Pope meets Terri Schiavo's parents at general audience

The parents of Terri Schiavo met briefly with pope Benedict XVI Wednesday at a general audience in St. Peter's Square, touching the pope's hands and presenting him with a picture of their daughter.

Schiavo's family, who had a 15-minute private meeting with Cardinal Renato Martino and other Vatican officials on Tuesday, have thanked the Vatican for its support as they sought to keep the brain-damaged woman alive.

The framed picture of Schiavo, portraying her before and after the trauma, was handed over to a prelate standing behind Benedict as the pontiff greeted pilgrims during Wednesday's audience.

Schiavo died March 31 in a hospice in Florida following an unsuccessful battle against a court order to have her feeding tube removed.

The struggle between Schiavo's parents and her husband over whether she would have wanted to be kept alive with the feeding tube riveted Americans and sparked an international debate about end-of-life issues.

The Vatican condemned her death as "arbitrarily hastened," and called the removal of her feeding tube a violation of the principles of Christianity and civilization.


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