Appeal to the Holy Father on behalf of Terri Schiavo

Barbara Kralis
September 2004
Reproduced with Permission

(This letter to Pope John Paul II was written on behalf of a group of pro-life people nationwide, National Fight4Terri Volunteer Action Groups. Their Coordinator/Leader, Cheryl Ford, RN, can be reached at or contact Sheila Fogarty, Assistant, at The letter is a group effort of information and ideas. We encourage all to write Pope John Paul II, asking for his help in this more urgent issue of euthanasia. Thank you.)
His Holiness John Paul II
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City State

Your Holiness:

At this time, the State of Floridas Supreme Court is examining a crucial Euthanasia case. Ultimately, we all will be affected by the legislations outcome.

This vital case involves an attack upon a Catholic womans life. Her name is Terri Schiavo and she lives in Clearwater, Florida, in the diocese of St. Petersburg, USA.

Terri is not dying nor is she terminally ill. Neither is Terri in a persistent vegetative state according to two respected neurological and radiological specialists. Terri is clearly responsive and acutely joyful at the presence of her family whenever they are near her. Yet, she is in grave danger of starvation and dehydration simply because her husband wants her to die.

Because Terri was the victim of an unknown incident at home while alone with her husband, one that deprived her brain of oxygen for several minutes, she is today in a cognitively disabled state.

Terris husband/guardian, Michael Schiavo, has for the past several years gravely threatened her life. Michael has been living in adultery and begetting children with another woman and wishes to have the courts terminate his wifes hydration and nutrition.

Furthermore, each of the Florida states court decisions has supported the pro-death mentality of the husband.

It appears Terris life may soon end in an agonizing death of dehydration and starvation. Not surprisingly, our health care systems believe some people are a waste of health care dollars and are better off dead.

Terris parents have been barred from seeing their daughter numerous times. They are suffering great sadness knowing their vulnerable Terri suffers such ill treatment and they are not legally allowed to intervene. So intent is Michael on having Terri put to death, there is court ordered armed security guards monitoring her parents visits to ensure nothing helpful will allow Terri to recover.

At Michael Schiavos insistence, neither therapy nor useful stimulation has ever been administered to Terri. At Michaels insistence, there has been gross negligence of Terris basic hygiene. Her teeth are rotting out of her head.

When Michael realized that his wife could swallow soft foods, he ordered her not to be fed by mouth again, making Terri dependent on the feeding tube.

Last year, a lesser state court ruled that Terris water and feeding tube could be withdrawn. This, unfortunately, was the second attempt at euthanasic death. As Terri lay dying, her husband deprived her of receiving Our Lord in Extreme Unction.

On the sixth day of her painful dehydration and starvation, the good Catholic Governor of Florida, Governor Jeb Bush (the brother of President George W. Bush) had Terris hydration and nutrition restored through a legal maneuver. The pro-death Florida State Supreme Court is now determining the constitutionality of this legal maneuver.

Tens of thousands of letters, phone calls, and e-mails have been sent to Terris Bishop, Bishop Lynch of the St. Petersburg diocese, yet Terris Bishop does not teach as you teach.

Holy Father, your infallible statements on Euthanasia forbidding removal of nutrition and hydration are being ignored. Millions of Catholics are therefore perplexed as to what the Church really teaches.

Your Holiness, you have recently said that no one knows when a patient might be cured or fully awaken and the evaluation of the probability, founded on scarce hope of recovery after the vegetative state has lasted for more than a year, cannot ethically justify the abandonment or the interruption of minimal care for the patient, including food and water.

Please, Your Holiness, send a message to all Catholic clergy and laity in America. Implore your bishops to teach as you teach, that the removal of Terri Schiavos food and water is immoral and If this is knowingly and deliberately carried out, this would result in a true euthanasia by omission.

Please remind American Catholics of your own words, that providing food and water is morally obligatory and to withhold it is always a violation of Gods law.

We beseech you, Holy Father, to help us save Terri Schiavos precious life. Time is of the essence. Terri has only a short time left before her water and food are in all probability removed in a third attempt of euthanasia.

With humble appreciation we remain faithfully your servants, National Fight4Terri Volunteer Action Groups U.S.A.