Brain-Damaged Woman Speaks After 20 Years

USA TODAY, Feb. 12 — A woman in Hutchinson, Kan., has spoken for the first time after being hit by a drunken driver in 1984, according to USA Today. Sarah Scantlin spoke to her mother by phone in early February.

For years, in spite of answering questions with blinks of the eyes, no one was sure she understood.  But apparently, she has picked up a lot from the television in her nursing home room. She knew what a CD is, for example.

This case could have implications for Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman who has been brain damaged since 1990. As the Register went to press, a court order to remove a feeding tube from Schiavo was expected to be enforced as early as Feb. 22. Her family insists she is not in a persistent vegetative state and can be rehabilitated.

Kinder, Gentler ‘Passion’ Due by Easter

MONSTERSANDCRITICS.COM, Feb. 10 — A slightly shorter and less graphically violent version of The Passion of the Christ will be released March 11, according to MonstersandCritics.com, a British website.

The idea of releasing a re-cut was to make the film available to those who avoided seeing it last year because of reports of excessive violence. The original movie was rated R and contained graphic scenes of the torture and death of Christ.

Variety, the entertainment industry newspaper, reported that the re-cut will be released on about 700 screens nationwide starting in March. The release could be an annual event, the website said.

Archbishop Places Interdict on Parish Board Members

ST LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, Feb. 11 — As a result of a dispute between the St. Louis Archdiocese and St. Stanislaus Kostka parish, Archbishop Raymond Burke has placed six parish board members under interdict, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  

Due to an agreement made more than a century ago, the parish board controls the church property, but the archdiocese is insisting that it should have control, as it does with other parishes. St. Stanislaus parishioners voted overwhelmingly last month against giving up control.

Interdict prohibits recipients from participating in the sacraments. Msgr. John B. Shamleffer, judicial vicar for the archdiocese, said the board members could appeal to the Vatican and the penalty would be lifted if they recanted, which would not have to be public. Shamleffer also said board members facing death could be granted the sacrament of the anointing of the sick.

Forced to Close Schools, Diocese Appoints Lay Boards

NEW YORK TIMES, Feb. 11 — One day after the Brooklyn, N.Y., Diocese announced the closing of 22 Catholic elementary schools, Bishop Nicholas A. Diarize announced that the diocese would transfer financial control of its struggling elementary schools from pastors and principals to lay boards, according to the New York Times.

Under a new plan, lay boards would create budgets and business plans and be responsible for personnel, including hiring and supervising teachers.  The boards would be composed of alumni and community and business leaders. 

“Our schools are good at the pastoral stuff, the educational stuff,” said Vicar of Education Msgr. Michael J. Hardiman. “We’re not good at business stuff in the main.”