Where Are the Catholic Priests, Pro-Life Group Wonders

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:05 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - The American Life League says now is the time for Roman Catholic priests -- especially Terri Schindler Schiavo's own bishop -- to offer prayers for Terri's safety.

"Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg and his brother bishops across Florida and the rest of the United States must not let Terri die a painful death while they quietly sit by and do nothing," said Judie Brown, president of American Life League.

Brown says every Catholic priest should be "preaching from the pulpits on why one can never remove food and water from a person whose death is not imminent."

Although Terri Schindler Schiavo is severely brain damaged, she breathes on her own. Videotape shot by her parents shows Terri propped up in her hospice bed, wide awake, and appearing to respond to her mother's attention.

However, at her husband's insistence, Terri's food and hydration tube will be removed on March 18, unless Florida Circuit Court Judge George Greer reverses his order.

Michael Schiavo insists that his wife told him long ago that she would not want to be kept alive artificially if it ever came to that. The courts have consistently sided with Michael Schiavo and against her parents, who want to keep her alive.

If Terri's feeding tube is removed, it might take several weeks for her to die from starvation and dehydration. Terri's family and supporters say it would be an excruciating and inexcusable way for anyone to die.

"We call on Catholics everywhere to pray for Terri and for the spiritual conversion of her husband, Michael," Brown said in a statement. "All Christians -- clergy and lay people alike -- must display true courage and stand against this injustice. Terri is not dead yet and we must do all we can to prevent that tragedy from occurring."

The American Life League says Catholic priests should be participating in public vigils and prayer services for Terri -- and pressuring public officials to do everything possible to protect a woman whose "basic civil rights are being tragically trampled upon."

The Florida Catholic Conference released a statement Feb. 28 stating its "continued concerns for Terri Schiavo," but Brown said that doesn't go far enough.

"To the best of our knowledge, there has been a tremendous lack of effort from the Florida Catholic Conference -- and in particular from Bishop Lynch, who is Terri's bishop -- to assist in this situation.

"Time is running out for Terri, but we encourage people not to give up hope," Brown said.

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