Thursday, March 31, 2005

Terri Schiavo has died

Eternal rest give unto her, O Lord;
And let perpetual light shine upon her.

PINELLAS PARK, Florida (CNN) -- Terri Schiavo, the 41-year-old brain-damaged woman who became the centerpiece of a national right-to-die battle, died Thursday morning, nearly two weeks after doctors removed the feeding tube that had sustained her for more than a decade.

Brother Paul O'Donnell, a spokesman for Bob and Mary Schindler, Schiavo's parents, said they were with their daughter's body and praying. (Terri Schiavo's obituary)

The Schindlers and their other two children earlier requested permission to be with Schiavo during her last moments, but police barred them from being with her, O'Donnell said.

Michael Schiavo, Terri's husband and guardian, controlled who could visit
her and when.

Gentlest Heart of Jesus, ever present in the Blessed Sacrament, ever consumed with burning love for the poor captive souls in Purgatory, have mercy on the soul of Your departed servant. Be not severe in Your judgment, but let some drops of Your Precious Blood fall upon her, and send, O merciful Saviour, Your angels to conduct her to a place of refreshment, light and peace.
Amen.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Father John Paris SJ

Much is being said lately about the need to have a living will to provide instructions for those who will have the responsibility for providing for our medical care.

If I am ever found to be in a persistent vegetative state I want to be treated by physicians in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Not the teachings as enunciated by American Jesuit Father John Paris, a professor of bioethics at Boston College, interviewed by the CBC last Wednesday, who argued (quite erroneously in Terri Schiavo's case) that Catholic teaching over the past 400 years justifies the removal of her feeding tube.

Fr. Paris premised his position with the (correct) view that the constant teaching of the Catholic Church for at least 400 years is that no one is obliged to undergo medical treatment which is disproportionately burdensome, or that doesn't?t offer expectation of restoration of health.

He implied that his view (on the acceptability of removing the feeding tube) was the "mainstream" Christian view (as opposed to the view of the Christian right) and that he was being consistent with Church teachings promulgated by Pope John Paul II on Euthanasia and in another papal encyclical that I did not catch. Fr. Paris omitted to note, however, that a year ago the Pontiff had this to say about feeding tubes.
A year ago, Pope John Paul II wrote that doctors have a moral duty to preserve life. "The administration of water and food, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural way of preserving life... not a medical procedure."
Father Paris also ignored (three extraordinary) recent pronouncements from the Vatican that clearly indicate that provision of food and water via a feeding tube cannot be considered heroic medical treatment which can be refused by caregivers.
Statement of Cardinal Renato Martino
President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
Vatican City 7 March 2005

The courts have ruled again and again. Unfortunately, the deadline for the removal of the tube delivering food and water to Terri Schiavo is quickly approaching. I am sorry to have to use the word "deadline" but this is the most accurate way to describe what will happen. Without the tube which is providing life-giving hydration and nutrition, Terri Schiavo will die. But it is not that simple. She will die a horrible and cruel death. She will not simply die; she will have death inflicted upon her over a number of terrible days, even weeks. How can anyone who claims to speak of the promotion and protection of human rights - of human life - remain silent? ...

Cardinal Martino first spoke out in February, saying, "If Mr. Schiavo succeeds in legally causing the death of his wife, this not only would be tragic in itself, but it would be a grave step toward the legal approval of euthanasia in the United States."
And this:
A top Vatican official, Monsignor Elio Sgreccia, also criticized the ruling, saying it legitimized a "cruel" death by hunger and thirst for Schiavo. Sgreccia, who heads the Pontifical Academy for Life, told Vatican Radio that he hoped the ruling wouldn't be repeated in other cases.

"It's not euthanasia in the literal sense of the word," Sgreccia said. "It's not a good
death, it's a death provoked by a cruel act. It's not a medical act," Sgreccia said.

"I confirm the moral judgment doesn't change, because it remains an illicit and serious act - even more serious since it appears the decision over who lives and who dies has become a question for a court," Sgreccia said.
Father Paris also failed to address the fact that Terri is not making the decisions on her treatment, but that her conflicted husband is. I have no doubt the producers of CBC's "The Current" were very pleased to find such a compliant Jesuit to misrepresent Church teaching so well.

Should I, at any point be declared to be in a persistent vegetative state, I want the real Catholic teaching (verses Father Paris's sloppy theology) to be applied in my treatment. Don't let the death cultists starve me or withhold water. I'm prepared to accept a twilight state in this vale of tears and if I must suffer, don't let it be because some earthly judges value judicial process over human life. Please don't let Father Paris SJ near my hospital bed. When Jesuits are good they are very, very, good, but when they are bad they are horrid.

By the way, this is not an invitation for God to strike me with a disability like Terri Schiavo's. I fear such a thing as much as the next person and pray I never have to undergo such things. But if such be my fate, let me die as a Catholic, clinging to the cross for however long it takes, in the sure hope of my resurrection to come.

Paul Cella on Terri Shiavo

Paul Cella at cella's Review has a thoughtful (as usual) post on matters at issue with Terri Schiavo.
Why are so many so exercised about the Terri Schiavo case? I think I can nail down with some precision at least a partial answer. We are exercised for this reason: the Terri case demonstrates beyond all doubt that the range of human beings protected by law in this country has narrowed once again; and what is to stop it from narrowing still further? My friend Bill Luse puts the matter very simply and elegantly: "A permanent vegetative state is not a terminal disease. It does not threaten one with death. It is simply a condition of her life, the life she happens to be living, and which some think she should not."
Go read the rest. The comments (54 and counting) are well worth perusal as well.

Judicial Mercy Withheld Once More

From CNN.

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- A federal appeals court has again denied a request for a rehearing in the case of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman whose feeding tube was removed March 18.

The ruling dashes one of the last remaining hopes for Bob and Mary Schindler, who are desperately trying to prolong the life of their daughter, whose feeding tube was removed 12 days ago. Schiavo is expected to die in the coming days.

The court has now denied the Schindlers their petitions four times.

For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." Revelations 7:17

Deathwatch - Day 12

We are told that Michael Schiavo, after an initial refusal, finally allowed Terri to receive one drop of communion wine on her tongue on Easter Sunday. She is not capable of receiving the blessed bread due to her advanced state of dehydration. Terri is a Catholic. We Catholics believe that the bread and wine, when blessed by a priest, become the Eucharist; the actual body and blood of our Saviour, known as the Jesus the Christ.

One Drop

One single drop of life
was all that he allowed his wife.
Water he refused to give
For he did not wish to see her live.

A single drop is her parched share
From hardened hearts that do not care.
Death wears kindness like a shroud
The sly spectre of the proud.

A single precious drop of blood
You call it little; it is a flood.
For in that blessed drop of wine
She finds Christ's holy heart divine.

Living water will slake her thirst
But first her heart must surely burst
At how her love has turned away
From keeping death from her this day.

JtM

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Culture of Death Wins in 21st Century's Scopes Trial

Terri Schiavo: Culture of Death Wins in 21st Century's Scopes Trial

by Rabbi Aryeh Spero
Posted Mar 28, 2005

Terri Schiavo is dying. She is being killed. The culture of life lost this round to the gods of the cult of death entrenched in our courts, media, and other institutions.

This was never, as liberals claimed, a constitutional crisis. It was, first, a question as to the definition of death. Up until now and throughout the Bible death was declared when autonomous respiration and heartbeat ceased and, as of late, when the brain-stem and brain were devoid of function. With the Schiavo case, popular culture has expanded death's contour and hastened its arrival by redefining death as the inability to swallow albeit the wherewithal to breathe, pump, and feel. The Angel of Death is, I'm sure, thankful to those who have provided him this new-found overtime.

But more important, this case revolved around the more transcendent question as to the definition and meaning of life. Our nation is divided. Some view life not as an end in itself but a means toward -- in other words, teleologic. Others see life not simply as an avenue but a state in and of itself -- in other words, immanent.
Read the rest here.

Pope may need feeding tube: report

VATICAN CITY - Pope John Paul II may have to return to the hospital to have a feeding tube inserted because he is having difficulty swallowing, a news report says.

The Italian news agency APcom said Tuesday that doctors were considering a feeding tube to ensure the 84-year-old pontiff receives adequate nutrition.

The Vatican didn't comment publicly on the report, which the news agency attributed to a source who wasn't identified.

The procedure involves passing a feeding tube through the throat into the stomach, then drawing it outside the body through a small incision in the abdomen. Liquid formula is fed through the tube into the stomach.

If the Pope undergoes the surgery, he will be receiving nutrition in the same way that Terri Schiavo did before the feeding tube was removed from the brain-damaged Florida woman, generating tremendous controversy.

The pope should be ok as long as Catholic Church authorities keep him out of the reach of judges of the United States court system.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Holy Saturday Deathwatch - Day 7

Last Saturday I wrote a post called Day Two Death Watch for Terri Shiavo. It began:
Today is day two in the judicially ordered murder of Terri Schiavo in Florida. Barring an extra-ordinary development she will die of thirst and starvation in a nation which prides itself on its commitment to human rights. That extra-ordinary development may, in fact, be about to happen.
The development was the extraordinary bipartisan action of the United States Congress and President Bush in passing a law over that weekend that required the federal judiciary in the US federal courts to review the matter, thereby circumventing probate judge George "Sweeny Todd" Greer of the Florida state court. My post ended with this comment. As we know this route has proven to be a literal dead end.
It appears there is still hope that the advocates of the culture of death will be successfully opposed and Terri Schiavo's life will be saved.
As a Catholic I recognize hope as one of the three great virtues of faith hope and charity. I should have taken note, however, that St. Paul was speaking of hope in God and not in a judicial system based on positive (man made) law. I underestimated how deeply the culture of death has taken root.

It is now day seven of the deathwatch and Terri Shiavo continues to die of thirst, as ordered by Judge Greer and as supported by his judicial colleagues.

It would take Edger Allen Poe to fully describe how she must be suffering. It would take St. Thomas Aquinas to fully address why this is wrong. It only takes a child to understand that it is wrong.

-----------------------------------------

At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"

He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, "Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.


The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 18

Friday, March 25, 2005

Golgotha

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left.

[Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."] They divided his garments by casting lots.

The people stood by and watched; the rulers, meanwhile, sneered at him and said, "He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Messiah of God." Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, "If you are King of the Jews, save yourself."

Above him there was an inscription that read, "This is the King of the Jews."

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us." The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal."

Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle.

Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"; and when he had said this he breathed his last.

The centurion who witnessed what had happened glorified God and said, "This man was innocent beyond doubt."

When all the people who had gathered for this spectacle saw what had happened, they returned home beating their breasts; but all his acquaintances stood at a distance, including the women who had followed him from Galilee and saw these events.

From the Gospel of Luke
New American Bible

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Main Stream Media's Life and Death Distortions

In my post below "We Have Become As Death" (March 22) I noted that the polls say there is overwhelming public support (77%) for allowing Michael Schiavo to kill his wife. In accepting the polling results I underestimated the perfidity of the media.

From Michelle Malkin today (Read her whole column here. )

"On a fundamental matter of life and death, the MSM heavyweights have proven themselves utterly incapable of reporting fairly. Take a widely publicized ABC News poll released on Monday that supposedly showed strong public opposition to any Washington intervention in Terri's case. Here is how the spinmasters framed the main poll question:

As you may know, a woman in Florida named Terri Schiavo suffered brain damage and has been on life support for 15 years. Doctors say she has no consciousness and her condition is irreversible. Her parents and her husband disagree on whether or not she should be kept on life support. In cases like this who do you think should have final say, (the parents) or (the spouse)?

A follow-up question asked:

If you were in this condition, would you want to be kept alive, or not?

The problem is that, contrary to what ABC News told those polled, Terri Schiavo is not on "life support" and has never been on "life support." The loaded phrase evokes images of a comatose patient being artificially sustained by myriad machines and pumps and wires. Terri was on a feeding tube. A feeding tube is not a ventilator. Terri can breathe just fine on her own.

And as many of her medical caretakers and parents have argued, if given proper rehabilitation, Terri could learn to chew and swallow on her own as well. She is disabled, not dead."

Mercy

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice.

Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice

Hope is Fading

As I write hope is fading that the judicial system of the United States is capable or willing to ensure justice for Terri Schiavo. The US federal circuit appeal court has rejected her parent's plea for her life. She has been refused drink and food since approximately 2 pm last Friday. She is dying.

The courts have consistently blocked all everts to save her life.

In a new development this afternoon:
The Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, just completed a press conference with Tampa Bay media. He says that the Department of Children and Families, through Adult Protective Services are conducting an investigation of abuse against Terri Schiavo. As part of that, a neurologist by the name of Dr. Cheshire, observed Terri, lengthy videos of her and her case record. He has concluded that she is not in a persistent vegetative state. Rather, he felt she was minimally conscious if not functioning higher.
This did not stop Judge George Greer from continuing his campaign to kill Terri.
Judge Greer today denied a petition today from the Department of Children and Families for sealed medical records and protective investigation, according to CNN. But, he didn't stop there.

According to CNN, Greer also issued an order that DCF be blocked from access to Terri Schiavo. You read that right. A probate judge telling a Florida agency with the same authority as law enforcement they are not permitted to do their jobs.

From Psalm 22

I am poured out like water.
All my bones are out of joint.
My heart is like wax;
it is melted within me.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd.
My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.
You have brought me into the dust of death.
For dogs have surrounded me.
A company of evildoers have enclosed me.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

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.

Kyrie elison.

Thirst

A darkened sky about to burst.
From hacking throat a cry
"I thirst!"

Wine proffered on a reed
A mercy to the one they treed
Who thirsts

Elija saw with sad old eyes
A sacred heart that dies
And thirsts

A woman lies in full torment
No gall for her dry throat is sent
She thirsts

"Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?"
Why have you forsaken me
Who thirsts

But when the veil rents in two
Two spirits soaring up to You
Who thirst

Living waters there abound
Where Mercy is always found
For those who thirst


JtM

Vatican Statement on Terri Schiavo

For the full text go here.

ROME, March 7, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has reiterated a call, first issued last month, to stop the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration from a cognitively disabled Florida woman. In startlingly urgent language, Cardinal Renato Martino today issued an urgent appeal against starving Terri Schiavo.

"She will die a horrible and cruel death. She will not simply die; she will have death inflicted upon her over a number of terrible days even weeks . . . how is it that this woman, who has done nothing wrong, will suffer a fate which society would never tolerate in the case of a convicted murderer or anyone else convicted of the most horrendous crimes?," writes the Cardinal. ....

... In his Message for the Eleventh World Day of the Sick (11 February 2003) His Holiness Pope John Paul II stated: "And while palliative treatment in the final stage of life can be encouraged, avoiding a 'treatment at all costs' mentality, it will never be permissible to resort to actions or omissions which by their nature or in the intention of the person acting are designed to bring about death."

Palliative care, by its definition is the alleviation of suffering and relieving pain. In the last stage of life, it is this care for which we all must hope because, if the feeding tube is removed and Terri is forced to die this slow, terrible, painful death, we must ask ourselves, "And who will be next?"

Will this open the door for a state to decide whether this or that incapacitated person should die...not be allowed to die a dignified death but that they should have death inflicted upon them?

It must stop here and now. The courts, the judges and everyone involved with this must understand that all of the questions involved in the case of Terri Schiavo have not yet been answered. Society must realize that we can never inflict this sort of death on a human being, on any other creature, without each and every one of us and society as a whole suffering a terrible fate.

Regarding This Morning's Terri Schiavo Ruling

From National Review On Line

THIS MORNING'S RULING [K. J. Lopez]O. Carter Snead, who is general counsel for the Council on Bioethics and has previously written about the Schiavo case e-mails (Note: His comments are his own and don?t reflect the views of the council, which has varying views on varying things:

The state of Florida, through its judiciary, has ordered the termination of Terri Schiavo's life. This is an interest clearly protected by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. Thus, before Florida can order such action, it must accord Schiavo with the full measure of process that is due to her. Unfortunately, a review of the record shows that such process was never provided.

The courts in Florida were charged, first and foremost, with discerning what T. Schiavo would have chosen under the present circumstances ("substituted judgment"). Florida law provides a complex system of procedural safeguards for this determination, including a "clear and convincing" evidence standard (the highest in all of civil law), and a presumption that the now-incapacitated patient would choose to live, in exercising her constitutional right to accept or refuse life-sustaining treatment. Moreover, Florida law requires that a guardian be appointed in circumstances such as these to represent the interests of the patient...

...The procedural irregularities that tainted the handling of Ms. Schiavo's case include...:

The court's failure to appoint a guardian ad litem (following 1998);

The court's usurpation of the guardian's role (in direct violation of Florida law);

The court's reliance upon insufficient evidence regarding T. Schiavo's wishes (namely, the recollection of her husband that T. Schiavo's had made
ambiguous, casual remarks about "not wanting to be a burden" many years prior,in a wholly unrelated context);

The court's refusal to consider probative evidence of T. Schiavo's wishes (namely, witness testimony that Mr. Schiavo was lying and that he had never, in fact, discussed end-of-life care with T. Schiavo); andOn remand, the court's shifting of the burden to the Schindlers to demonstrate that T. Schiavo would have wanted treatment under the present circumstances (inverting the logic of the Florida laws).

These irregularities make it impossible to conclude that T. Schiavo's wishes under the present circumstances were proven by "clear and convincing" evidence, particularly in light of the presumption (under Florida law) that she would have chosen to receive life sustaining treatment. Any claim, therefore, that re-insertion of the tube is contrary to Terri's wishes (and thus an encroachment upon her right to refuse treatment) is groundless. We simply do not yet know what her wishes would have been.

The recently passed S.686 gives the Middle District of Florida jurisdiction to hear a suit or claim by or on behalf of T. Schiavo "for alleged violation of any right of T.M. Schiavo under the Constitution or laws of the US relating to the withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids, or medical treatment necessary to sustain her life." It gives third parties the standing to bring such claims.

And, most importantly for present purposes, it empowers the federal court to determine, DE NOVO, "any claim of a violation of any right of T. Schiavo within the scope of this Act, NOTWITHSTANDNG ANY PRIOR STATE COURT DETERMINATION AND REGARDLESS OF WHETHER SUCH A CLAIM HAS PREVIOUSLY BEEN RAISED, CONSIDERED, OR DECIDED IN STATE COURT PROCEEDINGS."

Thus, its seems highly improper for the federal court to determine on the basis of a two hour hearing that the Schindler family would not likely be successful on the merits in an entirely new trial, complete with extensive discovery, etc.

Posted at 10:21 AM

For the text of the judge's ruling go here.

Federal Judge Denies Emergency Request

From CNN website:
TAMPA, Florida (CNN) -- A federal judge on Tuesday denied an emergency request to reinsert a feeding tube for Terri Schiavo, a brain-damaged woman at the center of a national legal battle over her life.

Attorneys for Schiavo's parents appealed the ruling to a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Georgia. Schiavo has been without food or water since a Florida state judge ordered her feeding tube removed Friday at her husband's request.

Tuesday's ruling by U.S. District Judge James Whittemore in Tampa came after Congress and President Bush enacted legislation aimed at allowing federal
courts to review Schiavo's case. (
Full story)
I wonder what Judge Wittemore had to eat and drink today? One has to hope he enjoyed it. Good nutritional practice is so important, they say.

I believe that the courts in the United States are committing judicial murder.

Her husband is living with another woman with whom he has had children. His "defacto" wife is therefore his common law spouse, not terri Schiavo. Accordingly, he is unfit to be making life and death decisions pertaining to Terri, because he has a clear conflict of interest. Her parents have no such conflict.

From the reports I read Michael Shiavo has a financial stake in Terri's death. He has received a handsome settlement (over $600 K for damages alone) and stands to gain further monies upon her death. This also places him in a conflict of interest.

Medical doctors informed of the lack of diagnostic testing ( e.g., MRI scans) have stated they cannot believe these routine procedures were not done. Without them, apparently, it is doubtful whether an accurate diagnosis of "persistent vegetative state" can be made.

Michael Schiavo has consistently refused to allow therapeutic treatment for Terri.

Monday, March 21, 2005

A New Member of the Blogosphere

My son 11 year old son Liam has been reading my blog for some time now. He decided to create his own webblog he is calling Liam the Mad (the Mads are very original in our blogging names, eh what!)

Please welcome Liam to the blogosphere. Does the Red Ensign brigade have a youth wing? Should it? Comments about this are welcome. Contrary views, however, may be subject to withering criticisms from Master Liam. You have been warned.

Leprechauns Are About

My weblog appears to have been attacked by the little people. They are sneaky and treacherous folk, in my view. If I see one, I must remember to look him in the eye and not blink. They disappear in the flick of an eyelid, but if you hold their gaze they must grant your wish.

I'll sort it out as soon as I can.

..........................................

Sudden sidebar shifting syndrome is now cured ..... except for the migration of my site meter. Hmmmm.

US Congress passes Schiavo Law

The US Congress has passed, and President Bush has signed, a bill authorizing Terri Shiavo's case to be heard in the US federal court system.

There is new hope.

...............................................

From the 9th Psalm

The wicked shall be turned back to Sheol,
even all the nations that forget God.

For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
nor the hope of the poor perish forever.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Conservative Party Joins Culture of Death

From the National Post there is this news from the weekend Conservative policy convention.
Alexander Panetta
Canadian Press
MONTREAL (CP) - The Conservative party abandoned the fight for an abortion law Saturday after four decades of bitter national debate that sparked court challenges, police raids and passionate protest. The historic vote at a party convention left anti-abortion advocates with no mainstream political vehicle for the first time ever as the party opted to stake its fortunes a little closer to the political centre. Conservative officials insisted they had wrenched away a cudgel Liberals used to bash them for more than a generation.

One jubilant pro-choice delegate crowed that the decision will instantly make the party a more viable force in the next election campaign - especially with female voters. Legislatures have no place in women's bodies," said Nargis Kheran of St. John, N.B., who earlier told the convention crowd that women "do not need you to tell us what to do."

Conservatives had maintained a diplomatic silence on abortion for years. Although the party was opposed to the lack of regulation of abortion, no Conservative leader mounted an organized attempt to draft legislation since Brian Mulroney in 1989. Conservative Leader Stephen Harper decided to end the ambiguity. He told delegates Friday there will be no abortion law if he becomes prime minister

Results of the vote were not a slam-dunk. The vast convention hall remained relatively quiet when the numbers were read while some delegates, mostly female, stood to applaud the news: the party's 2,900 delegates had voted 55 per cent in favour of maintaining the status quo on abortion, and 45 per cent against.

Harper hopes a more moderate face for his party will help attract urban and eastern Canadian voters who abandoned him in droves in the final days of last year's election campaign. Anti-abortion forces insisted they have not abandoned their fight.
Mr. Harper and the Conservative Party may be right that this exercise in political expediency will help them attract urban and Eastern Canadian voters. I doubt it will work, frankly. They really need to attract the social conservatives lingering in the Liberal party. The others are quite happy where they are. In short, you need to recruit folks like me. There are a lot of us looking for an alternative to the Grits.

Recently, after a lifetime as a Liberal party supporter I became convinced that the Liberal Party had become openly hostile to my deepest beliefs religious and political beliefs and that I could no longer support it. Accordingly, I joined the new Conservative Party just before last Christmas in the expectation that in the Conservative party I would find kindred spirits with whom I could fight the good fight. I was one of those who stayed with you to the end in the last election.
It seems I was wrong. Mr. Harper, where does this urban, Eastern, new party member send his resignation? I will no longer compromise with the culture of death and your party just joined it.

I'll be watching your attempts to seduce those Eastern, urban, sophisticates. You haven't got a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding, but the attempt will no doubt prove interesting, in a sad macabre sort of way.

Nurse: Terri Can Eat Normally

From Blogs for Terri:

A certified nursing assistant who cared for Terri Schiavo in 1997 filed a sworn affidavit in the case stating that she was able to feed Schiavo normally on multiple occasions - but that husband Michael Schiavo would allow only a feeding tube.

Heidi Law, a CNA at the Palm Gardens nursing home, testified: "At least three times during any shift where I took care of Terri, I made sure to give Terri a wet washcloth filled with ice chips, to keep her mouth moistened. I personally saw her swallow the ice water and never saw her gag.

"[Another CNA] and I frequently put orange juice or apple juice in her washcloth to give her something nice to taste, which made her happy. On three or four occasions I personally fed Terri small mouthfuls of Jello, which she was able to swallow and enjoyed immensely."

Law testified that the only reason she didn't attempt to feed Ms. Schiavo more frequently was "because I was so afraid of being caught by Michael."

Editorializing on the case in light of Law's account, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette said Sunday, "It is one thing to withdraw a feeding tube; another entirely to withhold that day's meal tray."


"Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me."
Jesus of Nazareth

Holy Week Murder In Progress

Today is Palm Sunday. For Christians, this begins Holy Week the holiest time of the year which culminates in the Passion of our Lord and Saviour, known as the Christ. As we Christians pray during this special time I ask you to remember Terri Schiavo and her parents who are undergoing their own passion. Their passion story, like that of Jesus, is brought on by a betrayal (by her husband Michael Schiavo) and by an unjust judge named George W. Greer.

The following narrative is from Terri Schiavo's lawyer, Barbara Weller, who was with Terri until shortly before her feeding tube was removed on Friday at 1:45 p.m. Terri has been denied food and water for 48 hours now. For the whole narrative go to Fight4Terri.
At one point, I noticed Terri's window blinds were pulled down. I went to the window to raise them so Terri could look at the beautiful garden outside her window and see the sun after several days of rain. As sunlight came into the room, Terri's eyes widened and she was obviously very pleased. At another point, Suzanne and I told Terri she needed to suck in all the food she could because she might not be getting anything for a few days. During that time, Mary Schindler, Terri's mother, joined us for a bit, and we noticed there were bubbles in Terri's feeding tube. We joked that we didn?t want her to begin burping, and called the nurses to fix the feeding tube, which they did. Terri's mother did not come back into the room. This was a very difficult day for Bob and Mary Schindler. I suspect they were less hopeful all along than I was, having lived through Terri's last two feeding tube removals.

Suzanne and I continued to talk and joke with Terri for probably an hour or more. At one point Suzanne called Terri the bionic woman and I heard Terri laugh out loud heartily for the first time since I have been visiting with her. She laughed so hard that for the first time I noticed the dimples in her cheeks.

The most dramatic event of this visit happened at one point when I was sitting on Terri's bed next to Suzanne. Terri was sitting in her lounge chair and her aunt was standing at the foot of the chair. I stood up and learned over Terri. I took her arms in both of my hands. I said to her, "Terri if you could only say 'I want to live' this whole thing could be over today." I begged her to try very hard to say, 'I want to live.' To my enormous shock and surprise, Terri's eyes opened wide, she looked me square in the face, and with a look of great concentration, she said, "Ahhhhhhh."

Then, seeming to summon up all the strength she had, she virtually screamed, "Waaaaaaaa." She yelled so loudly that Michael Vitadamo, Suzanne's husband, and the female police officer who were then standing together outside Terri's door, clearly heard her.

At that point, Terri had a look of anguish on her face that I had never seen before and she seemed to be struggling hard, but was unable to complete the sentence. She became very frustrated and began to cry. I was horrified that I was obviously causing Terri so much anguish. Suzanne and I began to stroke Terri's face and hair to comfort her. I told Terri I was very sorry. It had not been my intention to upset her so much. Suzanne and I assured Terri that her efforts were much appreciated and that she did not need to try to say anything more. I promised Terri I would tell the world that she had tried to say, 'I want to live.'

Suzanne and I continued to visit and talk with Terri, along with other family members who came and went in the room, until about 2:00 p.m. when we were all told to leave after Judge Greer denied yet another motion for stay and ordered the removal of the feeding tube to proceed. As we left the room, the female police officer outside the door was valiantly attempting to keep from crying.

Just as Terri's husband Michael has told the world he must keep an alleged promise to kill Terri, a promise remembered a million dollars and nearly a decade after the fact; I must keep my promise to Terri immediately. Time is running out for her. I went out to the banks of cameras outside the hospice facility and told the story immediately. Now I must also tell the story in writing for the world to hear. It may be the last effective thing I can do to try to keep Terri alive so she can get the testing, therapy, and rehabilitative help she so desperately needs before it is too late.

About four in the afternoon, several hours after the feeding tube was removed, I returned to Terri's room. By that time she was alone except for a male police officer now standing inside the door. When I entered the room and began to speak to her, Terri started to cry and tried to speak to me immediately. It was one of the most helpless feelings I have ever had. Terri was looking very melancholy at that point and I had the sense she was very upset that we had told her things were going to get better, but instead, they were obviously getting worse. I had previously had the same feeling when my own daughter was a baby who was hospitalized and was crying and looking to me to rescue her from her hospital crib, something I could not do. While I was in the room with Terri for the next half hour or so, several other friends came to visit and I did a few press interviews sitting right next to Terri. I again raised her window shade, which had again been pulled down, so Terri could at least see the garden and the sunshine from her lounge chair. I also turned the radio on in her room before I left so that when she was alone, she would at least have some music for comfort.

Just before I left the room, I leaned over Terri and spoke right into her ear. I told her I was very sorry I had not been able to stop the feeding tube from being taken out and I was very sorry I had to leave her alone. But I reminded her that Jesus would stay right by her side even when no one else was there with her. When I mentioned Jesus? Name, Terri again laughed out loud. She became very agitated and began loudly trying to speak to me again. As Terri continued to laugh and try to speak, I quietly prayed in her ear, kissed her, placed her in Jesus' care, and left the room.

Terri is alone now. As I write this last visit narrative, it is five in the morning of March 19. Terri has been without food and water for nearly 17 hours. I'm sure she is beginning at least to become thirsty, if not hungry. And I am left to wonder how many other people care.

posted by Fight4Terri @ 10:18 AM

3rd Psalm

Yahweh, how my adversaries have increased!
Many are those who rise up against me.
Many there are who say of my soul,
"There is no help for him in God."

But you, Yahweh, are a shield around me,
my glory, and the one who lifts up my head.
I cry to Yahweh with my voice,
and he answers me out of his holy hill

I laid myself down and slept.
I awakened; for Yahweh sustains me.
I will not be afraid of tens of thousands of people
who have set themselves against me on every side.

Arise, Yahweh!
Save me, my God!
For you have struck all of my enemies on the cheek bone.
You have broken the teeth of the wicked.

Salvation belongs to Yahweh.
Your blessing be on your people.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Did Charlie Angus MP Tell a Big Fib?

Back on March 12th in a post about the NDP MP Charlie Angus being refused communion by his pastor, Father Lemire, I quoted the following from the Hill Times article:
Mr. Angus said he consulted a cannon lawyer in Ottawa and also met with the Bishop of his Diocese, Bishop Paul Marchand, for a second opinion. Both told him he can't be denied communion. Mr. Angus said the Bishop told him that the church's job "is to propose, not to impose."Bishop Marchand could not be reached for an interview last week.
I stated in my post that:
One can always hope that Mr. Angus is misquoting his bishop. Alas, the statement rings true. It is a typical kind of blather uttered by far too many in the Canadian Catholic episcopacy.
Not content with that comment I posted my views on the matter the next day:
I believe that these "devout" Catholic politicians are only able to play this game of privately believing one thing while publicly espousing another because they are allowed to do so without suffering public censure from our bishops. With all due respect to Bishop Paul Marchand, the Church needs a lot less "proposing" and a great deal more "opposing." Psst. .... it's called leadership, Your Grace. Pass it on!
Rather than trust an NDP member of parliament on anything touching on this topic, I should have waited to hear something from Bishop Marchand himself. In The Catholic Register of March 17th, he is quoted as denying he ever repudiated his priest (Father Lemire). Good enough for me. My apologies to Bishop Marchand.

Apparently, Father Lemire also says, "he was trying to initiate a dialogue with Angus and didn't threaten to withhold communion at the moment."
"Until the final vote [in Parliament] happens he is certainly welcome. He has not been barred from communion in any way shape or form."

However, Lemire said he did warn Angus of the consequences of his actions both in a letter and in a telephone call. "I said there may come a time when you may not come to the table of the Lord."

He said, "Well Father, you have to do what you have to do."

Angus promised to meet with him, but he is still waiting for that meeting.

Day Two - Deathwatch for Terri Schiavo

Today is day two in the judicially ordered murder of Terri Schiavo in Florida. Barring an extra-ordinary development she will die of thirst and starvation in a nation which prides itself on its commitment to human rights. That extra-ordinary development may, in fact, be about to happen.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Members of Congress said Saturday that they have agreed on a compromise, bipartisan bill aimed at saving the life of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged woman whose feeding tube was disconnected Friday by order of a Florida court.

"It seems to me that we are at a point where we have no choice other than to ensure these parents, who are desperately seeking an opportunity to care for their daughter, have a chance to be heard in federal court," Republican Rep. David Dreier of California said, referring to Mary and Bob Schindler, Schiavo's parents.

The legislation -- which must be voted on by the Senate and the House --would allow Schiavo's parents, who have been waging their legal battles in state court, to take their case to the federal court system.

There is no language ordering that the tube be reinserted, because Congress has no authority to do that.

"We should investigate every avenue before we take the life of a living human being," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Texas Republican. "This is giving the Schindlers the opportunity to get into federal court and have a federal judge look at this, based on the merits of the case."

The compromise legislation applies only to the Schiavo case, lawmakers said.

The Senate will meet in extraordinary session Saturday and the House will meet Sunday afternoon.

President Bush is expected to sign the bill.

It appears there is still hope that the advocates of the culture of death will be successfully opposed and Terri Schiavo's life will be saved.
................................................................................

Psalm 63 (62)

O God, you are my God, for you I long;
for you my soul is thirsting.
My body pines for you
like a dry, weary land without water.
So I gaze on you in the sanctuary
to see your strength and your glory.

For your love is better than life.
My lips will speak your praise.
So I will bless you all my life.
In your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul shall be filled as with a banquet.
My mouth shall praise you with joy.

On my bed I remember you.
On you I muse through the night
for you have been my help;
in the shadow of your wings I rejoice.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand holds me fast.

Those who seek to destroy my life
shall go down to the depths of the earth.
They shall be put into the power of the sword
and left as the prey of the jackals.
But the king shall rejoice in God;
(all that swear by him shall be blest,)
for the mouth of liars shall be silenced.

The Case for the Defence of Terri Schiavo

Update: Please read this National Review Online article by Fr. Johansen.

Terri's diagnosis was arrived at without the benefit of testing that most neurologists would consider standard for diagnosing PVS. One such test is MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). MRI is widely used today, even for ailments as simple as knee injuries - but Terri has never had one. Michael has repeatedly refused to consent to one. The neurologists I have spoken to have reacted with shock upon learning this fact. One such neurologist is Dr. Peter Morin. He is a researcher specializing in degenerative brain diseases, and has both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Boston University.

In the course of my conversation with Dr. Morin, he made reference to the standard use of MRI and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans to diagnose the extent of brain injuries. He seemed to assume that these had been done for Terri. I stopped him and told him that these tests have never been done for her; that Michael had refused them.

There was a moment of dead silence.

"That's criminal," he said, and then asked, in a tone of utter incredulity: "How can he continue as guardian? People are deliberating over this woman's life and death and there's been no MRI or PET?" He drew a reasonable conclusion: "These people [Michael Schiavo, George Felos, and Judge Greer] don't want the information."

There are none so blind as those that will not see.

Friday, March 18, 2005

The Culture of Death

Today at approximately 1:45 pm in Florida, Pinellas Circuit Judge George Greer ordered a feeding tube removed which was keeping a woman named Terri Schiavo alive. Through his order Judge Greer is sanctioning a hideous form of judicial murder. Barring some extra-ordinary intervention from the US Congress, Terri Schiavo will now die from lack of water and food, in a painful process which may extend over four weeks.

If we ever needed confirmation that Western civilization has entered a dark period, this action provides it. Pope John Paul II says this sort of thing occurs because we have embraced a culture of death. Sadly, I must agree with him.

For a detailed expanation of the situation and what Terri will now suffer visit Fr. Rob Johansen's web site, Thrown Back.

Most Sacred Jesus have mercy on Terri Schiavo your servant and remember her when she enters into Your Kingdom. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on us all for not acting to stop this evil from happening. Mea maxima culpa.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Éireann go Brách

From Castle O'Mad I bring you tidings of great quaffing. T'is the 17th of March, otherwise known throughout the inebriated world as the feast day of Saint Patrick Guinness, patron saint of Irish pubs and singers of fine ballads wherein the Irish celebrate great defeats suffered at the hands of the pernicious Sassenach. (I confess to using a bit of hedgerow poetic licence here.)

My advice to you on this day is to drink in moderation. No more than four pints per hour is quite sufficient in my view. Of course this may be augmented when necessary by wee drops of the creature, also known in County Durham as Black Bush. A large serving of Irish stew is traditional, filling and prudent. Oh yes. Avoid the green beer. It's a sure sign of a Protestant trying to pass.

Now bow your heads for the blessing before the feast.

May the Good Lord hold you in the palm of His hand and not squeeze His fist too tight.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Gibson's Passion Exonerated

While surfing the web tonight I ran across a post about the disturbing increase in anti-Semitic incidents by Damian Penny at Daimnation. I was particularly interested to read this comment from B'nai Brith Director Ruth Klein.
Almost one-third of all incidents occurred in March and April [2004], when Israel launched countermeasures against terrorist groups in the Palestinian territory. Klein said that seemed to fall in line with a historical pattern surrounding Israeli military activity.
This is a far more likely explanation for the increase in Anti-Semitic activity than the opening of Mel Gibson's, The Passion of the Christ. Perhaps Frank Dimant, B'nai Brith's Chief Executive Officer, should now apologize to Mel Gibson and the rest of us for his unwise and inaccurate comments, while he still retains some credibility.

The Passion of B'nai Brith

In yesterday's Globe & Mail, Oliver Moore reports that B'nai Brith of Canada is claiming that, "anti-Jewish incidents in Canada surged last year to the highest level ever recorded...,"
In its annual audit, the national wing of B'nai Brith said that 867 such incidents were reported in 2004 and warned that the number probably represents only about one-tenth of actual cases.

These incidents - three times as many as in 2000 and the most since records started being kept more than two decades ago were a mixture of harassment (53 percent) vandalism (43 percent) and violence (4 percent).
Such an increase in anti-Semitic activity is a matter of real concern for every Canadian and ought to be denounced in the most clear language by all. I do so, ... with one reservation.

Frank Dimant, the CEO of B'nai Brith in Canada, attributes a portion of this increase to Mel Gibson's film, the Passion of the Christ. He is quoted by the reporter as saying:
... the movie flies in the face of modern tolerance and is in addition to a "long list of anti-Semitic works throughout history.

We've progressed from the dark ages and the Middle Ages, we have moved forward, and this is really pulling us back into very dark ages that divide people," he said.

"We've made tremendous progress in terms of enlightenment and appreciating the differences and understanding the tragedies of inciting people with religious hatred. Christians and Jews have come a long way in that regard and it is very sad that Mel Gibson took it upon himself to move us back into, literally, the Middle Ages."
This is a very serious charge and one which must be examined very carefully. What evidence does Mr. Dimant mount to defend his view that Canada has literally plunged back into the Middle Ages. I suspect, of course, that he did not mean anything so positive. Have we started to build magnificent new cathedrals all over the land? Have we begun to erect new centres of learning to rival the medieval Catholic Universities of Paris, Oxford and Cambridge. Is there an explosion of interest in classical literature?

Of course, Mr. Dimant meant to focus, not on the very positive elements of the European Catholic Middle Ages, but on the anti-Semitism which was unquestionably prevalent in that society at that time. That being the case, it is incumbent on Mr. Dimant and the rest of us to maintain some perspective, if we can. Rome has not authorized the Government of Canada to conduct an Inquisition. Jews have not been expelled from Canada.

The Globe noted that incidents of harassment and violence against Jews actually declined while vandalism increased.
B'nai Brith worries that the danger may escalate because of Canadian complacency.

They point to the fire bombing of a Montreal school as a sign of what can happen when intolerance is not stopped and say that fear is driving some Jews to hide their faith.
Indeed, the most egregious and disgusting of the 34 anti-Semitic attacks in Canada last year was perpetrated by 19 year old Sleiman Elmerhebi, who burned the library at Montreal's United Talmud Torah school last Passover. He said his motive was Israel's actions in the Middle East. He did not mention Gibson's Passion of the Christ. He was sentenced to 40 months in jail for this hate crime. Frankly, I would have given him a longer opportunity for rest and reflection.

Elmerhebi was clearly not a Christian. Nor was he driven to anti-Jewish arson because of watching Mel Gibson's film. Full stop.

I believe that Mr. Dimant and B'nai Brith have an obligation to prove their assertion that the increase in Canadian anti-Semitic vandalism last year is attributable to The Passion of the Christ. To say it is attributable to the one line in the movie in which the crowd before Pilate called out (in Aramaic, without subtitles) that the blood of Jesus would, "be on us and on our children" beggars the imagination. It is simply not credible.

At the moment, according to B'nai Brith, the case rests on an apparent increase in vandalism concurrent with the movie's first months in theatres. How then does this explain the concomitant decrease in harassment and violence towards Jewish people in Canada during the same period? Resting the case on this flimsy evidence is not justifiable; particularly given that with the volatility of the Middle East, the increase in vandalism may be entirely due to a host of causes unrelated to the release of the movie.

If B'nai Brith cannot make a better case than appeared in my Globe & Mail yesterday, then it should apologize to Mr. Gibson and withdraw the charge. Then we can all focus on more likely reasons for the abhorrent increase in anti-Semitic activity in this country.

The Red Ensign Standard Edition XVII

Rue at Abraca-Pocus has hoisted the Red Ensign Standard. Producing this compendium of Red Ensign Brigade posts (51 members now) is clearly becoming a considerable task. Accordingly, she's reformatted Edition XVII of the Standard to manage the task.

On behalf of Her Majesty the Queen of Canada I thank you. Well done!

The Mouse That Squeaked

My morning Globe & Mail tells us that the Honourable Pierre Pettigrew PC MP, our wildly coiffed Minister of Foreign Affairs has been visiting the "moribund" (Globe's word, not mine) United Nations Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

Apparently, Mr. Pettigrew thought it time to apply Canada's considerable diplomatic muscle to denounce Iranian and North Korean armaments programs. Here is a transcript of what he actually said to the convention delegates. Remember you read it here first.
"Tisk, tisk, tisk " Mr. Pettigrew clucked with a very stern look on his face and a strategically placed wrinkle on his brow.

"You two nations are being very, very naughty," he continued while wagging a finger in the general direction of the Iranian and North Korean ambassadors. "If you do not stop being so naughty, Canada will be very, very, unhappy and will have to back up my very, very, tough words with stronger action.

When the Iranian ambassador shouted back, "No way! You can't make us, Nyaa, nyaa, nyaaa, nyaa, nyaa ...." Mr. Pettigrew's countenance darkened and he said softly.

"It's a good thing for you mister, that I don't believe in spanking, or other forms of cruel and unusual punishments prohibited by the Geneva Conventions On How To Deal With Spoiled Brats and Other Rogue States. But this does not mean the Government of Canada lacks a spine. No sir, it does not."

We in Ottawa believe in tough love. Just ask Newfoundland's Danny Williams about how tough this Liberal Government can be. .... Well ok, that's a bad example, but you'd better mind your Ps & Qs from now on."

You will only be allowed to come out of your room when you have thought about what you have done and are ready to render a sincere apology to your brother and sister nations. That'll teach you not to mess with the might of the Canadian nation.

So far the North Korean and Iranian response has been muted. Liberal sources in the Prime Minister's Office said this is likely due to the fact that Mr. Pettigrew's tongue lashing and threats of future action by Canada has the Iranian and North Korean governments temporarily paralyzed with fear.

Another Liberal source, a well known CBC anchorperson, has suggested the lack of a visible response may be due to rumours that Iran and North Korea immediately began to destroy their respective weapons systems and are too busy to formally reply to Mr. Pettigrew. (The North Korean ambassador was overheard talking to Dear Leader by cellphone, begging him to disarm immediately, or face the serious danger of overflights by Canadian Forces Sea King helicopters.)

Although the Globe & Mail for some reason did not report Mr. Pettigrew's remarks above, it did note that,
North Korea's nuclear warheads and its program to develop missiles capable of reaching North America pose, "a grave risk to regional and international peace and security," Mr. Pettigrew said.

He made no mention of Ottawa's decision to opt out of the U.S. anti-missile shield designed to intercept intercontinental ballistic missiles and destroy them.

Note: I was about to satirize that last [genuine] quotation until I realized the Liberal position on missile defence is self-inflicted satire. I was always taught that a gentleman does not kick a deeply wounded public policy where the sun don't shine. It is simply not seemly to play the bully.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

To All "Proposing" Catholic Bishops

A Belloc anecdote just for you from The Angelus.
One of the differences between Belloc and Chesterton in defending the Faith was that Chesterton did a lot of fencing, but Belloc drew real swords and real blood. Before engaging in battle, he would clearly state his objective, plan his campaign and examine his weapons. He would note what good there was in his opponent and then clearly state the evil he was about to attack and then attack it. "Without wounding and killing," he said, in criticism of Chesterton, "there is no battle."

He did not, however, find any enjoyment in the personal injury of his opponent.

In the great debate he had against Wells, objecting to the latter's Outline of History, Belloc became personal in his attack and Wells was hurt. "Mr. Wells means to say all that is in him, and if there is not very much in him, that is not his fault." The two had been friends for 25 years, but Wells's attack on the Church in his new book was subtle and Belloc sought to crush the evil and its instrument, come what may. The friendship never recovered and Belloc admitted in later life that the spoils of these wars were a bitter reward for his efforts; and that the loss of so many friends, through his battles, added to the strain of his old age.
If you believe as a Catholic bishop that the same-sex bill before our parliament is an evil instrument, and if you are an orthodox Catholic you must, then why aren't you out there with Bishop Henry of Calgary defending the Faith? Why are you allowing Catholic members of parliament and their Catholic counterparts in the provincial legislatures to own the public ground as "devout Catholics"? Why is this public scandal not publicly addressed?

A pastoral letter to parishes, expressing Catholic teaching on this matter is helpful, but is simply not sufficient to carry the day.


To all Catholic Members of Parliament

An anecdote about Hilaire Belloc, the great Catholic journalist and member of the British parliament, from Brother Anthony Joseph's website The Angelus.
In 1904 he joined the Liberal Party and became the candidate for South Salford, near Manchester. Before the election of 1906, the first rally of his campaign was in a Catholic school-hall packed with people from all classes of society-mainly Protestants. The Catholic clergy present and his campaign manager warned him not to damage his chances of election by mentioning his religion. He rose to his feet and said:
Gentleman, I am a Catholic. As far as possible, I go to Mass every day. This (taking a rosary out of his pocket) is a rosary. As far as possible, I kneel down and tell these beads every day. If you reject me on account of my religion, I shall thank God that He has spared me the indignity of being your representative!

After a shocked silence there was a thunder-clap of applause
Belloc was elected to parliament and retained his seat in the following general election. Ah yes, when he died in 1953 I expect he had an rather easy time of it when he underwent what we must all undergo ... the Last Judgement.

Faithful Catholics usually do, I'm told.

Ottawa Isn't Even Wales, Charlie

Kate from The last Amazon (whose blog I very much enjoy)has the following to say (comments section)about my last post on Charlie Angus MP. In her usual manner, she nails the issue to the wall.
I guess MP Angus also missed mass when the homily discussed the question Jesus asked: what does it profit a man if he gains the world but loses his soul?
It is very distressing to me to see so many "public" Catholics abandon Catholic teaching with such easy abandon. Christ was offered the whole world by Satan if he would bow down to him.

Charlie Angus MP, is only retaining a warm (and getting spiritually warmer) seat in the NDP caucus. I pray that his spiritual ambition may one day match his political ambition.

I believe that these "devout" Catholic politicians are only able to play this game of privately believing one thing while publicly expousing another because they are allowed to do so without suffering public censure from our bishops. With all due respect to Bishop Paul Marchand, the Church needs a lot less "proposing" and a great deal more "opposing." Psst. .... it's called leadership, Your Grace. Pass it on!

On this subject I shall have more to say when time permits.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Charlie Angus MP and His Very Bad Day

From a March 7, 2005 story by Paco Francoli in The Hill Times:
Rookie NDP MP Charlie Angus says he was confronted by his Catholic parish priest over his open support of the Liberal government's legislation to legalize same-sex marriage about three weeks ago and was told he will be denied holy communion during mass if he votes with the government on the controversial legislation.
Mr. Angus (Timmins-James Bay, Ont.), a devout practising Catholic who has an active church life, hasn't been to Sunday mass since and said he doesn't know when he'll go back.

"I haven't decided what I will do," said a despondent Mr. Angus in a telephone interview with The Hill Times from his riding last week. "I go to mass not to have to deal with problems, but to get a respite from them, so with the friction... it doesn't really make me feel on Sunday morning like getting up and going."

The matter came to a head when the controversial same-sex bill came up for debate in the House on Feb. 16. That day, Mr. Angus said he was in the House of Commons listening to his colleague Bill Siksay (Burnaby-Douglas, B.C.), who is openly gay, deliver the NDP's lead speech on the bill.

After his colleague was finished speaking, Mr. Angus got up to congratulate him and to shake his hand. Five minutes later, his parish priest, Father John Lemire, who had been watching the House proceedings on TV, left him a pointed message on his cellphone.

"He [the priest] told me that he was scandalized," recounted Mr. Angus. "He said that I had scandalized people and that he was very disturbed to see me getting up and shaking this man's hand. I thought it was all rather strange."
Well there you go; very strange indeed. A Catholic priest is actually calling his devout Catholic MP to task for flouting Catholic teaching in the most public manner possible. Does Charlie expect a papal knighthood for his actions in the Commons?
Father Lemire is also the coordinator for the "Marriage Campaign" in the diocese and has taken a leading role in a campaign urging Roman Catholics throughout the region to target Mr. Angus and Liberal MP Anthony Rota (Nipissing-Timiskaming, Ont.), who is also a Catholic and supports same-sex marriage.

Father Lemire said that "it's a cause of scandal and concern that both [Mr. Angus and Mr. Rota] profess to be good practising Catholics and yet vote in favour of the legislation."
Indeed it is. It seems that Charlie Angus MP is going to have to choose between his devout Catholicism and his devout socialism. Life is full of tough choices, but in this case my bet is that Mr. Angus will drift to the socialist, rather than the Catholic, side of the street.

Perhaps he can start attending mass in the home parish of another devout Catholic MP. That way he can continue to pretend to be devout, while publicly acting against Catholic teaching on fundamental moral questions.
Many Catholic MPs have found themselves at odds with the Catholic Church over this divisive issue, including Prime Minister Paul Martin (LaSalle-Émard, Que.) who is also a practising Catholic.

But the Prime Minister's own parish priest at St. John Brebeuf in Montreal, Rev. John Walsh, recently told The Globe and Mail that he believes the Catholic Church should open its arms to gays and lesbians, pointing that all the churches are being asked to do is respect civil gay marriage.

Declared Rev. Walsh: "People aren't less human being because they're born gay. I open my heart and my church to them. We have to find a way so that these people never feel rejected. But we're divided. Everybody is divided
Father Walsh is no St. Jean Baptiste. In his neo-Catholicism, no one should ever, ever, ever, feel rejected. No making straight the ways of the Lord for him. But I guess that anything that helps Mr. Martin get through his devoutly dithering days without pangs of conscience .....

You may think this is bad. It gets worse.
Father Lemire said he agrees with Bishop Henry's [of Calgary] position. He added that Catholics are "routinely" denied communion for going against the church's teachings. He explained that Catholics who are divorced and then go on to remarry in non-Catholic churches also face being denied communion "because they would be in an immoral state in the eyes of the church."

Mr. Angus said he consulted a cannon lawyer in Ottawa and also met with the Bishop of his Diocese, Bishop Paul Marchand, for a second opinion. Both told him he can't be denied communion. Mr. Angus said the Bishop told him that the church's job "is to propose, not to impose."Bishop Marchand could not be reached for an interview last week.

One can always hope that Mr. Angus is misquoting his bishop. Alas, the statement rings true. It is a typical kind of blather uttered by far too many in the Canadian Catholic episcopacy.

Saint John Cardinal Fisher and St. Thomas More pray for us. And Lord, bless your faithful servant and priest Fr. Lemire.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Eulogies

ctv.ca

"No matter the era, it seems that children always want to grow up to be police officers -- to wear the uniform, to enforce the law, catch the criminal," said Prime Minister Paul Martin in his remarks.

..................................................................

... But the most poignant moments were the eulogies delivered for the fallen officers.

Rev. Don Schiemann wept as he spoke about his son Peter, the youngest of the four constables.

"The pain of our loss is beyond anything we could have imagined," said Schiemann. "Peter, we shall see you in heaven, but we can hardly wait."

Const. Leo Johnston's twin brother, Lee, spoke about the man born just nine minutes ahead of him. Lee said he idolized his big brother, calling him his "best friend and the most important person in my life."

He choked back tears, pausing in front the portrait of his brother on the pavilion's stage before looking briefing to the heavens and walking back to his seat.

Const. Barrie Baskerville from the RCMP's Whitecourt detachment spoke of Tony Gordon's love of camping, his dedication to his job and how he loved to help people.

He shared an anecdote of how Gordon once chased down a dog for its owner, only to have his right hand bitten and his pants ripped to shreds.

"That was Anthony," said Baskerville. "If you needed any help, whether minor or serious, he was there for you."

Rev. Art Hundeby spoke of Const. Brock Myrol's love of dinosaurs and travel, and his talent for collecting friends.

"But the love of his life, Anjila, was his best friend. And he was so looking forward to their wedding." Myrol became engaged to Anjila Steeves this past Christmas.

"All of his friends are a testament to Brock's strong relational bonds, intense loyalty, and caring nature," said Hundeby.

.........................................................

And may Perpetual Light shine upon them, O Lord


Wednesday, March 09, 2005

English Genius

Via Rebecca at Doxology comes this grammar test from Shortredhead78 on OKCupid

My score was as follows:
English Genius
You scored 93% Beginner, 93% Intermediate, 100% Advanced, and 77% Expert!
You did so extremely well, even I can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!
My son Master Liam (11) is watching me post this very impressive score. He is beating about the head and shoulders with my mouse pad repeating over and over, "No Dad. Gloating is bad. Bragging is bad. Don't do it. (beat beat beat) . He just left the room saying if I posted this he wouldn't read my blog ever again.

Let me see now. Personal modesty leading to heaven vs the world's absolute right to know that a genius is in their midst. The publish button is .........

Welcome to Sue

Sue of Turning Thirty and a Half has run the Red Ensign up her blogging flagpole, becoming the 50th wise and wonderful blogger to join the brigade.

She is a Canuck with an American man who is with the US Forces over at the pointed end of the stick. She also has two really cute kids.

Join me in welcoming her to the Red Ensign Brigade by visiting her site.

(Sorry Sue. I thought I had posted this two days ago, but it was accidentally filed as a draft.)

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Liberals Clawback Promised New Money from DND

I'm short on time to blog today, but Damian Brooks at Babbling Brooks has a post which ought to catch your hair on fire. He notes that the inadequate additional funds ($500 M and $600 M for the next two fiscal years) put in the budget for the Canadian Forces is subject to significant clawbacks in both fiscal years.

In other words, the proof is there that the Liberal government is lying to the Canadian people about the amount of new money they are providing to the CF. Go have a look.

Arrrrggggghhhhh! The rust out continues.

...O Canada we stand on guard for thee .... not!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Lloyd's Unworthy Letter

I read about this matter in other Red Ensign blogs, but reading Right Jab finally caused me to have a look at the actual letter.

The blogosphere is quivering over an open letter penned by the Honourable Lloyd Axworthy PC, PhD., former Minister of Foreign Affairs and champion of Canadian soft power, to Condi Rice, the Secretary of State of the United States of America and champion of actual power. It appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press on March 3, 2005. Mr. Axworthy is currently the President of the University of Winnipeg.

First let me reminisce a bit. Back in 1973, John the Mad was a very young, newly employed, Liberal political staff member on Parliament Hill. In the first few days on the job I had occasion to attend a committee of the House of Commons to listen in on some discussion relating to rail freight rates, or some such matter. Lloyd Axworthy MP happened to be speaking.

At first I was in a state approaching awe and wonderment at actually being in the committee room with men of state talking about great affairs of state. Gradually, however, as I listened and watched Mr. Axworthy MP, I lost my sense of awe and became aware that I was in the presence of a pompous ass. He effected a certain condescending tone that, even I as a young Liberal, found off-putting. I have not had a good reason over the years to change my assessment of the man and his recent letter merely reinforces that three decade-old sense that Mr. Axworthy is in love with himself.

Now let us address the letter itself.

Dear Condi,
I'm glad you've decided to get over your fit of pique and venture north to visit your closest neighbour. It's a chance to learn a thing or two. Maybe more.

I know it seems improbable to your divinely guided master in the White House that mere mortals might disagree with participating in a missile-defence system that has failed in its last three tests, even though the tests themselves were carefully rigged to show results.
Like you, I was surprised that a former foreign minister would adopt such a sophomoric ambiance in an open letter to a US Secretary of State. Given his current job, it may just be that he is spending too much time reading the campus student press. Let's forgive him this shortcoming, for he embarrasses no one but himself.

The thing that caught my eye was the next sentence. What can Dr. Axworthy mean by this comment?

But, gosh, we folks above the 49th parallel are somewhat cautious types who can't quite see laying down billions of dollars in a three-dud poker game.
At first blush he gives the impression that he believes he is not prepared to support the wasting of billions of taxpayer dollars on anti-weapons systems that don't work. But this cannot be the case. Look at the Liberal gun registry. The Liberals have spent nearly $2 billion on this exercise in political posturing, and we have four dead young RCMP constables to prove it is only a useless multi billion dollar boondoggle.

If we're going to spend money, Mr. Goodale added, it will be on day-care and health programs, and even on more foreign aid and improved defence.
Now I'll accept that this government wants to spend more on social programs and health. But the federal budget only gives substantial boosts to foreign aid and the military four or five years from now, assuming Liberal priorities don't change, and assuming they are still in office. As I've pointed out in this blog, the next two fiscal years will see the Canadian Forces get an additional $500 million per year, when arresting current rust-out of the Forces infrastructure requires $1.5 billion per year. More Liberal smoke and mirrors.

Still, Mr. Axworthy's sudden conversion to supporting increases in defence budgets is most gratifying to me. As a Catholic I know sudden conversions are possible. You may remain sceptical. I understand.

Sure,that doesn't match the gargantuan, multi-billion-dollar deficits that your government blithely runs up fighting a "liberation war" in Iraq, laying out more than half of all weapons expenditures in the world, and giving massive tax breaks to the top one per cent of your population while cutting food programs for poor children. Just chalk that up to a different sense of priorities about what a national government's role should be when there isn't a prevailing mood of manifest destiny.
Oops. That conversion was short lived, I admit. Our Lloyd does raise an important idea though. What is a national government's role? I thought that the defence of the realm and protection of its citizens was right up there in the list. We cannot do that, of course, and his political party is largely responsible for that sorry state of afairs.

The RCMP and Immigration have suffered significant cutbacks in the years following 9/11 and even if you believe in the tooth fairy and the efficacy of Mr. Goodale's five-year budget plan, our military won?t be able to do much defending for years, if at all. If the Canadian Forces were a home they'd be issuing an emergency demolition permit to prevent passers by from being crushed by falling debris from the rotting hulk.

Coming to Ottawa might also expose you to a parliamentary system that has a thing called question period every day, where those in the executive are held accountable by an opposition for their actions, and where demands for public debate on important topics such as missile defence can be made openly.
I think Mr. Axworthy is having Ms. Rice on a bit here. While it is agreed that demands may be made for an open debate on missile defence, it is not so that we actually get one. I think we used to call that selectively telling the truth. It's a government thing.

You might also notice that it's a system in which the governing party's caucus members are not afraid to tell their leader that their constituents don't want to follow the ideological, perhaps teleological, fantasies of Canada's continental co-inhabitant. And that this leader actually listens to such representations.
Now that statement is a fact. Any living breathing Liberal caucus member that wants to launch verbal pot shots at our American neighbours may do so just as long as they don't appear on CBC TV comedy sketches. Do that and they're toast, but short of that and Prime Minister Dithers will let them hack away with all the petty ill will at their command.

What caucus members are absolutely forbidden from doing, however, is to question publicly the ideological and non-teleological fantasies of the current Liberal elites. Papal anathemas would pale in comparison to Prime Ministerial interdicts in such cases. Don't believe me? Consider the probable political destiny of any liberal MP who dares to say our national health care policy is fiscally unsustainable in the long run and must change or consume all program spending in government. I rest my case.

Your boss did not avail himself of a similar opportunity to visit our House of Commons during his visit, fearing, it seems, that there might be some signs of dissent. He preferred to issue his diktat on missile defence in front of a highly controlled, pre-selected audience.

Such control-freak antics may work in the virtual one-party state that now prevails in Washington. But in Canada we have a residual belief that politicians should be subject to a few checks and balances, an idea that your country once espoused before the days of empire.
Need I bring to your attention the utter gall of a leading member of "Canada's natural governing party" accusing the Bush Republicans of running a one party state. Didn't the Yanks just have a bruising knock 'em down, electoral race that had all the thrills and spills of Northern Dancer winning the Queen's Plate.

Checks and balances? Canada? Third parties can't even participate fully in electoral campaigns here. Checks and balances are very few in this centralized, caucus whipped, PMO run federal government. Let us pass on quickly lest the good doctor/statesman becomes completely embarrassed by his own rhetoric.

If you want to have us consider your proposals and positions, present them in a proper way, through serious discussion across the table in our cabinet room, as your previous president did when he visited Ottawa. And don't embarrass our prime minister by lobbing a verbal missile at him while he sits on a public stage, with no chance to respond.
Ah, too late. He is a determined man our Lloyd. He is clearly not capable of recognizing that he is embarrassing himself. Those who consider themselves the centre of the enlightened universe are seldom able to maintain perspective, I guess. Word missiles? What have we been witnessing from the Liberal party for the last couple of years, but a steady fusillade of insults and smarmy verbal missiles directed at President Bush and the American people? What is this open letter? Mr. Axworthy protesteth too much.

I invite you to expand the narrow perspective that seems to inform your opinions of Canada by ranging far wider in your reach of contacts and discussions. You would find that what is rising in Canada is not so much anti-Americanism, as claimed by your and our right-wing commentators, but fundamental disagreements with certain policies of your government. You would see that rather than just reacting to events by drawing on old conventional wisdoms, many Canadians are trying to think our way through to some ideas that can be helpful in building a more secure world.

These Canadians believe that security can be achieved through well-modulated efforts to protect the rights of people, not just nation-states.
Very well modulated indeed. The Liberal Government of Canada's human rights efforts are so modulated they are invisible. I think the recent elections in Afghanistan and Iraq speak for George Bush's clear support for the rights of people vs nation states.

As I discovered recently while giving a series of lectures in southern California, there is keen interest in how the U.S. can offer real leadership in managing global challenges of disease, natural calamities and conflict, other than by military means.
Lloyd. Lloyd. Lloyd. As the respective Canadian-US responses to the tsunami disaster demonstrate, the possession and maintenance of an actual,(rather than a planned way off/maybe, but only if you reelect us) military capability is crucial to the delivery of disaster assistance in a quick, effective and substantial way.

Have a look at the CF Disaster Assistance Response Team debacle over air deployment, compared to the instant and effective response from the United States Navy carrier battle group. There is simply no comparison. Has the UN even got there yet, by the way?

Above all, ignore the Cassandras who deride the state of our relations because of one missile-defence decision. Accept that, as a friend on your border, we will offer a different, independent point of view. And that there are times when truth must speak to power.
Condi: Ignore John the Mad and his ilk. ... Lloyd Axworthy and the Liberal are really your friends .... Honest to goodness. ... Really!...It's true