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Vatican calls for keeping Schiavo alive

The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano has criticised the removal of a feeding tube from a brain-damaged Florida woman, saying nobody can claim the right to decide whether a human being lives or dies.

"Who can, before God and humanity, pretend with impunity to claim such a right?" the paper said. "Who - and on the basis of which criteria - can establish to whom the 'privilege' to live should be given?"

The remarks from the Vatican paper, which reflected earlier comments from several Vatican officials, came after the US Congress passed a law in an emergency session giving Terri Schiavo's parents the right to file suit in federal court over the withdrawal of nourishment and medical treatment needed to sustain their daughter. President Bush has signed the bill.

"Who can judge the dignity and sacredness of the life of a human being, made in the image and likeness of God? Who can decide to pull the plug as if we were talking about a broken or out of order household appliance?" the paper said.

"In a Miami hospital there's a woman who is about to die from hunger and thirst. There is the slow dying of a person - not a 'vegetable' - which an impotent world is witnessing through TV and newspapers."

The 41-year-old woman's feeding tube was removed on Friday on a Florida judge's order. Schiavo could linger for one or two weeks if the tube is not reinserted - as has happened twice before, once on a judge's order and once after Gov. Jeb Bush signed "Terri's Law," which was later declared unconstitutional.

The Vatican paper said the case "is shaking America" but added that "in the ongoing debate, the lowest-level political controversy and the subtle game of legal tricks often end up prevailing."

Schiavo suffered severe brain damage 15 years ago. Her husband says Schiavo told him she would not want to be kept alive in a vegetative state. Her parents say she needs treatment and another opportunity for life.

Earlier this month, the Vatican's spokesman on bioethical issues, Monsignor Elio Sgreccia, said removing Schiavo's feeding tube would be a direct act of euthanasia and "a pitiless way to kill."

Vatican calls for keeping Schiavo alive (Associated Press/Seattle Post-Intelligencier 21/3/05)

Vatican bioethicist says patient's tube 'direct euthanasia (CathNews 14/3/05)

Vatican Calls for Keeping Schiavo Alive (Associated Press/Yahoo 21/3/05)
Congress acts in favor of Schiavo's life; feeding tube could be reinserted today (Catholic News Agency 21/3/05)
The fine line on humane life-support (Sydney Morning Herald 22/3/05)
A choice that is no choice at all (Sydney Morning Herald 22/3/05)
Faith Amid the Terri Schiavo Ordeal (Zenit 20/3/05)
Brain-Damaged Woman's Feeding Tube Removed (Associated Press/Beliefnet 18/3/05)
Judge rejects congressional action to save Schiavo's life (Catholic News Agency 18/3/05)
Schiavo's feeding tube removed, National Right to Life imploring congress to pass one bill (Catholic News Agency 18/3/05)
Terri's tube removed; judge ignores Congress (Catholic World News 18/3/05)
Judge Greer Ignores Congressional Subpoena - Schiavo's Feeding Tube Removed (LifeSite 18/3/05)
Schiavo's Feeding Tube Removed (Zenit 18/3/05)

22 Mar 2005