Terri and John Paul

Regarding “Terri’s Last Meal” (April 3- 9):

I watched helplessly as Terri Schiavo was slowly being killed and I could not help but think of the Blessed Mother as she heroically stood, equally helpless, at the foot of the cross. Her courage gave me the faith to believe that Jesus chose Terri Schiavo to be a co-martyr in this fight for the culture of life.

The story of Terri so perfectly mirrors the story of the Crucifixion. Terri, like Jesus, was condemned to death by the judicial system. She was betrayed by someone she dearly loved, like Jesus was.

Like Jesus, Terri had her mother and a loving crowd of supporters around her who could not do anything to save her. Like Jesus, she was innocent. She was executed because she was disabled and those who loved her bravely declared that she had rights. Jesus was executed because he was perceived as merely human and his declaration that he was the Son of God was preposterous to a disbelieving public. Both of those notions — the rights of people with disabilities and Jesus’ divinity — are notions this society cannot seem to grasp.

But as Christians — as disabled Christians — because we have faith, we believe that Terri’s story, like that of Jesus, does not end in her death. The glorious ending to this story is the story of the Resurrection.

I think it particularly significant that Terri died in the same week as the Holy Father and I can see her as being part of the Pope’s heavenly welcoming party.


Los Angeles

Terri’s Testimony

Regarding “Terri’s Last Meal” (April 3-9):

Terri Schiavo died a most gruesome, horrible death. Judge George Greer sentenced her to death March 18 when he ordered her feeding tube removed and denied her the basic right of receiving food and water orally. She suffered death by starvation and dehydration with an armed gunman next to her; his sole purpose was to prevent Terri from receiving food and water orally. Three children and an old man were arrested and taken away in handcuffs because they tried to bring a cup of water to Terri.

How can America have come to stoop so low?

Terri’s father, Bob Schindler, was right when he claimed that the judiciary has flexed its muscles and shown America who’s boss.

Michael Schiavo and his attorney, George Felos, claimed that they wanted to fulfill Terri’s wishes. They claim Terri had expressed a desire not to be kept alive by artificial means — but in 1990, when Terri became disabled, “artificial” meant a heart and lung machine. It was not until 1998 that the medical terminology changed to include a feeding tube. So even if Terri had expressed such a wish (and there are no witnesses, yet much contradiction, to this comment) she could not possibly have contemplated that “artificial” would one day mean food and water.

George Felos seems to have an infatuation with death. He described Terri, as she slowly starved to death, as peaceful, at rest and never looking more beautiful. He described her room with “Claire de la Lune” playing, flowers in abundance and a stuffed animal — a tabby cat — under her arm.

Does this sound a bit Soylent Green-ish to anyone?

I can only imagine how Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and all great Americans who fought and died for civil rights must be squirming in their graves right now.

Fiona Swiney

Danville, Pennsylvania

No Mandatum, No Money

Regarding the mandatum investigative series:

Every year since graduating more than 40 years ago, I have contributed to Bellarmine College (now Bellarmine University) in Louisville, Ky. Last year was the first that I did not, and it was solely because Bellarmine does not have the mandatum. I loved Bellarmine and have always appreciated my education there, but this is a matter of conscience with me.

In answer to my question on this, University President Joseph McGowan advised that it was a private matter between the archbishop of Louisville and Bellarmine’s faculty. This answer was unsatisfactory. So, instead, I contributed to Ave Maria University, which unabashedly proclaims support for and adherence to Church teaching.

Thanks for reporting on this and keep up the good work informing the Catholic faithful about which colleges and universities deserve support. Let’s hope that Bellarmine and others will take the mandates of the Church magisterium seriously and follow the 14 schools at ncregister.com/features/mandatum.htm.

John F. “Jack” McGrath
Beverly Hills, Michigan

The Full View of JPII

The media’s portrayal of John Paul II as a political figure reflects an impoverished view of both the man and the office he held.

 The international range of his interests, his influence and his achievements cannot be denied, nor should they be. However, the emphasis on his political and diplomatic role only makes it easy for us to lose sight of the fact that the papacy is first and foremost a spiritual office — one that John Paul II fulfilled to a heroic degree.

What made John Paul II great was the fact that he made full use of the gifts with which he was so richly endowed: his unshakeable faith, his towering intellect, his astute diplomacy, even his charisma and personal charm.

Any efforts he made in the political sphere were simply a manifestation of deeper convictions: that God is our Father, that all men are brothers, that life is sacred and each person worthy of respect.

Inspiration from the life of the late Holy Father should lead us not only to make glowing tributes in his honor, it should also make us think more deeply about our own faith, our own talents and abilities, and our own efforts to transform this world to the world of peace and joy that John Paul II spent his life trying to achieve.

Victor and Maria Olaguera
Aldergrove, British Columbia

Evidence of Providence

In reflecting on the death of Pope John Paul II, it dawned on me that, in death, he has taught me a very great and wonderful lesson — how to die with true dignity and courage. Though I never met or even saw John Paul II in person, during the past 26 years I came to love and adore him because his love and faith in God helped me in my journey of faith.

In celebrating the life of John Paul II, it is absolutely wonderful how many millions of lives he touched and what a truly good and decent man he was — a man of God. The world is a better place because of John Paul II.

Michael McCafferty
Regina, Saskatchewan

He Went Out Teaching

I always admired, respected and followed Pope John Paul II. However, I never fully realized who he was until he showed himself, so bravely, in his dying. Now I feel I really know him and love him.

I wonder: Did I miss something before? Did he teach me something more vivid about Jesus in his dying? What a loving and wonderful parting gift.

 Vince DePalma

University Place, Washington

 Model Disciple

Many images of Pope John Paul II have been shown on TV, with millions of people rushing into St. Peter’s getting their firsthand glimpse. Most of the people in this country recognize the John Paul II was a good man, and even a great man. Why is it that people across all demographics celebrate the life of the humble Pole?

The Pope, unlike many leaders, was aggressive in living the Gospels. He stood for something very concrete; he shared his love of Jesus Christ with humanity. As the only pope that I have ever known, I am glad for a man who loved humanity so thoroughly and showed that to the world. His robust and logical teachings are rare in leaders today.

Not only did he present us a case for the Gospels, but he also presented these truths in a manner that made sense. Most of what he presented was on the notion of a “culture of life,” and it seems that he was very specific about what he meant by this.

Furthermore, it is through the Gospel and prayer that we come to understand the conversion that God calls us to. Pope John Paul II exemplified what Christians’ engagement with the world should be.

Ryan Davis

Bozeman, Montana

Fool’s ‘Fact-based’ Fiction

Regarding “Cardinal Bertone Targets Da Vinci Code ‘Lies’: (April 3-9):

I am very perplexed by the article where Cardinal Bertone hosted a seminar to refute the ideas in this book. To begin with, a novel is, by definition, fiction. The cardinal called this book a “castle of lies.” He also mentioned that the statements in the book are shameful and unfounded. Sure they are. They are fiction. All works of fiction are lies. They are meant to entertain, not inform.

How does one refute fiction? The book in no way proposes to be fact. Yet our Church leaders react as if it were true. The more the Church tries to condemn this book, the more people will think that there are truths in it.

There is no more truth in this book than there is in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade — or is there?

Kenneth Henderson

Brimfield, Massachusetts


Editor’s Note: The author of the book, Dan Brown, claims many of his ideas are factually correct and the result of scholarly research. If you don’t think many people are being hoodwinked by his sleight of hand (including countless poorly formed Catholics), check out the reader reviews at Amazon.com. Meanwhile, for an in-depth analysis of each of his claims, read The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius, 2004) by Register columnist Carl E. Olson and Sandra Miesel.

Bishop Bruskewitz’ Bravery

Regarding “Vatican Upholds Excommunications” (March 27-April 2):

I would like to say thank you to Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz for standing up for the true Church of Jesus Christ. May you be an example for all the bishops and archbishops throughout our country to do the same.

Thank you, also, to the Register for publicizing these articles, which help to bolster the courage of the faithful Roman Catholics in the pews. God bless all!

Rita L. Clasby

Plympton, Massachusetts