Please join me in praying for Terri, and praying that my trip will be able to be just a visit, and not turn into another death vigil.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

BlogBurst In Support of Terri

Close to 100 blogs have currently joined in a BlogBurst - that's an event where numerous blogs coordinate to blog on the same event or topic simultaneously.

The BlogBurst is being coordinated by the Hyscience blog, whose author is a retired pharmacological researcher that also happens to be disabled.

Check out his site for updates on Terri's situation, and also check out the list of blogs on the Terri BlogBurst over to the -------> right side there.

Michael Schiavo To Remove Terri's Feeding Tube Next Tuesday

As I wrote last week, the stays preventing Michael Schiavo from ending Terri's life will expire next Monday.

And so, as this Newsday story reports, Michael is going to waste no time in exercising his lethal resolve regarding his wife:
Michael Schiavo has said that he will remove the tube when the final court stay ends. The current stay is now set to end Tuesday.

George Felos, Michael's attorney, has always contended that Michael has the right to kill Terri any time he wants. Now it looks as though he's going to follow through on that.

But the Schindlers are not going to lie down and passively allow this to happen. In a news conference this afternoon, Bob Schindler vowed to continue the fight:
"In 2000, we said we will fight for Terri with every ounce of strength we have, and we still have many ounces," Bob Schindler said.

"The fight " involves the possibility of getting Governor Bush to intervene, though Bush himself has not offered much optimism for that scenario. There are also efforts underway to lobby the Florida legislature to make changes in Florida statutes that would offer other avenues to safeguard the lives of Terri and other disabled persons, whose lives are currently inadequately protected under the law. However, while a number of legislators have expressed support for such legislation, it is widely beleived that the fate of "Terri's Law" has cowed many Florida representatives from undertaking another legislative gambit.

George Felos, emboldened by his victories in court, has gone so far as to say that any legislation affecting Terri is unconstitutional:
In response to the family's renewed efforts, George Felos, attorney for Michael Schiavo, said the Florida Supreme Court "made it very clear" that neither the Legislature nor the governor has authority to overturn previous rulings in the case.

"I think the Legislature knows that, and anything they would pass would be unconstitutional," Felos said. [Emphasis added]

Will those who reverence life and see Terri as a human person, and not just a "useless eater", be able to prevail again? If we are to protect her life, and the lives of all the weak and innocent, we must mobilize NOW!

Pray!

Offer penance in reparation for sins against the dignity of life.

Spread the word.

Call your local talk radio station.

Ask your priest, bishop or pastor to speak out.

Send a donation to Terri's Fight to support the
effort to save Terri's life.

Organize a rally in support of Terri.

Write and call the President to demand that
he speak out and intervene.

Pray some more!

Monday, February 14, 2005

Greek Orthodox Church Re-Institutes Deaconesses

Liberal Catholics Quivering With Anticipation!


It may be "old news" to some, but the story seems not to have received much attention save on a few of the "progressive" Catholic blogs. The Orthodox Church of Greece approved the re-institution of the office of Deaconess, in an announcement published last October. The story appeared in a recent issue of America Magazine, but isn't accessible online. I learned of it through The Anchoress, who excerpted the following on her blog:
'Grant Her Your Spirit'

By Phyllis Zagano

The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Greece voted in Athens on Oct. 8, 2004, to restore the female diaconate. All the members of the Holy Synod-125 metropolitans and bishops and Archbishop Christodoulos, the head of the church of Greece-had considered the topic. The decision does not directly affect the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, which is an eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople...

As I mentioned above, in liberal Catholic circles some are almost wetting themselves with anticipation, as they see this as a sign that the Catholic Church eventually will have to relent in it's teaching regarding the reservation of Holy Orders to men.

It's not, and it won't.

Firstly, the Orthodox know perfectly well, as do historically well-informed Catholics, that in the early church deaconesses were never understood as participating in the sacrament of Holy Orders. The institution of a deaconess included a blessing and prayers, but no imposition of hands, nor taking of the traditional vows of the ordained. The ministry of the deaconess was restricted to assisting with the baptism of women and works of charity. Deaconesses did not preach the Word nor assist at the Divine Liturgy: indeed, they were not permitted to enter the sanctuary. It was an important ministry in the early church, and deaconesses were certainly held in high esteem, but there were no illusions that a deaconess was the female equivalent of a deacon. I'd be very surpised if the Orthodox were embracing any such illusions today, as they generally take literal fidelity to the patristic Tradition much more seriously than most Catholics.

Part of the confusion has to do with the weakness of the English language. For the same word, "ordain", is used to describe what happens to a deaconness as to describe what happens to a priest or deacon. But the root meaning of the Latin word ordinare, from which our word "ordain" derives, means "to set in order, to arrange or appoint." Thus, strictly speaking, the term "ordain" refers to the act of appointing or choosing the one to be given an office, not to the sacramental (or non-sacramental) action. To say that a deaconness was ever "ordained" sacramentally is both theologically and linguistically imprecise.

So, theologically speaking, the re-institution of the office of deaconess by the Orthodox Church in Greece will not "put pressure on Rome" (as one blogger hoped) to do anything. And from an ecumenical standpoint, this will have no affect on Catholic acceptance of the validity of Orthodox Orders, because deaconesses won't be held to participate in Holy Orders.

Finally, in practical terms, this won't put much pressure on Rome to do anything, even to re-institute our own, properly-understood office of deaconess. Why? Because this was a decision enacted by just one national synod. Had the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople done this, Rome might take more notice. Rome sees Constantinople as more of a peer, and, both historically and theologically, as representing the Churches of the East.

So this news, while perhaps providing fodder to the ill-informed fantasies of some on the Catholic left, does not mean that the Orthodox are now "ahead" of the Catholic Church on the issue of women's ordination. Indeed, it doesn't signify very much of anything. That might be the answer to the question "why hasn't Rome taken more notice of this?"

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Another Person Recovers From
"Permanent" Brain Damage


A Kansas woman, Sarah Scantlin, recently began talking after 20 years of brain-damage induced silence.

Her doctors "believe critical pathways in the brain may have regenerated."

But of course, Judge Greer, George Felos, Michael Schiavo and Dr. Ronald Cranford "know" that Terri Schiavo can never improve or recover in any way. That's why they haven't even attempted therapy for over a decade.

We're just supposed to ignore Kate Adamson, Rus Cooper-Dowda, David Mack, and the dozens of others like them who have had recoveries from supposedly "permanent" brain injuries, and now Sarah Scantlin.

I'm Going to Be on EWTN!

Or, you could say I WAS on EWTN.

I was interviewed on "Life on the Rock" this past Thursday evening, regarding Terri Schiavo's situation.

The show will be re-broadcast tonight at 11:00 PM, EST.

Catch it if you didn't already!