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Monday, January 23, 2006

Schiavo, Centonze Wed In Catholic Church

June Maxam

They're both divorced.

They are the parents of two illegitimate children.

They've lived together in an adulterous relationship for over 10 years.

Their friends say adultery was okay because he was looking for companionship but refusing to divorce his wife.

After he fought the Vatican, Congress, the President and the Governor, he was successful in obtaining a court order to kill his wife, fighting her parents in the courts, all the way to Washington. He just hadn't planned that it would take so long to kill her and he would have to spend nearly all of the $2 million realized from phony medical malpractice claims before he would be successful in ending the life of the person he claimed he would devote his life to take care of----Terri Schindler-Schiavo.

Terri became incapacitated on Feb. 25, 1990 at age 26 following suspicious circumstances at their home, sustaining brain damage. After he received nearly $2 million through bogus medical malpractice claims, claiming that she suffered from bulimia which an autopsy strongly dispelled, he began his quest to end her life, suddenly remembering that Terri had said at age 22 that she wouldn't want to be kept alive by artificial means. Although her parents argued that she never would have said that because it went against her religious beliefs, his self-serving hearsay won out, ruled as clear and convincing evidence that she had expressed her death wish.

Less than 10 months after her barbaric death by starvation and dehydration over 13 grueling days with the whole world watching although he claimed he was protecting his wife's privacy, Michael Schiavo wed his concubine, Jodi Centonze Saturday.

She wore white but she's not pure and chaste. They were wed in a Catholic church but Michael Schiavo defied virtually every church rule and policy concerning the religious beliefs and practice of his wife----even cremating her remains and denying her Communion.

A day after they obtained a marriage license from the clerk of the circuit court of Pinellas County, Michael Schiavo and Jodi Centonze were wed in the Espiritu Santo Catholic Church in Safety Harbor in a private ceremony apparently known only to family, friends and the St. Petersburg Times.

No homily was reportedly offered. The reception was held at the East Lake Country Club.

Although the St. Petersburg Times had Saturday morning quoted Schiavo family members saying they hoped to keep media attention to a minimum, they also quoted John Centonze as saying that the National Enquirer had contacted him, offering to pay him for wedding pictures, claiming that they had offered him $5,000 for a picture of Jodi Centonze no matter how old it was. Although it is now known that The St. Petersburg Times already knew when the wedding would be held, they coyly reported that Centonze's brother said the wedding would take place before Valentine's Day, his sister's birthday.

And it did.

The church is located about 15 miles northwest of Tampa.

The Rev. Robert J. Schneider is pastor of the church but it is unknown who officiated at the ceremony.

According to Michael Hirsch who's writing Schiavo's book for him about the case, about 80 people attended the wedding including the couple's two children, aged 2 and 3 ½.

The church is part of the Diocese of St. Petersburg of which the Most Robert N. Lynch is bishop. Although Lynch was Terri's bishop, he stood by silent while she was forcibly starved to death----after she struggled to declare that she wanted to live. Bishop Lynch issued a statement directly at odds with church teaching that food and water is basic sustenance and cannot be withheld by private choice.

Just days before Terri died last March 31, Lynch left the country. However, he left a statement posted on the Diocese website before Easter in which he didn't seem particularly concerned about the death decree issued and that it was against the official position of the Vatican and the Pope.

"At the end of the day the decision to remove Terri's artificial feeding tube will be that of her husband, Michael", Lynch said. "It is he who will give the order, not the courts of certainly the governor or legislature or the medical personnel surrounding and caring for Terri. In other words, as I have said from the beginning of this sad situation, the decision will be made within a family".

But not Terri's family. And Michael Schiavo was a husband in name only.

Bishop Lynch had called for "mediation" between Michael Schiavo and Terri's parents, saying that Terri's "plight is a complex and tragic situation".

Lynch's position was contrary to the official Vatican position. Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in Rome said in a March 7 statement, "Without the tube, which is providing life-giving hydration and nutrition, Terri Schiavo will die. But it is not that simple. She will die a horrible and cruel death. She will not simply die; she will have death inflicted upon her over a number of terrible days, even weeks. How can anyone who claims to speak of the promotion and protection of human rights - of human life - remain silent?"

Hours after Schiavo's death was announced , Cardinal Martino called it "murder."

"When you deprive somebody of food and water, what else is it? Nothing else but murder."

Bishop Lynch's position was also directly contrary to "the teaching of the Pope" who had written that food and water is not extraordinary support for life and that it cannot morally be withheld from a dying or incapacitated person.

In August, 2003, Lynch had issued a statement on the Schiavo case, saying that the Schindlers should be given more time to see if medical treatment could improve her condition. However, that statement was premised on the explicit belief that the withdrawal of food and water could be morally justified according to Catholic teaching in some circumstances. Bishop Lynch tried to justify his theologically unsound statement by referring to a 1989 pastoral letter of the Florida Bishops' Conference to justify his assertion that food and water could be withdrawn, especially in those cases where the medical experts had concluded that a patient's condition would not improve over time or if a patient's death was deemed to be imminent.

Jodi Centonze reportedly had her second child, born in October, 2003 at the time when the feeding tube had been removed from Terri the second time by order of Judge Greer in Michael Schiavo's efforts to kill her, baptized in Espiritu Santo church. According to knowledge sources, the priest who baptized the baby was aware that Jodi was not married to Michael Schiavo and that she had been involved in an adulterous affair with him for over 10 years.

And at the same time, Michael was telling the world that he still loved Terri.

In October, 2003, while Jodi was having their second illegitimate child baptized in the Catholic Church, Michael barred Monsignor Thaddeus Malinowksi from administering the Catholic rite of Viaticum, the last communion for a Catholic before death.

On Easter Sunday, March 25, 2005, the ninth day that Terri had been without nutrition and hydration and the holiest day of the Catholic year, Schiavo refused to allow his wife the sacrament of communion. She received last rites on March 18, the day the feeding tube was pulled.

Terri was raised Roman Catholic and throughout the prolonged battle by her parents to keep her alive, Schiavo and his attorney, George Felos, financed by Terri's rehabilitation money, steadfastly opposed all arguments by the Schindlers based on Terri's right to practice her religion and exercise her First Amendment right to freedom of religion.

According to published reports, John Centonze, brother of the bride, said that Schiavo and his sister were married in a private ceremony at noon Saturday. Family members said that they kept the location of the ceremony secret. The St. Petersburg Times, long known to be biased in favor of Michael Schiavo in the right-to-life case, said that three of their reporters arrived at the church but were asked not to go in , indicating that the Schiavos and Centonzes had informed the newspaper of the ceremony.

They had obtained a marriage license Friday at the Clerk of the Circuit Court's office. In Florida, marriage licenses can be issued by a county court judge or the clerk of a circuit court. To obtain a marriage license, both parties have to appear, bring their valid photo identification, provide their Social Security numbers or valid passport and pay the marriage license fee. In addition, if either party has previously been married, they must apply the date and reason that marriage ended. Each person applying for a marriage license must also read the Family Law Handbook. This is required by law.

Blood tests for marriages in Florida are not required. Licenses are issued immediately. The process normally takes no more than 30 minutes. However, unless the couple has attended an approved premarital preparation class, there is a three day waiting period before the license is effective and the marriage can take place. Florida marriage licenses are valid for 60 days from their date of issue. They must be returned to the clerk's office for recording within 10 days after the marriage is performed. Wedding Bells Ahead For Michael Schiavo, Jodi Centonze

It's unknown if Jodi Centonze Schiavo has executed a living will. 1-22-06

  • June Maxam has been a journalist, freelance writer and columnist for over 35 years. She founded The North Country Gazette in 1981 which operated as a weekly newspaper until 1994 and continues on-line today. She is Co-Publisher and Editor of The Empire Journal and co-managing editor, copy/layout editor of Diogenes, magazine of the National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project.

    The coordinator of the New York State Oaths Project, Maxam is the recipient of a media award from the New York State Bar Association for her coverage of town and village courts. She is the author of the book, "Complete Guide to Snowmobiling" and has a book in progress on the Terri Schiavo case.

    Maxam holds Associate of Arts and Bachelor of Arts degrees in public affairs with a concentration in criminal justice and constitutional law from SUNY, Empire State College.

    © 2005 North Country Gazette

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