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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 1:54 pm 
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Location: The Reality-Based Community
Bolding mine. Now that I think about it, a religion based on Terri Schiavo might be more palatable than one based on Jesus, since at least Schiavoism wouldn't hypocritically mangle the good ideas of its inspiration the way Christianity does. Because, you know, Terri had no brain and thus no ideas. Tabula rasa, baby!

In the future, the cars of the self-righteous will have little chrome feeding tubes on their trunklids.

St. Paul friar speaks on Terri Schiavo's last days
Curt Brown, Star Tribune
May 23, 2005

From a rather obscure life ministering to St. Paul's poor and disadvantaged, Brother Paul O'Donnell found himself thrust into the vortex of one of the most widely reported stories of the year.

O'Donnell, a black-robed Franciscan friar from a tiny St. Paul religious order, became the spiritual adviser to Terri Schiavo's parents and siblings. As Schiavo's feeding-tube case became front-page news, O'Donnell was at the family's side in Florida for news conferences and prayer sessions during the 13 days between the tube's removal and Schiavo's death March 31.

"You realize you're literally talking to millions and millions of people all over the world," O'Donnell, 45, said last week by cell phone from Rome, where he and five members of Schiavo's family were meeting with Vatican officials.

"As I travel in Italy, people recognize who I am and what I'm doing -- not that I did anything so great. But the fact that Terri Schiavo would still be in their minds six weeks after her death shows she truly touched the world."

O'Donnell is flying home to his Franciscan Brothers of Peace friary in the Midway neighborhood in time for a free speech at 7:30 p.m. tonight at St. Agnes Church in the nearby Frogtown area.

"I will share my perspective on what I call 'the Passion and Death of Terri Schiavo' and tell people what it was like for those two weeks when the feeding tube was removed," he said. "I'll share what Terri went through, what the family went through and what I experienced firsthand through her passion and death."

O'Donnell is among 10 brothers who took vows of poverty to dedicate their lives to helping the disadvantaged in St. Paul's inner city. When the group's founder and O'Donnell's dear friend, the late Brother Michael Gaworski, contracted bacterial pneumonia in 1991 and became severely brain damaged, O'Donnell's views on the issue were forged.

He has heard the other side of the argument, from Schiavo's husband, Michael, and those who insist that letting her die was the more humane option.

"It's profoundly sad that we still look with disdain upon the profoundly disabled and we make a judgment and say: 'Who would want to live that way?' "

"Given the choice, no one would necessarily want to live that way," O'Donnell said. "But people who are profoundly impaired are still made in the image and likeness of God."

O'Donnell, who met Schiavo's brother, Bobby Schindler, at a 2004 conference in Washington, said he is scheduled to give several talks such as the one Monday night, locally and nationally.

He has tentative plans to join members of Schiavo's family at World Youth Day in Germany this summer, where Pope Benedict is also slated to speak.

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