Monday, March 28, 2005

Grotesque

Colby Cosh once again demonstrates that he holds the banner high for Canada's redneck blogging contingent. Writing about the Schaivo case, he says:
Paul O’Donnell, a Roman Catholic Franciscan monk, said the family is urging Schiavo’s husband to allow his wife to receive the sacrament of communion at sundown Saturday, when Catholics begin celebrating their holiest feast of the year. Schiavo, who cannot swallow, would have a minuscule piece of bread and a drop of wine placed in her mouth.
You could go blind trying to figure this one out. There are two problems for the Romish theologian here--Schiavo cannot ingest the Eucharist (which is sort of the whole idea), and she lacks the reasoning capacity to distinguish the sacred wafer from ordinary bread (assuming she would know she was being fed at all). As far as I can tell, the latter might conceivably be overlooked in deciding whether to administer viaticum. But in conjunction with the former it raises a danger of what was traditionally called "irreverence toward the sacred Host." Is some poor doctor going to reach in there and remove the holy cookie after it has resided long enough in her dessicated cakehole to infuse her with a little spare Body of Christ for the long road home? I'm not a Catholic, but even to suggest that Terri ("AHHHHH! WAAAAAAA!") should receive communion in her present condition strikes me as irreverent. Not to say about a thousand percent nasty and self-serving. The husband looks better every day here in contrast to the family: frankly, at this point, he arguably comes off relatively all right even if you accept that he's committing a self-interested murder by omission.
Throughout this bit of callous prose, Cosh blithely assumes that all that can be known about Terri's condition is indeed known, never mind that a Nobel Prize winning doctor has said he thinks there's reason to be hopeful. Even if there is indeed no hope for improvement, does that mean we owe her nothing? Is her state such that we can dispose of her in any way? He's also ignorant about the Eucharist. If there is any moisture in her mouth at all, it can dissolve. Only the tiniest fragment needs to be ingested and if that should fail, the wine is perfectly acceptable and equally worthy. I can't understand the objection to a bit of grace in this last step in a difficult death. I can't understand it at all. There's nothing irreverent here. Colby's grossed out by a dying woman. Why doesn't this surprise me? I got tired of his love for auteur porn references and violent video games long ago. It's real, dude. She's not made of pixels or silicone and there's no do over, so she gets every aid, help and comfort we can reasonably give. We don't just assume we know it all, pull the plug and call for pizza.

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