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U.S. Bishops on Terri Schiavo

As promised, here is the reply I got from Richard Doerflinger at the USCCB:


Dear Stephen:

We have jurisdiction to say something about the Supreme Court case because it is a challenge to a federal directive raised in federal court.

Local and state developments (regardless of how much national press attention they may receive) are ordinarily the realm of the local bishop and state Catholic conference, and a national bishops' conference has no authority to make decisions or statements about such cases unless it is empowered to do so by those authorities. The Holy Father and the Vatican, of course, relate to each bishop in the world directly, and they are not bound by the limits placed by our Church on the responsibilities of national bishops' conferences.

The Florida bishops spoke to the Schiavo situation again today. Their new statement is below.

Richard Doerflinger
USCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities


I can appreciate the respect for the authority of each individual bishop over his see, but I find it hard to believe the bishops of Florida would not want to "empower" the U.S. Bishops as a whole to speak out.

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Comments (1)

Jennifer:

Hi There,
Ok - the local Bishop is doing what he is supposed to do - great. I still do not understand why the National Bishops are precluded from commenting on what has become a VERY national and VERY critical story? At this stage Terri needs all the support she can get - none should be mute! At least the Vatican has realized that!

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