The Most Rev. Robert Lynch, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg (Florida), forbade his clergy from being present in Pinellas Park, Florida at the Woodside Hospice where Terri Schiavo is being starved to death. There is a significant Roman Catholic presence at the hospice, including Monsignor Thaddeus Malanowski, two friars (Paul O’Donnell and Hilary McGee) serving as spiritual advisors to the parents, and occasional priests dropping in from other dioceses.
It was reported that Bishop Lynch made an unscheduled trip out of the country for two weeks to coincide with current events. I know nothing about this man other than what was related from numerous sources on the ground and from what I’ve read from his own statements. It is utterly shameful for a leader of the flock of God to forbid his priests to stand up for life and truth. The bishop is accountable to God for his cowardly actions.
The pope has spoken out publicly about the case of Terri Schiavo. He has spoken in favor of life. I am amazed to see a local bishop publicly repudiate the pope and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church on the sanctity of life. Bishop Lynch seems not to be interested in the value of Terri’s life but simply in the exchange of pleasantries between her parents and husband. It’s as if he’s saying, “Play nice with the murderer and everything will be okay.”
If I were one of Bishop Lynch’s priests, I would already be defrocked. I would have disobeyed him and chosen, instead, to obey God. The defense of life is a duty before God.
Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. (Psalm 82:3)