Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life Statement on Terri Schiavo's Death
NEW YORK, April 5 /U.S. Newswire/ -- In response to the criticism some have voiced to his statements that Terri Schiavo's death was a murder, Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, issued the following statement this morning:
"Terri Schiavo was in fact murdered by being deprived of food and water for 13 days. The reason Michael Schiavo's attorney George Felos was so upset that I said this is because he is a euthanasia advocate, and the only way to advance euthanasia is to sugar-coat it, and never call it murder. But it is. Moreover, it is inaccurate to describe Terri Schiavo's death as peaceful and gentle. I was with her for several hours the night before she died and again the next morning up until ten minutes before she died. She was in an agony unlike anything I have ever seen, and to describe it in any other way is irresponsible and dishonest.
"As for Mr. Felos' plea that I speak words of compassion and reconciliation, I have indeed done so publicly over recent months. But compassion does not mean compromising the truth, and reconciliation is possible only when one repents of doing evil acts like killing. The role of a priest, moreover, is not simply to make people feel good, but to denounce injustice and proclaim truth, no matter how discomforting it may be."
I met Pavone while I was in Florida. I am so thrilled that he made this statement. There are two points he made that I would like to comment on.
(1) Yes, the Bible talks about forgiveness. I have never been to seminary, but I will share MY understanding of forgiveness. Keep in mind- I get my understanding from years of LEARNING from OTHERS who know MUCH more than I. Forgiveness has truly two different facets. First, we need to forgive others because if we do not, it hurts US, not them. I can sit around refusing to forgive someone, but the anger I hold affects MY life, not theirs. There is also the notion of "church" forgiveness. Let's say a member of the church commits a terrible act that hurts other members. If this person actively pursues forgiveness, and bears FRUIT of true repentance, forgiveness should be freely and without ANY strings attached. HOWEVER, if this person sits back blaming others for their actions, and /or starts the whole- "If you are a Christian, you need to forgive me," this is not repentance.
(2) Felos came out on the Saturday before Terri died, and told us how BEAUTIFUL and PEACEFUL she looked. In fact, he shared that she was the MOST BEAUTIFUL and PEACEFUL that he had EVER SEEN HER! I mean, do you really BELIEVE THIS? DO YOU? THINK about it. When do you think YOU would look your best? In ANY condition...take ANY scenario, ANY situation, and imagine how you look. NOW, imagine yourself EXACTLY like that, only factor in that you have had NO food or water in EIGHT DAYS! What a BEAUTIFUL AND PEACEFUL PICTURE! Aren't ya just GLOWING?
The word euthanasia has a Greek origin meaning "good death," with a history of being considered merciful. But it is a CAUSED death, not a NATURAL death. We can argue all day about weather it is right or wrong, but the bottom line is that it is CAUSED, not NATURAL.