We Appeal to the Holy Father to Save Terri's Life
His Excellency, Most Reverend Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz,
November 2, 2004
His Holiness Pope John Paul II
Dear Holy Father:
With gratitude and love we address you as our dear spiritual
father. Thank you for your eloquent defense of our faith. We pray for
your continued strength to carry the heavy burdens of your office.
We write today to beg you to intercede by
name for one of your littlest lambs, Terri Schindler Schiavo,
who is in danger of euthanasia. Terri
collapsed in 1990 under suspicious circumstances. Brain-damaged from lack of oxygen, she does not communicate
verbally, but is very responsive to her parents and often smiles and
laughs. Terri receives nourishment from a simple feeding tube. She is
not sick or dying.
Terri’s legal guardian, her husband Michael Schiavo, has denied her even the simplest rehabilitation for years. Despite receiving a million dollars from a malpractice suit earmarked for Terri’s therapy, Michael has used the money instead to seek her death. Most has gone to pay legal fees to secure rulings which led to Terri’s feeding tube being removed twice.
Your Holiness, Terri continues to be in peril.
An emergency law passed by the Florida legislature last year and
signed by Governor Jeb Bush, which forbids the deliberate killing of
those with no advanced medical directives, was found unconstitutional
recently by the Supreme Court of Florida.
A local judge, George Greer, also refused to hear arguments about
Terri’s Catholic beliefs, beliefs you have so eloquently defended –
that hydration and nutrition, even medically assisted, are ordinary
means of care and may not be withheld to hasten death.
We beg for your help, Holy Father.
Although Judge Greer has extended a temporary stay while
Terri’s parents challenge his ruling, Michael Schiavo retains
guardianship. He continues to forbid Terri to leave her room or receive
therapy. He limits visitors and, at one point, falsely accused her
parents of injuring her. The
criminal justice system spent nearly two months investigating while
Terri’s parents were denied visits.
The same system has never investigated injuries revealed by a
1991 bone scan that showed Terri could have been the victim of spousal
abuse. Michael himself is in grave spiritual danger.
He lives with another woman who has born him two children, but
despite this clear conflict of interest, he refuses to relinquish
guardianship to Terri’s parents.
Please, Holy Father, you are the true voice of authority to the
world. We are on the
threshold of a euthanasia holocaust against vulnerable persons like
Terri. We need a Solomon to
unmask the false guardians who want to kill versus the true guardians
who love and care. Your Holiness, please be Solomon for Terri.
Ask America to defend life as you did in Denver in 1993. We have
been moved in the past by your eloquent pleas by
name for prisoners on death row.
Terri has committed no crime.
She is an innocent lamb who depends on our help. Please plead for
her by name.
Ask that her parents be named her guardians so she can get the
therapy and care she needs. As long as Michael retains control over
Terri, she is a prisoner of his malice and her life continues to be in
danger. When you speak for Terri you will be speaking for many who lie
in beds at home or in nursing facilities trusting in the unconditional
love of their caregivers.
As members of the Catholic Media Coalition, each of us is working
to defend and restore the faith in our local dioceses through
apologetics and catechesis. We
are also dedicated to defending life at all stages from conception to
Thank you, Holy Father, for your prayers and sacrifice. We recall with great affection your visits to the United States when we chanted, “John Paul II, we love you!” Please help Terri.
& Mrs. Geoffrey H. Parker
James S. Fritz