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“To the House of the Life is an adventure with

many possible paths. Some lead to


Father”
fame, some to glory, others to

ordinary lives, but, in spite of our

positions in this world, all paths

lead to death. Lately, however,

certain events have changed the

way we, the people, perceive life

and death.
The deaths of both Terri

Schiavo on March 31, 2005, and

Pope John Paul II on April 2, 2005,

just two days later, offer two very

different views on this greatly

controversial topic, with the

former representing a view of life

to be ended if circumstances
Terri Schiavo as she lies in a
become too intense and the latter Permanent Vegetative State (PVS)

representing the view of life as a (Courtesy of BBC News)

gift from a Creator to be taken It’s hard to believe that a

away by that Creator at a given brain damaged woman could

time. There’s so much we can create such a social and political

learn on how we live and die in firestorm, yet the death of Terri

America by noting the Schiavo created an enormous

juxtaposition of these two deaths. controversy. Since the only thing

keeping her alive during her 15-

year coma was the inserted feeding

tube, the judicial system allowed

her husband to remove her means


of substance -- an act of mercy to person has significant brain

many, an act of murder to others damage, then that person cannot

("Terri Schiavo"). feel pain. However, many critics

Eventually, politicians got of this barbaric method reply that

involved, and the case went all the the afflicted person does indeed

way up to President George W. feel intense hunger pains (This can

Bush and the U.S. Supreme Court. be seen in the Massachusetts

When Terri’s parents were denied Supreme Court decision in the

their case by the Supreme Court, Brophy case of 1986.) ("Terri

they acknowledged that all their Schiavo"). Personally, I find it

legal options had been used. In the atrocious that if somebody treated

end, Terri’s family watched her a dog in this fashion, they would

endure an amazing 13 days be almost immediately jailed.

without food ("Terri Schiavo"). Even death row convicts are

However, the question is not afforded a quick and painless

dealing with the late Mrs. Schiavo, death, yet the law forces brain-

but with the ethics of euthanasia damaged persons endure the agony

and “dying with dignity.” of starvation, a death that can take

Supporters of the removal of up to two weeks to be effective.

feeding tubes argue that if the Nevertheless, families all across


our great nation every single day opponent of euthanasia, who was

choose this method to “cure” their well-known for his belief in the

“loved ones.” fact that the elderly and the infirm

can have meaningful lives, the

Pontiff had been suffering for

years due to the attempt on his life

and Parkinson’s disease. In fact,

up until, and even after, his death,

he was a shining example of living

a meaningful life: After being

hospitalized for a period (a

hospitalization that ended with a


The body of His Holiness, Pope John

Paul II being transported to St. tracheotomy), he still refused to


Peter’s Basilica to lie in repose. resign from the papacy ("Pope
(Courtesy of the San Diego Union
John Paul II").
Tribune)
When fever struck him, the
The tragic irony of this
Holy Father had medical
event lies not in the battle between
equipment and consultants placed
Terri’s “loving” husband and her
in his apartment located in Vatican
caring family, but in the death of
City, leading many to believe that
Pope John Paul II. A longtime
the Pope had chosen to die a her well-being in the hands of her

natural death (a fact confirmed husband, Michael.

soon after by the Vatican). Two Despite your opinions on the

days later, the leader of the Roman difficult topic of “mercy killing,”

Catholic Church cried out, “Let me we all want to know that our final

go to the house of the Father.” and wishes are done, whether they are

breathed his last ("Pope John Paul to live in a permanent vegetative

II"). state or to die before a permanent

Some people have vegetative state is possible. In this

wondered, “What is the difference land of the free and home of the

between the death of Terri Schiavo brave, do we have the right to

and John Paul II? They both died determine who lives and who dies?

due to the rejection of life Do we have that freedom? What

support.” That’s true, yet John can we do with people who do not

Paul II’s decision was made by a have living wills ready? What

person who was in full mental should we do with the souls crying

capacity and was able to make that “Let me go to the house of the

choice. When Mrs. Schiavo Father.”?

became incapacitated, she had no

legally valid living will, leaving


Gregory Marc Bentley

January 4, 2007
Source Page:
BBC News. US Brain-Damage Woman Gets Fluids. “Photo of Terri Schiavo”. 13 Jan

2007

<http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3212504.stm>

“Pope John Paul II." Wikipedia. 4 Jan 2007

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Paul_II.>

San Diego Union Tribune. The World Mourns Pope John Paul II Photo Gallery

“Photo of John Paul II”. 13 Jan 2007

<http://photos.signonsandiego.com/gallery1.5/slideshow.php?set_albumName=po

pe-john-paul>

"Terri Schiavo." Wikipedia. 4 Jan 2007 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terri_Schiavo>.