The phone call came this morning, a friend letting us know that Terri Schiavo had died.
She did not die during Holy Week, like many of us had expected, but clung to life tenaciously into what the Roman Church calls the Octave of Easter, and what the Byzantine Church calls Bright Week, a time of celebration when it is forbidden to fast, even on Friday. Terri Schiavo, who entered into the suffering of Christ during Holy Week, began her entry into His Resurrection during Bright Week.
So, while sharing in the grief of her family, we must also share in their hope, not only for Terri’s soul, but for the good that can come of her suffering, as the suffering of what in the Russian Church is called a Passion-Bearer, an innocent person unjustly slain. Perhaps one good effect may lie in prolifers finally waking up to the reality of what
this country has become, and waking up to the generally weak response of most of the politicians and religious leaders in whom they had put their trust.
Oddly, at the end it was not Catholic bishops or Evangelical leaders who came to Florida to plead her defense, but the Rev. Jesse Jackson, God bless him. Perhaps this will lead to the Rev. Jackson rethinking things and returning to the antiabortion stance he once held. And perhaps prolifers will question the package deal they have been sold by the Republican Right, which I have always suspected views us as useful idiots.
And perhaps more Americans will wake up to what has become a tyranny of the judiciary, this rule of black-robed ideologues with their mandates and fiats.
But one may be forgiven if one is sceptical about the odds of America waking up at all. If there is unrelieved grieving it should be for this nation, which seems intent on recreating the dystopian science fictions worlds I read about in the novels of my youth. The killing of Theresa Marie Schindler Schiavo has certainly planted a dark seed toward that end.
May God have mercy on us all.