With all due respect, it's very difficult to make sense of Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg's recent statement on efforts to end Terri Schiavo's life by starving her (commented on by Carl Olson below). He urges, not that those seeking to euthanatize Terri reconsider but that both those seeking to kill Terri and her parents who seek to care for her, talk things out so that there can be peace between the two sides as Terri Schiavo is killed. That's tanatamount to telling Terri's parents to give up and let the other side kill their daughter without opposition.
Meanwhile, the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops urges that "Mrs. Schiavo continues to receive all treatments and care that will be of benefit to her," including food and water. Among the signers of the statement is ... Bishop Lynch of St. Petersburg. Yes, the same man who criticizes the "intractability of both sides," which of course includes the "side" trying to prevent Terri being killed by starvation.
Bishop Lynch writes, "Normally, at the end of life, families of the person in extremis agree that it is time to allow the Lord to call a loved one to Himself, feeling that they have done all they possibly might to provide alternatives to death, every possible treatment protocol which might be helpful has been attempted. There is a peace. This will not happen in this instance because of the seeming intractability of both sides."
But of course Terri Schiavo is not dying, so it is not clear what Bishop Lynch is talking about. "Normally, at the end of life," he writes, "families of the person in extremis agree that it is time to allow the Lord to call a loved one to Himself." Terri Schiavo isn't "at the end of her life" and won't be soon, unless those who want to starve her are allowed to do so. Why is Bishop Lynch talking about "allow[ing] the Lord to call a loved one to Himself", when Terri Schiavo isn't dying?
Bishop Lynch goes on to talk about family members coming to feel "that they have done all they possibly might to provide alternatives to death, every possible treatment protocol which might be helpful has been attempted." It is not clear why Bishop Lynch brings this up since this isn't a situation of examining alternate treatments to prevent death. It's a matter of whether or not people will be allowed to starve Terri Schiavo to death--deliberately to deprive her of food and water in order to bring about her death. It's a matter of whether or not her parents want actively to continue to oppose the intentional killing through starvation of their daughter.
Whatever the intentions of Michael Schiavo, Terri Schiavo's parents think that their daughter is going to be deliberately starved to death. They believe that she is entitled to food and water and basic care. They want to see that she get those things They are right and the teaching of the Catholic Church agrees with them. The teaching of the Church, as articulated by the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops, requires a Catholic to see that the planned course of action with respect to Terris Schiavo entails deliberately starving her to death when she is entitled to food and water and basic care.
So, we're led to ask once again, what Bishop Lynch is talking about when he implies that Terri Schiavo's parents' "seeming intractability" is preventing them from coming to the peaceful conclusion that "the Lord is calling" Terri Schiavo to himself and that they, her parents, have "done all they possibly might to provide alternatives to death, every possible treatment protocol which might be helpful has been attempted"?
If a daughter were dying of cancer, her parents might consider all reasonable treatments and possibly some unreasonable ones. Having tried treaments A, B, C, and D, they might conclude that they've done all they can, as Bishop Lynch says. But Terri Schiavo is not slated to die from some disease or even from brain damage; she is slated to die from intentional starvation. How can Bishop Lynch suggest, as he seems to, that Terri Schiavo's parents simply accept that? Why does he think that giving in to the deliberate starvation of their child will bring them "peace"?
No doubt contrary to his intention, Bishop Lynch's recent statement seems only to have muddled the situation and left many people wondering what, exactly, he is trying to do.