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March 10, 2005

Cardinal Keeler Issues Statement on Fla. Schiavo Case; Stresses Church Teaching on Feeding, Hydration

Topics: News

Cardinal William H. Keeler, chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee for Pro-Life Activities, stressed Church teaching on nutrition and hydration in a March 9 statement.

His remarks followed a statement by the bishops of Florida who recently spoke out regarding the case of Terri Schiavo, a woman at the heart of a controversy over withholding nutrition and hydration from people with cognitive disabilities.

Cardinal Keeler's statement follows:

"The case of Terri Schindler Schiavo in Florida has focused national attention on the plight of patients diagnosed as being in a 'vegetative' state.

"In a speech last year, Pope John Paul II affirmed the inherent dignity of every human being: 'Even our brothers and sisters who find themselves in the clinical condition of a 'vegetative state',' he said, 'retain their human dignity in all its fullness.' They are not 'vegetables,' but fellow human beings in need of our love and care.

"The Holy Father added that these patients have 'the right to basic health care (nutrition, hydration, cleanliness, warmth, etc.).' He reminded us that providing water and food, even by artificial means, is 'morally obligatory, insofar as and until it is seen to have attained its proper finality, which in the present case consists in providing nourishment to the patient and alleviation of his suffering.'

"There are times when even such basic means may cease to be morally obligatory, because they have become useless or unduly burdensome for the patient. Deliberately to remove them in order to hasten a patient's death, however, would be a form of euthanasia, which is gravely wrong.

Thanks to reader Aliciaver

Posted by richard at March 10, 2005 8:15 PM

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