Tags: Vatican | Denounces | Terri's | Death

Vatican Denounces Terri's Death

Thursday, 31 March 2005 12:00 AM

Cardinal Renato Martino, a top Vatican official, said Schiavo's death was a "human tragedy, but also an ethical, juridical and cultural tragedy." Speaking to reporters, he likened her loss of life in a hospice in Florida to a "death sentence executed through a cruel method."

"We are against the death penalty, and that was practically a death penalty that was inflicted on her," Martino said. "That was not a natural death. It was an imposed death."

"When you deprive somebody of food and water, what else is it? Nothing else but murder," Martino said, adding that he was speaking on the case "according to the teaching of the pope."

Before the Vatican statement Thursday, the Holy See had left comment in the hands of Martino, who heads the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and other prominent church officials to oppose the removal of the feeding tube. The Vatican doesn't usually weigh in on individual cases, but the campaign by the various churchmen underscored the importance the Holy See attached to the legal battles to try to save Schiavo.

"One hopes that from this dramatic experience there matures in public opinion a greater awareness of human dignity, and that it brings greater protection for life even at the legal level," Navarro-Valls said Thursday.

Speaking of Schiavo, another leading Vatican official, Portuguese Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, said "an attack against life is an attack against God, who is the author of life."

The cardinal, who heads the Vatican office on sainthood, said the ailing Pope Paul II "teaches us not only with his suffering, but also with his teaching the great respect for life. Life is the most precious thing we have."

Martino, when asked who should be held responsible for Schiavo's death, replied: "the judges, her husband, whoever denied access" to feeding. The cardinal had previously appealed for Schiavo to remain on the feeding tube, which was removed by court order March 18.

Schiavo suffered severe brain damage 15 years ago. Her husband said Schiavo told him she would not want to be kept alive in a vegetative state, and insisted he was carrying out her wishes by having the tube pulled. Her parents said she needed treatment and another opportunity for life.

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Cardinal Renato Martino, a top Vatican official, said Schiavo's death was a "human tragedy, but also an ethical, juridical and cultural tragedy." Speaking to reporters, he likened her loss of life in a hospice in Florida to a "death sentence executed through a cruel...
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2005-00-31
Thursday, 31 March 2005 12:00 AM
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