To this day, most Americans who remember the Terri Schiavo ordeal
that unfolded so publicly three years ago still don’t know the truth
about that whole case. Most think she was ‘brain dead’ or in a
‘persistent vegitative state’ (neither of which were true), that her
family should have just ‘let her go’ (she wasn’t going anywhere, she
only needed food and water, like us) and that that government had no
business intervening in ‘a private family matter’ (yes, they did,
because it was a precedent setting denial of constitutional due process
that resulted in her death).

The facts and the ongoing work of her legacy can be found here.

The Italian Terri Schiavo ordeal is ramping up even more at this
moment, and is now eerily similar to our national drama over this young
woman’s life and death. It falls under the heading of ‘the right-to-die’.

Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday affirmed the need to
protect life even while suffering, making a last-minute intervention as
Italy grapples with a fiercely debated right-to-die case.

Eluana Englaro, 38, has been in a vegetative state for 17 years
after a car crash. On Friday, after a decade-long court battle, her
nutrition began to be reduced in preparation for removing her feeding
tubes, which her father has said was her wish.

Which is opposite Terri’s case, in which her husband, who was living
with another women for years and fathered two children with her,
conveniently came up with Terri’s ‘wish’ to not be cared for in an
impaired state but to die instead…..and came up with that years after
she initially (and mysteriously) had oxygen cut off to her brain long
enough to become impaired.

But back to Eluana…

Benedict didn’t refer by name to Englaro in his message
Saturday for the annual World Day of the Sick. But the pope said he
wanted to reaffirm with vigor “the absolute and supreme dignity of
every human being” even when “weak and shrouded in the mystery of
suffering.”

In a bid to keep Englaro alive, Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s
center-right government passed an emergency decree Friday saying that
feeding and hydration cannot be suspended for patients who depend on it.

But in an unusual confrontation between Italy’s top officials,
President Giorgio Napolitano refused to sign the decree, saying it
defied court rulings that allowed Englaro’s feeding tubes to be removed
and violated the fundamental separation of executive and judicial
branches.

It is hotly political, which it was (and still is) here in the US as
well. But the issue of human dignity and the sanctity of life transcend
politics.

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, who heads the powerful Italian
bishops’ conference, said refusing food and water to Englaro was
nothing less than “homicide.”

“A light is going out, the light of a life,” he wrote in Saturday’s
edition of the bishops’ newspaper Avvenire. “And Italy is darker.”

It’s creeping across the world wherever the idea that hastening a person’s death is accepted as a ‘right’.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....