Fr. Pavone, Schindler Family Fighting to Save Baby Joseph from Death Mandate

Jennifer Hartline

Document Publication: Catholic Online

February 28, 2011

Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life and the family of Terri Schiavo have come to Baby Joseph's defense, hoping to save him from a death mandate.  Fr. Pavone said from "If I have to fly from Rome to Canada to get Baby Joseph out of the hospital and back home where he belongs, I am ready to do that right now."

WASHINGTON, D.C.(Catholic Online) - Baby Joseph has some forceful new advocates.  Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life and the family of Terri Schiavo have come to little Joseph's defense this week, hoping to save him from a death mandate.

Fr. Pavone announced that Priests for Life is prepared to pay all expenses to bring Baby Joseph and his family to a hospital in the United States that would be willing to perform the tracheotomy the parents requested so they could take their son home.  Fr. Pavone said from the Vatican where he's been attending meetings, "If I have to fly from Rome to Canada to get Baby Joseph out of the hospital and back home where he belongs, I am ready to do that right now."

"The parents of this precious boy are asking only to be allowed to bring Baby Joseph home, where he can die surrounded by those who love him.  It's beyond imagination that they would have to ask.  This is not an issue that belongs in the court, or in the hands of his doctors.  This is their son; he needs to be home with his family."

"This couple lost a child to this same disease eight years ago so they know exactly what they are dealing with, and what to expect as Baby Joseph reaches the end of his life.  The small comfort they could take from Zina's death was to know she died in peace surrounded by those whose lives she had touched in her own short life.  They want the same for Baby Joseph."

The family of Terri Schiavo have also been outspoken this week in their support of Baby Joseph and his parents.  Fr. Pavone was with the Schindler family in the last hours of Terri's life as she died from court-ordered dehydration and starvation after her estranged husband fought in court to force Terri's death by depriving her of food and water, despite the Schindler's pleas to be allowed to care for her.

The Schindlers are urging the Ontario hospital not to commit the same evil against Baby Joseph.  Suzanne Vitadamo, Terri's sister, told, "The Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network stands with the family of Baby Joseph Maraachli.  It is unacceptable for Canadian Health Allocation Officials and/or the Canadian government to make decisions for baby Joseph and his family.  Every patient, regardless of age, has a right to proper and dignified health care.  It is frightening to once again see government usurp the God-given rights of parents to love and care for their child at home, especially when the child is dying."

Last week when I'd written the first story about Baby Joseph for Catholic Online, my oldest daughter saw the headline on the site and began asking me about it. I carefully explained the story to her in the least frightening way I could think of, but I couldn't spare her from the harsh reality that this little baby was probably going to die the next morning (the Monday his breathing tube was ordered to be removed).  She was horrified and so confused about why grown-ups would do something like that to a baby.

"Aren't the doctors supposed to help him?  Why would they want to make sure he dies?  That's just wrong!"  Tears running down her face, she said, "I'm so sad for him, Momma.  It's just so wrong!  I wish I could fire all those doctors!"

It wasn't hard to agree with her on that one.  It was a chance to talk with her about the fact that many times grown-ups make very bad decisions and do terrible things that are evil.  But we must not be afraid to defend what is right and we must live our lives being faithful to Jesus and His Church.  We said special prayers for Baby Joseph that night, and in the morning I was delighted to tell her that Baby Joseph was not going to die that day, and some doctors in the United States might be able to help him.  It was a much-needed lift to a little girl's downcast heart, and we both celebrated and thanked the Lord for hearing our pleas. 

I didn't have the heart to tell her later on that things had taken another wrong turn for Joseph and his life is once again being threatened by the grown-ups who are supposed to be caring for him.

Now I can tell her that some very wonderful, faithful people are doing everything they possibly can to rescue Baby Joseph from this death mandate.  I'll tell her about the courageous and generous priest who is offering to help get Joseph the help he needs, but more importantly, is using his voice to speak out against the evil of ordering a baby's death.

Thank you, Fr. Pavone, and God bless you.  Thank you, Schindler family, for reaching out to the Maraachli's.   America must never forget what happened to Terri, and now we must act to prevent the same evil from being done to this small child.  We must all continue to pray and speak up for Baby Joseph and his parents.  This terrible fight is not over.  It shouldn't be happening at all.  It's not easy to explain to my daughter how something so obviously wrong can be done to a helpless child by adults who are supposed to know better.

The irony is that children can see the culture of death plainly for what it is, yet it is our children we are destroying as we cultivate the culture of death.  It used to be that a society sacrificed for its children; now we hand over our children as sacrifices to our convenience, our greed, our autonomy, our desires, our "choices."

Please keep this precious family in your prayers.  Pray that God will open eyes and soften hearts.  You can visit Priests for Life and make a donation to help Fr. Pavone bring Baby Joseph to the U.S.   Let's pray that there's a hospital here that will agree to help this child and his parents.  And continue to contact the hospital and Canadian authorities and plead with them not to do this unspeakable wrong.

There are reports that the Ontario hospital has been receiving threats against its physicians and staff.  That has to stop.  If you contact the hospital or any Canadian authorities, your communication must be respectful and non-threatening. Violence is not the answer.  Prayer and courage are.  Speak up, please, but do it right.

Priests for Life
PO Box 236695 • Cocoa, FL 32923
Tel. 321-500-1000, Toll Free 888-735-3448 • Email: