by Steven Ertelt
March 26, 2005
Pinellas Park, FL (LifeNews.com) — With Easter on Sunday and Terri Shaivo’s life hanging in the balance, her parents say that Terri should be able to receive communion. The Schindler family are active Catholics and Terri went to Catholic schools while growing up.
Paul O’Donnell, a Franciscan monk who is helping the Schindler family, says Bob and Mary Schindler want her estranged husband Michael to authorize Terri to have communion.
The decision is important to Terri’s family as it could be the last time she has communion before she dies.
No one knows if Terri could swallow the communion bread and wine because Michael has not allowed doctors to conduct swallowing tests to determine whether Terri could eat or drink on her own.
Even if she can’t eat or drink, a very tiny morsel of bread and a drop of wine would be placed on her tongue during the ceremony, O’Donnell told the Associated Press.
During the long legal battle, Michael has consistently forbidden Terri to practice her faith and has prohibited a family priest, Monsignor Thaddeus Malanowski, from administering the Christian sacrament. Terri has also been prohibited by from attending Mass.
At times when Michael has denied the Schindlers visitation rights, that has included Malanowski.
In October 2003, when Terri’s feeding tube was removed for the second time, Michael prohibited Malanowski form giving Terri a final communion.
At the time, Michael’s lawyer Deborah Bushnell told Terri’s family, ”because of court order and doctor’s orders, you can’t put anything in her mouth."
Bushnell said the religious celebration would violate doctors orders that nothing be placed in Terri’s mouth to prevent her from choking while she is being starved and dehydrated to death.
At that time, Malanowski, a retired priest, said Terri is being denied "a very important part of her faith." He said he intended to use "a small piece of the wafer and dilute it with water before giving it to her."
Bushnell told Malanowski that she should eat the wafer himself after touching it to Terri’s lips.
"The attorney had some suggestion about me touching Terri’s lips with the wafer, and then I was supposed to consume it," Malanowski said then. "What does she know about Catholic ritual or rites?”
Malanowski has accompanied the Schindlers for years to visit Terri and has always given her spiritual communion. Terri hasn’t had an actual communion in over 13 years.
Related news stories:
Terri Schiavo Case Reveals How We Treated Disabled Americans
Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo’s parents – https://www.terrisfight.org