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Thank you Father Frank!!

Thursday, June 16, 2005
The following article/ letter was released by Fr. Frank Pavone from Priest's For Life concerning the autopsy results of Terri Schiavo and I thought it was important enough to post it here and hopefully bring more attention to this. Maybe if there is more exposure to the Culture of Life with prayer and fasting and action we can help stem the tide of death here in the US and throughout the world. There are several links to Priest's For Life provided on this blog and there are links in the text of this posting. You can go back to the weeks before her death on my archieve and find out just why this upset me personally so very much. Terri's death was a very personal pain for me as I thought of times after my accident and numerous surgeries when I could have easily ended up in a condition similar to her's. It was only through God's Mercy and the Blessed Virgin Mary's prayers that I am here today and through the intercession of many who prayed for me. Fr. Frank can speak much more eloquently than I and so I will close this note and post his article. A additional excellent resource is the blog Times Against Humanity which I really enjoy reading and has great resources- my thanks to the webmaster and author of the site! Amy Welborn also has great articles and postings and I would encourage you to visit her site also.
Omnia Pro Iesu Per Mariam!!

June 16, 2005

Atrophy of Compassion
Fr. Frank comments on Terri Schiavo autopsy

The autopsy of Terri Schiavo has been released to the public, bringing attention
once again to this sad and tragic case, and
reigniting so many of the debates surrounding her life and death. Does the
autopsy shed any light on this tragedy? Does it
change anything?

The autopsy, of course, is a medical document about Terri's physical condition.
It is filled with complicated medical terms and
statistics. In and of itself, it tells us simply the details found upon
examining Terri's body. An autopsy is not a crystal ball
either into the past or the future. Nor is it a moral evaluation of the worth of
a human life.

The big temptation is to stretch the autopsy beyond its purposes, and somehow
get it to do more than it can do. Some, indeed,
wonder whether this autopsy was, from the beginning, a political tool worked out
by the euthanasia advocates to advance their
agenda regarding Terri. Whether or not that is the case, the autopsy will
certainly be used by such advocates to further de-
humanize Terri and rob her of her claim to care and protection.

But let's presume that those who conducted this exam did so objectively and
honestly. What, then, do we learn?

For one thing, the autopsy shows that all the media reports that so confidently
asserted that Terri collapsed because of "an
eating disorder" or "a heart attack" should not have been so confident. In
short, the autopsy does not provide a basis for those
claims, and leaves the cause of her initial collapse in 1990 a mystery.

Was Michael Schiavo at all responsible for her collapse? The autopsy does not
answer that question. Perhaps Michael should.

What the exam does tell us, however, is that Terri died from dehydration. Of
course, we knew that already. She wasn't given
any water the last two weeks of her life, and we know why. Michael, and those
acting in concert with him, insisted on that and
got the courts to enforce their wishes. We don't know if Michael was responsible
for Terri's injury, but we do know he was
responsible for her death.

The autopsy goes on to say that Terri's brain was "profoundly atrophied," and
only half the normal size. Fine. If that's what
the experts tell us, there is no problem believing them. But what does that
mean, that she was only half-human, only half a
person, or that she had only half the rights that the rest of us have? That is
the conclusion that we must never accept. That is a
conclusion that does not come from an autopsy, but from a callous disregard for
human life.

Terri did not die from atrophy of the brain. She died from an atrophy of
compassion. Too many people, starting with Michael,
were unwilling to accept the fact that profoundly injured people require
profound compassion and care. Even if this autopsy
report showed that Terri was ten times more damaged than she was, our moral
obligation to respect and protect her life would
not change at all. We don't have to pass a test to qualify for our human rights.
An autopsy is a measure of physical damage, not
of human rights.

The autopsy says Terri was blind. That is not the morally relevant point. The
point is that we are blind...Blind all too often to
the fact that even the disabled and the severely injured have the same dignity
and worth as the rest of us, and show forth the
image and glory of God, even in their brokenness.

The autopsy says that Terri was beyond repair or rehabilitation. But that does
not mean we are supposed to throw her away,
like we throw away a car that is beyond repair. Again, there is no problem
accepting this medical conclusion. But morally
speaking, our compassion is not beyond repair. We can build a society that
respects and protects all our brothers and sisters,
recognizing that their value does not come from how well they function, perform,
or produce.

I will never forget my hours with Terri, both before and after her feeding tube
was removed. She responded to me, and she
responded to others who visited her. She laughed, she tried to speak, she
returned her parents' kisses, she followed us with her
eyes, she closed her eyes when I prayed with her and opened them when we were
finished. Medical examiners can offer their
conclusions because of what they saw, but none of that changes what we saw. But
both we and the medical examiners were
looking in from the outside. Any honest medical expert will admit that there is
so much about the human brain we still don't
know. What Terri experienced on the inside is a mystery that only she and God

The challenge at this moment is simply this. Whatever she experienced, to
whatever extent she was damaged, and even if she
were totally unresponsive, Terri was one of us. She was our sister, she was a
child of God, she was fully in possession of her
human rights, and nothing can ever justify what was done to her.

Terri Schiavo was murdered, because she was deprived of food and water. We've
done the examination on her body. Maybe
it's time for an examination of our souls.

Contact Priests for Life at PO Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314
Tel: 888-PFL-3448, 718-980-4400; Fax: 718-980-6515
email: mail@priestsforlife.org; web: www.priestsforlife.org
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