Thursday, March 31, 2005

Schindler family statement

The family's statement

Pope's health worsens

The news is reporting that Pope John Paul II has received the last rites, although this hasn't been confirmed.
With his health deteriorating, perhaps he will soon go into eternal life. I think he'll go down in history as a very great Pope. How do you view the Pope's pontificate?

Terri and St. Maximilian

St. Maximilian was starved for two weeks by the Nazis, who finally had to give him a lethal injection. He's a great patron as we think of Terri. St. Maximilian wrote once:
"The real conflict is inner conflict. Beyond armies of occupation and the catacombs of concentration camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depth of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are victories on the battle-field if we ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves? "

Terri Schindler, RIP

Terri has finally died. I feel profoundly sad and outraged over the way she was starved to death. I just heard Fr. Pavone talking about how he was there in Terri's room about 10 minutes before she died and was able to pray the prayers of the Church for the dying. At least now Terri is with God. May she rest in peace!

Keeping vigil with Terri

It looks like all of the Schindlers' legal options are exhausted. Barring a miracle, Terri will die soon. But her life won't have been in vain. She'll probably become a patron saint of sorts for the pro-life movement in terms of euthanasia.

Overcoming Sexual Terrorism

I heard a radio interview by Jake Goldenflame, the author of this new book. He is a former child molester who is now working to help protect children. The book's subtitle is "40 Ways to Protect Your Children from. Sexual Predators." His interview had two things of interest to Catholics:

1) In prison he went through a program to help turn his life around. While it involved psychological help, he said they were also taught about "ethics and morality."

2) After getting out of prison he took a trip to Brazil to put it all behind him. One day on the street a young boy came out of the shadows and approached him; it was a child prostitute. Suddenly all his urges came back. It would have been so easy, but he thought about how he wanted to rebuild his life and turned away. If he had given in, he would have fallen back into his downward spiral. It shows the power of one good choice.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

A beautiful story of care and concern

Today the Boston Globe had a pretty good story about a couple that's relevant in light of the Terri case. It even brings in an element of faith in that the man returned to the Catholic faith (although it seems they may not actually be married and I'm not suggesting to approve of their living arrangement). But the way he is taking care of her is a beautiful thing.

Theft of "plastinated fetus"

Yahoo news carried a story about the theft of a "plastinated" fetus from an exhibit. It sounded to me like the fetus wasn't just a model but a real one that had been "plastinated" to be able to go on display. The report said:

We are deeply concerned and disappointed by the theft of this invaluable and irreplaceable specimen," Angelina Whalley, director of the Institute for Plastination, said in a statement.
"How can somebody do this ... it's such a disrespect," she said.

Well, if it wasn't disrespectful to kill the baby in the first place, what's so bad about stealing it, Angelina?

The resurrection: source of our hope

Another reason for the resurrection, according to St. Thomas, is that it gives us hope.
Because Christ, who is our head, has risen, we have a sure hope that we too will rise one day.
Even if Terri dies, she'll rise again with Christ. Thank God the forces of death don't have the last word!

Emergency appeal for Terri

A reader informed me about that the 11th circuit appeals court will hear an emergency appeal for Terri. It's a strange coincidence--an eleventh hour appeal to the 11th circuit! It's the same court that denied two motions last time. But one judge on that court, Judge Wilson, issued an outstanding dissent and said clearly that there would be "no harm" in putting back Terri's feeding tube while all the issues are considered.

Judge Wilson mentioned something called the "All Writs Act" which is a "special power of courts to issue orders in aid of their own jurisdiction." Last week (3/24) Andrew McCarthy had a good article about it explaining the legal aspects. (

I hope that Judge Wilson will be able to persuade his colleagues to side with him this time.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Jesse Jackson speaks out for Terri!

I generally don't agree with the views of Jesse Jackson. But I have to give him a lot of credit for speaking out for Terri Schiavo. I just heard his statement on the radio and he said what's being done to Terri is inhumane. Right on, Jesse!

more thomas on the resurrection

Another reason Christ rose from the dead is to confirm our faith in his divinity. "If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is in vain, and vain is your faith" (1 Cor 15:14)

If Christ hadn't risen, then the apostles would have just remained scattered and Christianity would never have gotten off the ground.

Spiritual dimension of trade deficits

Are you concerned about the huge trade deficits the US has been running? Every month it seems like a new record high is racked up. How will this affect the economy in the long term? Recently I read an article in the Wall St. Journal which said that we shouldn't worry about them because it means other countries are investing in the US. I'm no economist but that's like saying people who run up huge credit card bills shouldn't worry because the companies they're buying from are investing their goods in them. Eventually the bill comes due.

Other economists are getting worried because it's throwing the world's economy out of balance. The US can only do this because the dollar is the world's reserve currency. But who knows how long that will last?
Anyway, while a lot of essential things like food and oil are imported, a lot of the things from China are nothing more than consumer goods. That's where I see a spiritual connection. Are Americans so intent on getting more and more "stuff" that our consumer spending is risking serious economic upheavals? While consumption spending can bring temporary business benefits, in the long run we can't consume our way into prosperity. Could it be that a more spiritual outlook on life that minimizes "stuff" might actually benefit the economy by encouraging more saving and investing for the long term instead of short term spending?

Monday, March 28, 2005

October 2004, in Concord, MA
Fall, 2004 Concord, MA

Legal aspects of Schiavo case

For an interesting look at the legal aspects of the Schiavo case, check out this link. It explains why the Schindlers kept on losing all their court battles. In essence, Michael had the money because he had sued to hire a good lawyer and the Schindlers didn't. The trial judge chose to believe Michael's version and that became, legally speaking, the "facts of the case." Once those "facts" are established legally, no other court is going to overturn them:

Denying food and water by mouth

In all the discussion of the Schiavo case, one court order has gotten lost in the shuffle: the court not only ordered the removal of Terri's feeding tube, it also forbade any food or water by mouth.
Here's a link to the actual court document:

At least one former nurse who took care of Terri testified under oath that she was able to give Terri some nutrition by mouth. The Schindlers wanted Terri to have therapy to learn how to swallow, which was at least a possibility. But the husband Michael consistently denied Terri this therapy.

Can anybody answer this?

Michael Schiavo keeps on insisting that he wants Terri to die for no other reason than that he wants to be faithful to her wishes. For the sake of argument presume he is correct in stating that Terri would have wanted to die (which is questionable). If he is so adamant about being faithful to this wish, why has he in fact acted against her other wish, expressed publicly in front of many witnesses on the day of their marriage: that he be faithful to her, in sickness as well as in health, until death? It's a public fact that Michael has been living with another woman for some years now and has had two children with her. Does anybody else see an inconsistency here? If his only motivation in going through ten long years of legal battles has been to honor Terri's wishes, why does he so lightly disregarded her other wish that he should be faithful to her?

The paschal mystery and the Gospel of life

From Pope John Paul's encyclical the Gospel of Life:

"Today we too find ourselves in the midst of a dramatic conflict between the 'culture of death' and the 'culture of life.' But the glory of the Cross is not overcome by this darkness; rather, it shines forth ever more radiantly and brightly, and is revealed as the center, meaning and goal of all history and of every human life. Jesus is nailed to the Cross and is lifted up from the earth. He experiences the moment of his greatest 'powerlessness,' and his life seems completely delivered to the derision of his adversaries and into the hands of his executioner.... And yet, precisely amid all this, the Roman centurion exclaims: 'Truly this man was the Son of God!' It is thus, at the moment of his greatest weakness, that the Son of God is revealed for who he is: on the Cross his glory is made manifest." (n. 50).

This is replayed every day, in the life of each and every suffering person. In a dramatic way we see it being played out in the case of Terry Schiavo. She has been delivered into the hands of her state-sanctioned executioners. But the glory of the Cross will shine through it all.

Countdown for Terri

As Terri gets closer and closer to death, all we can do now is to keep on praying for her.
Here's a short prayer to the patron of a holy death:

O St Joseph, foster father of Jesus Christ and true spouse of the Virgin Mary, pray for us and for the dying of this day, especially Terri Schiavo.

The qualities of mercy and practicality

The opinion of Judge Charles Wilson of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals regarding Terri's case is worth reading. He dissented from the majority opinion that refused to grant Terri relief by having her feeding tube put back. Toward the beginning of his statement Justice Wilson said:

In considering this extraordinary case, I am mindful that “[t]he essence of
equity jurisdiction has been the power of the Chancellor to do equity and to mould
each decree to the necessities of the particular case. Flexibility rather than rigidity
has distinguished it. The qualities of mercy and practicality have made equity the
instrument for nice adjustment and reconciliation between the public interest and
private needs as well as between competing private claims.” Swann v. Charlotte-
Mecklenburg Bd. of Educ., 402 U.S. 1, 15 (1971) (citations omitted). Keeping those principles firmly in mind, “mercy and practicality” compel us to grant the
relief requested.

Watching Terri die

I'm sure many people have noticed the contradictions in the reports coming out about Terri as she nears her death. The lawyer Felos has said she looks beautiful and peaceful. Her parents have said she is bleeding from her eyes and that probably doesn't look too beautiful. Who are you going to believe? I'm going with the parents.

Wisdom from Thomas on resurrection

Here's the first reason Thomas says it was fitting for Christ to rise:

"For the commendation of divine justice, to which it belongs to exalt them who humble themselves for God's sake...because Christ humbled himself even to the death of the Cross, from love and obedience to God, it behooved Him to be uplifted by God to a glorious resurrection."

A good thought to ponder as we watch Terri die. God will exalt her to a glorious resurrection!

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Who, me?

On Good Friday I took a walk around a nearby large pond, in a public park. It's a lovely spot I enjoy often walking in. At one point I noticed a man standing by the side of the path. Something about him gave me a creepy feeling. As soon as I had walked a little bit past him, he called out after me "Child molester!" I just kept on walking (he was a lot bigger than me) and thankfully he didn't pursue me. The only reason he called me that was because I'm a Catholic nun (I wear a habit so I'm easily identified as one).
I've been called a lot of things in my life, but this was the first time anyone ever called me a child molester. I could just dismiss it and assume he's a crackpot. But isn't it sad that to at least some people, the first thing they think of when seeing a priest or nun is "child molester."! It will take a long time for the fallout from the scandal to be overcome.
On the few occasions during the year when I get to visit Scituate, I like to walk down the road to the lighthouse, right along the water. It goes past the house where John Geoghan used to live. Whenever I pass it, it reminds me of how a priest who did in fact molest children was allowed to do so much damage. Tolerance of such evil is no virtue.

Even on Easter?

Today (Easter) the Boston Globe magazine had an article in celebration of one-night stands. Yes, a celebration of them. The author (a young man) thinks that they're good basically for two reasons:
1) they're fun and
2) they're enjoyable

You would think that the paper might have the civility to at least postpone such an article until after Easter Sunday. But when it comes to the Globe, that' s certainly too much to hope for.

Although the author said he doesn't feel guilty about them, I did get at least a hint of a certain sense that they're not exactly the type of things to put up front on one's CV. Maybe the day will come when the sexual revolution will have run its course and people will realize it hasn't made them happy.

What it's like to starve to death

Fr. Rob Johansen has posted official documents from the hospice where Terri's at. These documents have details on the "exit protocol" to be followed in order to starve Terri to death.
To view them, visit here:

Petition to impeach Judge Greer

If you would like to sign a petition to impeach Jude Greer, here is the link:

Easter blessings to all!

Happy Easter to all!
This morning's reading from St. Paul hit home in a special way: to keep our thoughts on things above, not on things of earth.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Was it fitting for Christ to descend into hell?

St. Thomas says yes, for three reasons:

1) Christ came to "bear our penalty in order to free us from penalty" so "it was fitting for him to descend into hell in order to deliver us also from going down into hell."

2) Because Christ overthrew the devil by undergoing his passion and death, it was "fitting he should deliver the captives detained in hell."

3) It was fitting that just as he showed forth his power on earth by his life and teachings, so he visited hell and enlightened it.
Part III of the Summa, question 52, article 1

PETA, where are you?

On March 25, the Boston Globe carried an item about a golden Labrador named Rocco. He was bothering the neighbors in the town of Clinton, MA with his loud barking through the night. Because of their complaints, the town selectmen ordered that Rocco undergo a laryngectomy (removal of his vocal chords).
However, this angered the local animal rights' activists, who said Rocco did not deserve such inhumane treatment. Upon their flood of protests, the authorities rescinded their order and merely ordered Rocco to undergo voice training to moderate his bark.
If Terri Schiavo was a dog instead of a person, she wouldn't be starving to death right now.

That Good Friday Feeling

Every year I get that "Good Friday feeling." I mean the disconnect between what we celebrate as Christians and what goes on in the world. Although this year I went to the service in our chapel, in other years I've gone to the cathedral for the Good Friday services. The solemnity, the haunting beauty of the Lenten hymns, the reverence at the adoration of the cross--all this brings home the seriousness of the death of Christ and what it means for us. But then I step out of the church and drive home through a city that hardly knows what's happening. Life goes on as usual. Traffic, people walking, people working, in a city that doesn't sleep. God died for us. Today we remember it. But so many people don't even know.

It's the same feeling I had when my father died and when my brother died. After being present in the hospital when he left us, we went back out into a world in which business went on as usual. It's a disconnect. It feels strange. It's that "Good Friday feeling."