Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Schiavo and the Pope, some points of comparison

In all the brouhaha over the past 2-3 weeks regarding Terri Schiavo's final death and the death of the Pope, it is important to look at some of the contradictions that are not resolvable and to my mind, reflect rather badly on their protagonists.

First let's hear from the Pope, or his minions:

..."Even for people infected with AIDS or for those who want to use condoms to prevent AIDS," said John Paul 11 at the International Congress of Moral Theologians in Rome in 1988, "the Church's moral doctrine allows no exceptions."

Carlo Caffarra, the pope's spokesman for marriage and family issues, added that if an AIDS - infected husband couldn't manage to maintain "total abstinence" for the rest of his life, then it was better to infect his wife than to use a condom, "because the preservation of spiritual goods, such as the sacrament of marriage, is to be preferred to the good of life."...

Culture of Life

Second, let's hear it from the Schindlers, Terri Schiavo's parents:

..."Testimony provided by members of the Schindler family included very personal statements about their desire and intention to ensure that Theresa remain alive. Throughout the course of the litigation, deposition and trial testimony by members of the Schindler family voiced the disturbing belief that they would keep Theresa alive at any and all costs. Nearly gruesome examples were given, eliciting agreement by family members that in the event Theresa should contract diabetes and subsequent gangrene in each of her limbs, they would agree to amputate each limb, and would then, were she to be diagnosed with heart disease, perform open heart surgery. There was additional, difficult testimony that appeared to establish that despite the sad and undesirable condition of Theresa, the parents still derived joy from having her alive, even if Theresa might not be at all aware of her environment given the persistent vegetative state. Within the testimony, as part of the hypotheticals presented, Schindler family members stated that even if Theresa had told them of her intention to have artificial nutrition withdrawn, they would not do it. Throughout this painful and difficult trial, the family acknowledged that Theresa was in a diagnosed persistent vegetative state..."

Guardian Ad Litem's Report

And then we get into the intrusion of the legislative and executive branches of the federal government.

First, President Bush:

"Bush's brand of forthright tough-guy populism can be appealing, and it has played well in Texas. Yet occasionally there are flashes of meanness visible beneath it.

While driving back from the speech later that day, Bush mentions Karla Faye Tucker, a double murderer who was executed in Texas last year. In the weeks before the execution, Bush says, Bianca Jagger and a number of other protesters came to Austin to demand clemency for Tucker. 'Did you meet with any of them?' I ask.

Bush whips around and stares at me. 'No, I didn't meet with any of them,' he snaps, as though I've just asked the dumbest, most offensive question ever posed. 'I didn't meet with Larry King either when he came down for it. I watched his interview with [Tucker], though. He asked her real difficult questions, like 'What would you say to Governor Bush?' 'What was her answer?' I wonder.

'Please,' Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, 'don't kill me.'

I must look shocked -- ridiculing the pleas of a condemned prisoner who has since been executed seems odd and cruel, even for someone as militantly anticrime as Bush -- because he immediately stops smirking. "

From: "Devil May Care" by Tucker Carlson, Talk Magazine, September 1999, p. 106

Second, Senator John Cornyn of Texas:

"I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that's been on the news and I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in - engage in violence."


The Houston Chronicle describes the situation:

"...Republican leaders' frustration with the courts has flared with the U.S. Supreme Court's ban on execution of criminals who killed as juveniles and its refusal to intervene on behalf of Schiavo's parents, who sought to block removal of her feeding tube...."

Houston Chronicle

I'll leave Delay and Frist for later dissection. But you get the picture, I would hope. In this madhouse, no one is really in favor of life unless it feeds their own interests. No one. Including the Pope.