Eclectic Floridian: First Post: Conversation with Schiavo Priest

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

First Post: Conversation with Schiavo Priest

This is my first post. It shows a bit about my thinking, though, I am interested in many, many other things, as you'll see later.

The Schiavo situation got me so involved that I ended up emailing the Schindler family's priest. At least, the one that talked for them to the Associated Press. While I never got a reply from the priest, Rev. Frank Pavones, his cohort felt comfortable replying to me. Here's the conversation (and BTW it really did end where I show it, I never got a reply to the last email):

From: Eclectic Floridian
Sent: Thursday, March 31, 2005 3:34 PM
To: info@gospeloflife.com
Subject: Regarding Rev. Frank Pavones Schiavo comments

Rev. Frank Pavone,

Your comments regarding those with opposing views in the Schiavo case seemed very unchristian.

Read your Bible: “Blessed be the peacemakers”

From: Dr. Paul Chaim Schenck [mailto:pschenck@priestsforlife.org]
Sent: Thursday, March 31, 2005 4:25 PM
To: Eclectic Floridian
Subject: RE: Regarding Rev. Frank Pavones Schiavo comments

I'm writing on behalf of Fr Pavone who is in Florida with terri's family. May I ask, what is unchristian about telling the truth about Terri's treatment? Was she not deprived of food and water? Was she not deprived of therapy? Was she not deprived of a faithful husband? Was she not abandoned by the courts, whose moral responsibility is to protect the weakest? Was she not called "comatose", "brain dead", "vegetable", even "bulimic", all not true? Recall the money-changers, the "white washed sepulchres" the Baptist chastising Herod and the elders. And, the quote is "Blessed are the peacemakers", present tense, not "blessed be" which is in the future tense.

From: Eclectic Floridian
Sent: Thursday, March 31, 2005 5:28 PM
To: 'Dr. Paul Chaim Schenck'
Subject: RE: Regarding Rev. Frank Pavones Schiavo comments

My, my aren’t we huffy.

Since we’re in question mode, let me ask you. Why is it Christian to accuse the husband of “heartless cruelty” in his time of distress when none of the courts have found it such? Why is it the church’s place to accuse our nation of an “atrocity”? Why is a husband accused of unfaithfulness when his wife has been declared mentally dead for over 8 years by those better qualified that the church? Was she not abandoned by her parents when, without her permission, they insisted she become a visual drooling symbol for a fanatical, archaic crusade for the church’s agenda? Was it not true that she was called "comatose", "brain dead", "vegetable", even "bulimic" by those with far better medical training that a group of fanatical priests? Am I to assume that an incorrect tense in the Peacemaker quote means only present peacemakers are blessed and future ones are not? Is it possible that I feel that You are the one referred to in your comments on “money-changers, the "white washed sepulchres" the Baptist chastising Herod and the elders”?

Is it possible that the Popes feeding tube is in his nose, not his stomach, because, if need be, it is not a sin to remove it from his nose, but IS if removed from his stomach? How would the church like to have, though I do not wish it, a Pope in Terri’s condition for 15 years? Is it possible that the church is extremely wise to stay out of the Constitutional affairs of the United States? Should the church consider that it may feel a backlash from your fanatical actions, just as the Executive and Legislative branches of government are sure to for their self-serving ones? Is that an outcome the church would like to have as a result of Your actions? Do You want to put yourself in that position with your church?

From: Dr. Paul Chaim Schenck [mailto:pschenck@priestsforlife.org]
Sent: Thursday, March 31, 2005 8:36 PM
To: Eclectic Floridian
Subject: RE: Regarding Rev. Frank Pavones Schiavo comments

A brief review of history indicates that the Church has perdured while countless cultures and governments have risen - dominated "popular" opinion, only to fall into oblivion. Some mighty popular ideas - like anti-semitism, slavery, segregation, communism, facism, and others have gripped popular imagination and become entrenched ideologies - only to crumble, while the Catholic Church, and Christianity as a whole, has endured.

Even our own government has survived "popular" uprisings against it - including the greatest of all, the Confederate States of America, what must have seemed a certain blow to the integrity of the Federal government, especially the Congress (which was splintered to smitherines) - but nevertheless, endured.

Many bad ideas were popular ones, but Truth always triumphs in the end.

Do I detect some personal bitterness towards the Church? What is it?

Shalom,

Paul Chaim Benedicta Schenck

Pastoral Associate

Priests for Life

From: Eclectic Floridian
Sent: Thursday, March 31, 2005 11:41 PM
To: 'Dr. Paul Chaim Schenck'
Subject: RE: Regarding Rev. Frank Pavones Schiavo comments

Well, a more reasonable tone. I appreciate that.

An extensive review of history indicates that the church is indeed a colossus in the annals of bureaucratic organizations. Yes, many cultures and governments have risen and fallen in the time your church has existed. A number of the fallen have been due to the animus of your church. Your churches longevity is no guarantee of a correct view on morality, government or doctrinal correctness. Rather, it may only be a function of more mature “spin control”.

Christianity is not entirely in the purview of your church. In fact, your church has spawned many other doctrines simply because of its bureaucratic, archaic, dogmatic inability to understand that civilization may change in the course of 2000 years.

Your reference to the “popular uprisings” our government has survived is surprising. Please note that our government has survived those “uprising”. Since, survival over time seems to be your criterion for efficacy, does that not prove we are on the proper track? Since you introduce US history into the equation, wasn’t it the Revolutionary War that produced the US Constitution, which specifically excluded your church and all others from wielding governmental power? Maybe, for the sake of your career and that of Rev. Frank Pavones, you should consider whether or not You want to answer to the Vatican for the US disgust with your manipulative, self-serving, insulting comments about the way the US government (not in your purview) does it’s job.

About yourTruth always triumphs in the end” comment”: You’re right, it does. In your heart, do you truly believe your comments about “cruelty” and “atrocity”? Are you so lacking in understanding that you cannot conceive that all parties are trying to do what’s right? Do you, in your heart, believe that all the doctors stating Terri was brain-dead were lying or stupid?

Lastly, I’ll discuss your comments regarding bitterness toward the church. I know that little “disgruntled parishioner” game. That guilt-trip game seems to be a favorite defense of your church, which by the way has never been mine. The only unstated agenda I have is that I, as a citizen of the USA, have to listen to a church, any church, pretend that it has the authority to question the workings of a government that rejected that authority 230 year ago.

Oh, and I have to wonder why, you felt the need to play the personal “bitterness toward the church” card. Would you like me to come discuss that little problem in front of your congregation, if you have one?

From: Dr. Paul Chaim Schenck [mailto:pschenck@priestsforlife.org]
Sent: Friday, April 01, 2005 7:09 AM
To: Eclectic Floridian
Subject: RE: Regarding Rev. Frank Pavones Schiavo comments

I still detect a personal bitterness, but I cannot insist that you reveal it. I will drop it.

Though you make some good points regarding the endurance of our form of government, nevertheless, you seem to have as much over confidence in her as you insinuate I have in the Church. Recall that it was our Federal government that sustained slavery for nearly 75 years, segregation and Jim Crow for another 100. It at least tolerated, if not promoted an insitutional anti-semitism for more than 150 years. It condoned anti-catholicism for over 150 years. My point: it has been an instrument of moral evil for most of its history. That it now wrestles over the treatment of the disabled and infirm is no wonder at all.

You seem so convinced that all parties (except ours) are acting in good faith. If your brother-in-law moved in with another woman while still married to your infirm sister, fathered children with that woman and announced his engagement, would you be happy with him? Michael "remembered" seven years after Terri collapsed that she was emphatic that she didn't want to live. Why so long? If he was so convinced (his only witnesses were his siblings and friends), why did he provide care for those seven years?

I cannot read his mind nor try his life - but I can respond to his actions. Terri was in the bosom of her family, her parents (who do know their children better than their spouses - I am a parent of eight, one married at 26 yrs, 23, 21, 15, 13, 13, 11 and four. I can assure you that my wife and I know them better than their boyfriends and girlfriends do or will. We did not "give" our daughter to our son-in-law, he joined our family and we joined his. Terri wasn't "taken over" by Michael, she shared her life and that of her family with his. ) Michael worked very hard to bring an end to Bob and Mary's daughter's life. Had he asked a judge for permission to walk into the hospice, put a 22 cal. to her temple and blow her brains out, would anyone have taken him seriously? Would he not have been adjudged a threat? Would any judge or would you for that matter have approved of that? I think not. Denying her food and water was exactly the same, sans the bullet and blood. The shooting would have been more merciful though, as any Ethiopian would know (I have been part of an intervention in Ethiopian draught and famine).

I wonder why you think the Church's role mediating the Middle East, bringing Palestinian and Israelis together, the Holy Father's work with the UN on Jerusalem, the extensive humanitarian work of Catholic Charities world-wide, the vast Catholic educational system (even in Muslim countries) the largest AIDS hospice network in the world, is so useless? Is it because the Church maintains a moral teaching that proscribes certain behaviors and practices? That she adheres to Natural Law? That she insists that reason requires humans to discern certain verities in nature and creation? In the relations of men and women?

I do believe that what was done to Terri - denying a sick woman confined to her bed food and water - and not even medication to control pain (starvation is painful in spite of George Felos' incredible claim that it is blissful, peaceful and beautiful, I have seen starving people, and that it is not what they experienced) is cruel and atrocious. What if we decided that it was the solution to the health-insurance crisis? Here is a simple solution: deny food and water to all persons with less than a 50% chance of recovery from their illnesses or conditions? Isn't that reasonable? Think of the cost to health care system that would be saved. Simply deny them "artificial nutrition and hydration" - and, those of us paying exorbitant insurance get a discount!

Would you favor that? Why not? Isn't it more blissful, peaceful and beautiful than paying out the wazoo for health insurance?

From: Eclectic Floridian
Sent: Friday, April 01, 2005 9:43 AM
To: 'Dr. Paul Chaim Schenck'
Subject: RE: Regarding Rev. Frank Pavones Schiavo comments

Apparently you don’t want me to come discuss bitterness with your congregation. Or maybe it’s that you don’t have a congregation because you are too busy meddling in affairs that further your personal fame. That would be good for sales on your online bookstore and your $150 per DD degree business. What you detect is not bitterness, it is distaste. It is distaste for the intellectual dishonesty compounded with paternalistic approach to what amounts to “spin doctoring”.

As to your comments about the past evils of our nation, I must say “Let he who is without sin …” Your implication is that past wrongs, condemn the nation, regardless of the simultaneous striving to correct them, e.g., treatment of blacks continued while arriving at our present, more enlightened state. If past wrongs condemn an organization, then the Catholic church is condemned. Let’s not forget the Crusades, the Inquisition, medieval persecution of non-believers, papal intrigues for political and sexual purposes and the newly exposed pedophilia of a significant number of your clergy. That you wrestle over the treatment of the disabled and infirm in an instance of brain-death (not disablity) and artificially maintained life (not infirmity) is no wonder at all.

Michael’s actions are perfectly consistent with a caring husband. This is easily understood unless one is blinded by a personal agenda. I would be comfortable with a brother-in-law who provided extensive treatment for 7 years in hopes of her recovery, This care was later proven in court many times over. If your church, through you as its representative, has evidence to the contrary, I’m sure you would have found a true party to the case who would present it to the courts. After seven years, with well qualified doctors advising proven brain-death, if my brother-in-law felt it time to let her pass, I would agree with him. In fact, I would wonder why he waited so long.

The law endows the brother-in-law to make these decisions without a written or oral statement by the wife. After all, the Bible certainly sets precedent that each spouse is the others guardian. Inventing a conspiracy is the only “spin” you can place on this fact to justify your actions. Your family history nor your apparently profound knowledge of the desires of your children has no relevance to the standards just stated. I have never met a parent who knows the deepest thoughts and desires of a child. Starving people have no relevance to a brain-dead woman who cannot be aware of her plight while morphine is being administered just in case there is discomfort.

I’m afraid I do not understand your last paragraph. I don’t remember questioning the church’s missions around the world. Most of them are admirable. What I do understand is the tactic that fanatics have so well developed of late. If your argument is weak, make up an accusation. I once knew a minister who’s marginal notes in his sermon read, “Argument weak, YELL LIKE HELL!” Please don’t play those manipulative games. That is one of the reasons I find the actions of Rev. Frank Pavones, and apparently yourself, so despicable.


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