WASHINGTON – The leader of the Archdiocese of Washington says it was wrong to remove Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick says once the tube was inserted, its removal to allow her to die constitutes euthanasia or mercy killing.
Appearing on A-B-C’s "This Week," McCarrick says discussions about Schiavo’s situation are good, but that life and death are complicated matters.
McCarrick says under Catholic doctrine, one cannot take a life. But he also says it would have been good for people to know what Schiavo’s wishes were before her illness. [Source]
Usually the guys in white hats or in this case purple mitres arrive on the scene just in time to save the heroine. Speaking on this subject 9 days after her feeding tube was removed is not exactly timely. If this representation of what the Cardinal said is accurate I do wonder how morally it would make a difference to have known her wishes before hand. If this was truly her wishes then the morality would have moved from murder to assisted suicide. As if a suicide note in the form of a living will is sufficient reason to withold food and water from somebody whose body can easily accept it with no harm.
I also wonder that if we can withold food and water why not air. Oxygen is normal life support for us the same as food and water. Death by asphyxiation would be faster than the body slowly shutting down, going into seizures, and the agonizing death by dehydration. If we don’t have to err on the side of life, then why air on the side of life?
Update: The Fact Is has a fuller transcript of the Cardinal’s appearance. Justin Torres also asks the same questions that I did as to the question about the relevance of Terri’s wishes.