Only a beginning

Only a beginning

Florida’s bishops have finally spoken out on the latest crisis for Terri Schiavo. They speak about the difficulties in the dispute between husband and parents, but strangely do not offer direct support for the parents. Instead they (correctly) insist that Terri should continue to receive food and water, quoting Pope John Paul’s statement last March on the issue. I give the statement an 80 out of 100.

I’m unhappy that there isn’t a direct call for the reversal of Judge Greer’s court order that Michael can remove Terri’s food-and-water tube on March 18. I also wonder that Bishop Lynch doesn’t offer a statement of his own regarding what is happening in his own diocese. The latest statement from him, which they link to, is from August 2003. Has nothing happened since then? Plus his original statement was less than solid in defending Terri’s right to life, as Diogenes points out.

I also wonder when these fine words will be backed up with action. When will the diocese of St. Petersburg begin to offer pastoral care for Terri, her family, and her supporters. One elderly, retired priest, Msgr. Malanowski, has been left to do it all, with Fr. Rob Johansen having to fly in from Michigan on his own in order to help. Where are all the priests of the diocese? I’d also like to know why the diocese is not demanding that Terri be allowed to receive the ministry of a priest and to receive Communion. I’m not sure if the order has been reversed, but last I heard Michael had refused to allow any priest to visit Terri.

The recent statement is a good start, if very late. But if the bishops are to show moral leadership for the Culture of Life, they need to do more. A lot more.