February 3, 2009

Eluana is just one step from the end

About two months ago the Corte di Cassazione, Italy’s top appeals court, authorized the father of 37-year-old Eluana Englaro to remove the feeding tube which had kept his comatose daughter alive for nearly seventeen years. It was then that the last legal obstacle in a landmark “right-to-die” case, which has been also called “Italy’s Terri Schiavo case,” was removed once and for all : Eluana would be sentenced to die an atrocious death by being deprived of water and nutrition, thus paving the way for legalized euthanasia in Italy.

Eventually the transfer was temporarily halted by Italy’s health minister Maurizio Sacconi, who issued an official guideline stating that the suspension of treatment for patients in a vegetative state in public health institutions would be “illegal.” But that last-minute attempt to bypass Supreme Court ruling was overruled in turn by a court in Milan on January 21. As a result last night Eluana Englaro was transferred by ambulance to a clinic in the northern city of Udine, where she will be allowed to die. And this time nothing, but a miracle, will stop her “execution” (I know, it’s a terrible word, but I don’t have a better one).

What is upsetting, apart from the two rulings in themselves, is that the nuns of the Misericordine Order, under whose care Eluana has been surviving for 14 years, had repeatedly declared their availability, “today and into the future, to continue to serve Eluana,” and in a letter published in the November 15 2008 Avvenire, the daily newspaper of the Italian Bishops Conference, they launched a moving appeal :

If there are those who consider her dead, let Eluana remain with us who feel she is alive. We don’t ask anything but the silence and the liberty to love and to devote ourselves to those who are weak, poor and little in return.

The Vatican’s “health minister,” Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, described the decision to move Eluana as “abominable.” “Stop this murder!” he told La Repubblica daily newspaper two days after Pope Benedict XVI rejected euthanasia as a “false” answer to suffering. The bishop of Udine, Msgr. Pietro Brollo, has called on Catholics in the area to gather outside the clinic to stage a prayer vigil in favor of keeping Eluana alive. Yet, as I said before, this time … well, miracles sometimes happen.


  1. Please lay her to close her eyes with dignity, with silence, finally!

  2. I feel like saying that I have profound respect for Eluana’s father—who resolutely wanted this to happen—and think that no one who has not had a similar experience can possibly judge him, but I won’t be silent, nor (I hope) will all those who still respect human life.

  3. What is undignified with needing help? If she is alive, then she will die and, Rob, execution is exactly what it is. Long, grueling, inhumane way to die. When there are people who volunteer to care for this lady and Terri Schiavo, then what right have the courts to order a death. It makes me sick. People are making a big mistake playing God. It's not a matter of "if" but WHEN God is going to chastise those who participate directly or indirectly. God helps us all.

  4. "sentenced to die an atrocious death by being deprived of water and nutrition"

    complimenti vivissimi per l'obiettività scientifica.

    potevi almeno infilarci un "forse", ma vabbè, quando uno ha profondo rispetto per un assassino si può permettere anche qualche esagerazione


  5. Ciao, Return, riporto ciò che scrive e dice chi di quell' obiettività mi sembra sia in grado di fare buon uso.

    Quanto al "forse" credimi che lo userei più che volentieri, e di solito me ne servo anche troppo perché detesto la sicumera e la mancanza di "dubbio metodico" in tutte le sue forme, ma purtroppo non posso.

    Il "profondo rispetto" per la famiglia di Eluana Englaro, invece, appartiene alla sfera della soggettività e degli stati d'animo personali di fronte ai drammi della vita. Rivendico il diritto a questa distinzione, e credo che proprio qui passi la linea di separazione tra fanatismo e difesa di principi sacrosanti.

    Un caro saluto.