Killing Terri All Over Again
By: Deacon Keith Fournier
© Third Millennium, LLC
I was sickened by all the news reports concerning the autopsy of dear Terri Schiavo. I was repulsed by most of the "commentators"who attempted, in a smug and condescending manner, to try to use these results to not only justify but somehow commend her brutal murder. Terri was killed by dehydration with the full protection of the State, operating through a Judge who was committed to her death.
This autopsy changes nothing.
Let's take a moment and strip away all the nonsense. Terri's autopsy appears to have revealed (make no mistake, more "experts" will soon come out of the woodwork) that she was a severely brain injured woman who may have had visual impairment. Further, that she died by the dehydration caused by the intentional denial of water. Apparently, that also added to the shrinkage of her brain.
This is now being used to attempt to now support the indefensible -- her husband's denial of a cup of water to his thirsty wife to save her life. It is also being used in an attempt to vilify all those who tried to save Terri's life. Let's be brutally and painfully honest, Terri was killed. She was dehydrated and starved intentionally because someone else, backed by the unrestrained power of a willing "Caesar" behind their nefarious decision, decided that she was too much of a burden. Those who truly loved her had offered to care for her and to pay for that care. They were denied the right.
So, Terri was killed. God help all brain injured, blind or severely disabled people.God help us all.
Terri Schiavo is dead. Last I looked, we honored the dead. However, she is now being dishonored. This disabled woman was intentionally deprived of food and water, with the force of the raw power of government holding the hands of the executioners. She was killed deliberately, by starvation and dehydration. No Court, Legislative body or Chief Executive had the courage to stop this killing. She was deprived of her substantive due process rights by every branch of government.
Now, she is being killed again on our television screens.
Terri was not dying. She was not receiving any "extraordinary medical treatment." She was being fed and given water, as many disabled people are at this very moment, with assistance. She had trouble swallowing because she was disabled by injury to her brain. She would have lived for many, many years, bringing great joy to her family and changing the world. But now she is dead; killed by the complete abject failure of a system that has lost its soul.
The Greek word for "witness" is "martyrion". In our use of the word over all these centuries of Christian history, we have emphasized those who shed their blood for the faith. However, there is also a tradition of "white martyrs", those who live sacrificial lives that change the world. That is what Terri did. None of us will forget her smile. We all adopted her beautiful family. We will continue to mourn her loss and share, at least a little, in their deep and lasting pain. We are still completely outraged at the sheer evil of this killing.
Terri Schiavo had her life taken away by the enforcers of those who want to build a New Rome. Remember, the old Rome also had an elaborate system of courts and a highly developed legislative system. It prided itself on its culture, its arts and its claims to "civilization." Yet, it legally sanctioned horrors such as the practice of exposure, where children, the disabled and other "unwanted" persons were left on rocks to die by exposure to the elements or to be killed by hostile passers by.
We now do the same.
That is what was done to Terri. She was killed by dehydration. Oh, I know, she was not left on a rock. Instead, she was starved and dehydrated in a room in a place that purported to be a health care facility, where she was also denied the presence of her family.
God help us all.
The killing of Terri Schindler will mark a turning point in American history. Terri was killed while "the law" was unwilling to intervene. Her death stripped away the veneer of civility painted on the face of the current culture of death. It was a diabolical event, plain and simple.
The rejection of the inherent value of every human life as a foundation of our whole understanding of ordered liberty is a clear and present danger. We face a serious risk to both life and liberty when reference to the truth is removed as the measuring stick for our behavior. Authentic freedom has been replaced by a counterfeit. The very foundation of decency is shaken.
To honor Terri, we who mourn her loss must dedicate ourselves to the long term work of building a new society, a culture of life and civilization of love, where the dignity of every human life is the polestar of all public policy; marriage and family will be protected as the first mediating institution and defended against those who aim to replace and eradicate them; where authentic freedom will be exercised in reference to truth and within a moral constitution, and our obligations in solidarity to one another, and most especially those who have no voice, will be upheld by elected and unelected public servants.
With all the talk of the "religious influence" in America, the killing of Terri Schiavo revealed the lack of a national soul. Terri was killed in a manner reminiscent of past evil regimes. I am reminded of the old adage attributed to the English Philosopher Alisdair Macintyre who, commenting on the decay in English society, once said "The Creed of the English is that there is no God but it is proper to pray to him once in a while." Without reference to the Source of unalienable rights, the One who placed the hunger for true justice within every human heart, we have become unmoored as a Nation.
Terrible injustices sometimes mark turning points in the political history of Nations. I pray that Terri's death becomes such an event; an impetus for a new coalition for life, family, freedom and solidarity. If it does, Terri's martyrdom will not have been in vain.
The results of this autopsy change nothing. In fact, their mis-use now, by some in the media who want to try to justify this evil act, simply have the effect of killing Terri all over again.
Deacon Keith Fournier is a deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia. He is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University and the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Law. A human rights lawyer, Deacon Fournier is the Senior Editor of Catholic Online and a contributing editor of Traditional Catholic Reflections and Reports.
Third Millennium, LLC
http://www.catholic.org VA, US
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