ST. PETERSBURG, March 2, 2005 ( – For some time now, pro-life Catholics fighting to save the life of Terri Schiavo, have been clamouring for a statement or intervention by the bishop of St. Petersburg Florida, Terri’s home diocese. Now that such a statement has finally been made, the same pro-lifers might well be wishing Bishop Robert N. Lynch had maintained his silence.

The Florida Catholic Bishops’ conference has stated plainly that Terri’s means of receiving food and water does not constitute ‘extraordinary’ means of preserving her life, and is a simple requirement of ordinary care. Bishop Lynch, a signatory to that statement,  has in a statement of his own, implied that Terri is at death’s door, and indicates that his only concern is the lack of “peace” between her estranged husband Michael Schiavo and her parents.

Bishop Lynch’s comments are bizarre and shocking given the fact that Michael Schiavo has abandoned his wife and has taken up an adulterous liaison with another woman with whom he has sired two children and has campaigned to end Terri’s life by starving her to death.

Bishop Lynch moves from the bizarre and shocking to the outrageous when he implies that this lack of “peace,” is the fault of her parents for being determined to save her life. “This (peace) will not happen in this instance because of the seeming intractability of both sides,” he writes. His statement amounts to an admonition to Terri’s parents to accept that she will die by starvation and to be reconciled with her would-be killer.  “Normally, at the end of life,” writes Lynch, “families of the person in extremis agree that it is time to allow the Lord to call a loved one to Himself, feeling that they have done all they possibly might to provide alternatives to death, every possible treatment protocol which might be helpful has been attempted.” Those who have followed Terri’s case will find this inexplicable since it is Michael Schiavo who has total control over Terri and has, against the pleadings of Terri’s parents, refused her any kind of rehabilitative therapy.  Lynch goes on to say that the decision to starve Terri to death is one that will be made by ‘a family’ which, incomprehensibly, he identifies as Michael Schiavo alone. He writes, “As I have said from the beginning of this sad situation, the decision will be made within a family.”

Then, in comments that seem calculated to outrage and injure Terri’s family, Bishop Lynch says, “I urge and pray that before the finality, one last effort be made for mediation.” Terri’s life is threatened by no pre-existing medical condition and the only reason for ‘finality’ is Michael Schiavo’s determination to create it.

Inexplicable also is the apparent unconcern of the Bishop for saving Terri’s life, an indifference that will outrage Catholics since he also took no action when Michael refused to allow Terri visits from a priest and to receive the sacraments. “The legacy of Terri’s situation should not be that of those who love her the most, loathing the actions of one another…but of a heroic moment of concern for the feelings of each other… with a single focus of achieving the best result for Terri.” Bishop Lynch, in spite of the evidence that Michael’s only interest is in seeing his wife die, declines to say what result would be “best.”“I beg and pray,” writes Lynch, “that both sides might step back a little and allow some mediation in these final hours.”

Contact Bishop Lynch:  P.O. Box 40200, St. Petersburg, FL   33743-0200 (727) 341-6830 [email protected]

Read Bishop Lynch’s statement:   New Florida Catholic Conference Statement   Read Crisis Magazine article on the history of Terri’s case:   See related coverage:  Florida Bishop’s Statement on Euthanasia-Starvation of Terri Schiavo Deplorably Weak