Terri Schiavo: A Living Sermon for Good Friday
My Brother Priests,
Many of us across the nation will make reference to Terri Schiavo in our
homilies today. Below are some talking points. I would also like you to know
that I have been granted permission by Bishop John Yanta (Bishop of Amarillo,
TX) to begin a Society of Apostolic Life for priests who want to devote
themselves exclusively to pro-life ministry. See more at www.priestsforlife.org.
Be assured of my prayers for a Happy Easter. -- Fr. Frank Pavone, National
Director, Priests for Life
1. Terri has no terminal illness and has not been in a coma.
I visited with Terri on two occasions, most recently just a few weeks
ago. Her eyes were open the whole time, looking and focusing on whoever was
talking to her, except for when I placed my hands on her and prayed aloud. As we
began the prayer she closed her eyes. When we finished, she opened them again. I
saw her smile, I saw her return her parents' kiss, I heard her trying to form
This case is not about the "right to die," because until she was deprived of
her simple feeding tube a week ago, she was not dying. She has no
terminal illness whatsoever, and has not been on any machines, respirators, or
2. Like Christ, she has been unjustly condemned to death by civil
This case is a perfect example of judicial tyrrany, in that both
state and federal courts have discarded the authority of the executive and
legislative branches of government. Worse, those other branches have reinforced
the notion that the Courts alone have the last word in these matters. They
do not. Lawmakers take an oath to uphold the Constitution, not the
courts' interpretation of it. Neither the Constitution nor our Founders give the
courts the last word.
3. Court decisions preventing Terri from being fed have no authority.
Exactly ten years ago today, Pope John Paul II issued the following
words in his document "The Gospel of Life": ' Laws which authorize and
promote …euthanasia are … completely lacking in authentic juridical validity. …A
civil law authorizing … euthanasia ceases by that very fact to be a true,
morally binding civil law' (#72). The courts have told Terri's loving
parents and siblings, who want to care for her for the rest of her life, that
they cannot even give her a cup of water as she starves to death. In fact, my
friend Eva Edl, a concentration camp survivor, tried the other day to bring
Terri a cup of water and was arrested for doing so. The Passion of Christ is
being lived out in Terri, and our faithfulness to Christ demands that we protect
her and all who are vulnerable, as she is.