We Have Become as Death
I saw a poll on TV tonight wherein 77% of the people polled stated they thought Terri Shiavo should be "allowed to die." This poll is but one of many signs of the times that, read correctly, leads me to a sad but indisputable conclusion that we have now truly entered into a dark age.
The simple fact of the matter is that Terri Shiavo is not being "allowed to die." This phrase implies a degree of passivity, which is entirely absent in her case. She is being actively killed and the media and all other advocates for her death should tell it like it is. There is a vast difference between the reality of her killing and the phrase "allowed to die."
She is being killed by a husband who is currently in a spousal relationship with another woman, by whom he has had children. She is being killed by someone who will gain financially from her death. She is being killed by a spouse who has rejected all attempts to provide her with normal diagnostic tests or therapies; tests and therapies that could put the lie to the legal ruling of "persistent vegetative state" which Pinellas Circuit Judge George Greer has rendered.
Michael Schiavo has so far been fully supported in the killing of his wife by the unelected and unaccountable judiciary of the United States of America. Michael Schiavo's repeated attempts to kill his wife have been opposed, however.
He has been opposed, first by Terri Schiavo's mother and father and family.
He has been opposed by the collective will of the elected and accountable legislature of the State of Florida, which passed a law to save her - which the unelected judiciary overturned.
He has been opposed by the combined will of the elected Republicans and Democrats of the House of Representatives and Senate of the United States Congress.
The elected President of the United States opposes him.
Finally, Michael Schiavo has been opposed by the Vatican, which has spoken out repeatedly in an effort to save the life of a helpless Catholic.
Let me be clear. The Catholic Church does not revere Terri's life because it fears her death. In all probability Terri Schiavo will be welcomed with open arms into the Father's Kingdom. She will again be made whole by her Creator.
But the Church reveres temporal life as a sacred gift that may not be abused or surrendered prematurely. Nor may it be taken from the innocent. These views, by the way, lay at the heart of our society for two millennia. They are being rejected now at our peril.
Despite (or more accurately, because) of this reverence for life, the Catholic Church does not require human life to be maintained at all costs. That is a common misconception. The Church recognizes physical death as a natural process. "Remember man that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shall return." Accordingly, heroic medical procedures are not required in order to prolong a life which is sure to end in the short term. Terri Shiavo, however, is not in that category and her feeding tube is not heroic treatment.
What people mean when they say she should be "allowed to die" is that they do not think her current life is worth living. She is severely handicapped and such a life is unthinkable in this hedonistic age. So we demand her life be terminated. Terminated, mind you, in a manner we would find unacceptable and outrageous if it were used to put down a dog. We delude ourselves if we think this has anything to do with mercy.
The Bishop of Rome, His Holiness John Paul II, has rightly called this failure to protect the innocent and helpless among us, "the culture of death."
I believe it is a culture that finds its genesis in Genesis, but its soul reposes in Dachau, the first concentration camp established in Nazi Germany, where in,
the late 1930's the Nazis killed thousands of handicapped Germans by lethal injection and poisonous gas. .... Eventually the Nazis created a more secluded and organized method of killing. Extermination centers were established in occupied Poland with special apparatus especially designed for mass murder. Giant death machines.There is a moral continuum you see which stretches from the gates of Dachau, through the killing fields of our modern abortuaries, to the hospice beds of the handicapped such as Terri Schiavo. In Terri's case the continuum digresses through the judicial chambers of Judges George Greer and James Whittemore, where evil is masquerading as mercy and death is cloaked in the rule of law.