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John Paul II Appears to Give Traditional Easter Blessing; Florida Supreme Court Denies Schindlers' Appeal

Aired March 27, 2005 - 07:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: On this Easter Sunday, the ailing pontiff finds strength to appear at the window and give his blessing.
From the CNN Center in Atlanta, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING. It is March 27th. Good morning. Happy Easter. I'm Betty Nguyen.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Happy Easter to you, Betty.

NGUYEN: Happy Easter to you.

HARRIS: I'm Tony Harris. 7:00 a.m. here in the East. 2:00 p.m. in Rome. Thank you for being with us. Let's get started with the morning's headlines.

Easter sunrise services under way now. This one in the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery. It's non-denominational. Music courtesy of the U.S. Air Force Band. And the sermon is delivered by Rear Admiral Robert Birch, chaplain of the Marine Corps.

The Florida Supreme Court is the latest court to refuse to order Terri Schiavo's feeding tube reinserted. A spokesman for Schiavo's parents say the brain damaged woman is in her final hours of life. The spokesman urged those maintaining a vigil at the hospice to return home and celebrate Easter.

Doctors say the heart, lung, and kidney functions of Prince Rainier of Monaco have stabilized, but they are still worried about the 81-year old prince's condition. And they are not predicting he will survive. The prince was hospitalized with a lung infection. And he is breathing with the help of a respirator.

NGUYEN: Here all the many reasons why you'll want to stick with us this hour. "First, it's my sister and I will do whatever I have to do." That quote from Terri Schiavo's brother, Bobby Schindler, describing a fight no sibling would ever want to take on. We'll hear more from him in just a few minutes.

Second, the legal issues raised in the Schiavo case have been both complex and confusing. So we know you have questions. And our legal expert will give you some answers.

Plus, on a different note, you can thank one teenager for cleaner water during your next flight. Thank the other for taking on a taboo topic for teenagers. And they're not even legal, but they are already changing the world. We'll show you how. HARRIS: Our top story this morning, Pope Paul John II, he tried to speak and could not. But the pontiff did give the crowd in St. Peters Square and the faithful across the world his annual Easter blessing. Details from our Rome bureau chief Alessio Vinci.

Alessio, happy Easter to you.

ALESSIO VINCI, CNN ROME BUREAU CHIEF: Good morning, Tony. Well, not even a rainy day could keep pilgrims away from St. Peters Square early this morning. And the expectations among those pilgrims gathering in St. Peters Square was clearly palpable throughout the morning.

As expected, though, the pope did not manage to preside over the mass, which was recited by a top Vatican cardinal, Cardinal Sodano, the pope managed to watch the proceedings on television. But nevertheless, he eventually rewarded the crowd below in St. Peters Square by making a lengthy appearance from the window of these apostolic palace overlooking St. Peters Square.

It was an appearance that lasted about 12 minutes. Certainly much longer than previous ones, as well as much longer than originally anticipated. He sat at the window throughout the time that Cardinal Sodano read on the pope's behalf his traditional Easter Sunday blessing known as "urbi ex orbi" meaning to the city, Rome, of course, and to the world in which he called for peace in the Middle East and Africa. He also prayed for victims of natural disasters, as well as from -- for those suffering anger and poverty. Of course, a message all the more poignant given the pope's own suffering.

At one point, the pope tried to utter a few words. The microphone was put in front of his mouth, but all we could really hear was a murmur, a whisper. And then eventually, he gave up and blessed the crowds below by just simply making the sign of the cross with his hands -- Tony?

HARRIS: Alessio Vinci in Rome for us this morning. Alessio, thank you.

NGUYEN: I want to get to the latest now in the battle to keep Terri Schiavo alive. The Florida Supreme Court has rejected an emergency petition from Schiavo's parents. It is the latest in a string of court losses for Bob and Mary Schindler, who have been fighting Schiavo's husband, Michael, in their bid to get her feeding tube reinserted.

Meantime, Michael Schiavo's lawyer says he has visited the brain damaged woman. George Felos says she appears "calm and peaceful."

Now outside Schiavo's hospice, some protesters still maintain vigil. Schiavo's parents had urged them to go home and spend time with their families this Easter Sunday.

CNN's David Mattingly joins us from there with the latest.

Good morning to you, David. DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Betty. We're now in the ninth day since Terri Schiavo's feeding tube was removed. And the weight is clearly taking its toll on both sides in this bitter family dispute.

A family spokesperson for Terri Schiavo's parents, the Schindlers, says that the family will no longer be making statements to the news media here outside the hospice where Terri is spending her final days. That word came -- coming shortly after we found out that the Florida Supreme Court have rejected their latest appeal.

Their lawyers saying that the legal fight to keep Terri Schiavo alive is apparently nearing its end. But that does not mean that there are not still plenty of points of contention between the two sides in this case.

The Schindlers had requested that Terri Schiavo receive communion on this day on Easter Sunday. The attorney for Michael Schiavo, however, says that that won't happen. Though according to the court's instructions, she will receive the sacrament one more time before she dies.

Now when that could be, and her actual condition today is up to a matter of interpretation. We're hearing from her family that she is much worse off and in more pain than suggested by her husband's attorney.


BOBBY SCHINDLER, TERRI SCHIAVO'S BROTHER: And for every person out there that believes it was wrong for Congress and the governor to get involved in my sister's case, they need to go inside right now and look at my sister, and when they come out, we need to ask them if Congress and the governor were wrong for getting involved in my sister's case. Thank you.


MATTINGLY: There was one emotional moment last night we'd like to show you now. Terri Schiavo's father was going through the crowd. He was holding a rose in one hand and he was shaking hands with the other, telling everyone thank you for coming. He was thanking them for all of their support.

And then the family told them -- told the crowd gathered here that they would like to see them all go home, to go home and spend the Easter holidays together with their own families and to celebrate the holiday.

And for the most part, it looks like people have done that. We will see if they continue to honor that request as the day goes on -- Betty?

NGUYEN: All right, CNN's David Mattingly in Florida for us this morning. Thank you, David. HARRIS: Well, with legal options running out for Schiavo's parents, what's next? Live now, CNN's Randi Kaye, who is outside Michael Schiavo's attorney's office in Duneadon, Florida.

Randi, good morning.

RANDY KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Tony. I do want to touch on the battle over the condition of Terri Schiavo. Because yesterday, George Felos came out here, held a press conference specifically to clear up what he called "rumors" about Terri Schiavo's condition.

And he described her very differently from how Bobby Schindler and Terri's family did. He described her as beautiful, peaceful, a certain naturalness about her. He said in all the years he's known here, he's never seen her more at peace. He said she looked comfortable. She was not struggling to breathe. Her skin was not dry. And most importantly, he said, her death does not appear to be imminent.

Now also yesterday, as you mentioned, there were some legal battles continuing. Noon yesterday, state court judge George Greer denied a motion by the Schindlers and their attorney to have an IV tube put into Terri Schiavo over this Easter weekend to bring her some relief while they have a doctor reevaluate her, to determine her will to live. They believe her intent to live has changed.

About 4:30 yesterday, the -- that was denied by the way. So at 4:30 yesterday, the Schindlers filed an emergency petition with the Florida Supreme Court to have the feeding tube reinstated, and also to have a medical evaluation done on their daughter.

And a few hours later, about 7:45 last night, the Florida Supreme Court dismissed that emergency petition, saying it was out of its jurisdiction. That's the same court that refused to hear the case earlier in the week.

So it does appear that the legal battle is over. And in Michael Schiavo's camp, that may be welcome news.


GEORGE FELOS, MICHAEL SCHIAVO'S ATTORNEY: I would hope that the parents' side realize that any further legal action is going to be futile. I mean, we can understand their desperate efforts in this case, but I would hope that at some point before Terri's death, they leave that behind and begin to try to cope with this more on a personal level.


KAYE: George Felos also said yesterday that he believed on this Easter holiday, Terri Schiavo would want all of us to focus on our purpose in life and how we can best fulfill that -- Tony?

HARRIS: Randi Kaye in Duneadon, Florida. Randi, thank you. NGUYEN: Well, Bobby Schindler has been very outspoken about his sister's condition over the last nine days.

CNN's Carol Lin talked to Terri Schiavo's brother last night. And he made it clear that both Terri and his family are suffering.


BOBBY SCHINDLER: We're just going to try to stay strong for each other. You know, my sister going through this process is extremely difficult, particularly for my mother. What's happening to my sister, you know, I believe is actually heinous, is barbaric. And hearing earlier description of this being painless and peaceful is the farthest thing from the truth.

LIN: And what do you say the truth is?

BOBBY SCHINDLER: Well, my sister's being dehydrated and starved -- is being killed by dehydration and starvation. This is the ninth day. And it isn't painless. It isn't peaceful.

I was responding to Mr. Felos earlier press conference, where he said that my sister was not experiencing any pain or -- during this process. And I posed the question if that's the case, then why not allow a video camera in there to see her experiencing this?

LIN: Bobby, why do think more than two dozen rulings have gone against your family's case? Why do you think judges all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court have said that Michael Schiavo, Terri's husband and legal guardian, has the right to make this decision? These were her last wishes. She would not want to live this way?

BOBBY SCHINDLER: Well, it's hard to understand. There are so many questionable circumstances in there regarding my sister's situation. Her condition is highly controversial as far as whether she's in this PVS state or not. Our family has said all along adamantly, that she's not. We have doctors that support that.

The wishes that were evidently stated by my sister were -- came forward seven years after her collapse. And they came forward after Michael had intended -- he already expressed his wish that he was going to marry another woman upon my sister's death.

So that's why we've been fighting so hard. And I think that's why we've had such an outpouring of support because the people look at this case and they just don't understand why my sister's being killed in this horrible fashion.

LIN: And yet, Bobby, yes, your family does have support. And I think a lot of people are very sympathetic to your emotions, as well as your plight.

But specifically to your legal case, after all this publicity, after remarks by the president of the United States, and the pope himself, why in every single poll taken that a clear majority of Americans agree that your brother-in-law Michael Schiavo, Terri's husband, has the right to make this decision on his wife's behalf?

BOBBY SCHINDLER: Well, from the polls that I saw, the questions are horrible. I saw one poll that said, you know, would you want to live in this condition? And even I would answer no to that.

Nobody would choose to live as a disabled person. But the answer isn't to starve them to death. And Terri is simply disabled. She has a family standing by, waiting to take care of her. And for the life of me, I don't understand why the courts are so adamant on having her killed.


NGUYEN: Now you can see the rest of Carol Lin's interview with Bobby Schindler in our 9:00 Eastern hour of CNN SUNDAY MORNING. He will share his family's anguish and answer some pointed questions about his sister's condition.

HARRIS: Carol was talking about the polls. Well, some interesting break downs on public opinion in the Terri Schiavo case. Now a "TIME" magazine poll, most Americans support removing the feeding tube from Terri Schiavo. Even a majority of people, 53 percent who call themselves evangelical Christians support removing the tube as well.

When asked about intervention, an overwhelming majority believed it was wrong for both President Bush and Congress to get involved in the case.

NGUYEN: Well, getting involved is exactly what made a difference in the lives of some of our super team. Yes, they are just teenagers. Coming up, we will meet a teenager whose curiosity helped make your air travel safer.

HARRIS: And forget the peanuts and Cracker Jacks, it will hockey sticks and blades if some fans get their way. We'll fill you in. And good morning, Cocoa Beach, Florida. The weather for the rest of your weekend, coming up with Rob Marciano in just minutes on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.


NGUYEN: Checking stories across America this morning, in Iowa, the body of a girl found near an abandoned mobile home has been identified as that of a 10-year old girl who was kidnapped Thursday. Autopsy results show Jetseta Gage was suffocated. A registered sex offender is being held in connection with her disappearance.

In other news around the world today, taxpayers in California spend more than $2.5 million to convict Scott Peterson of killing his wife and unborn son and put him on death row. Now those bills include the cost of expert testimony, hotels for witnesses, meals, and travel expenses.

Boston Red Sox owners want to make some cold hard cash over the winter. So they are thinking of building an ice skating rink at Fenway Park. That's right. A rink could be used for college hockey games and public skating, but the team wants to make sure a rink won't damage the field when it is time to play ball.

Plus, some parts of the deep south are under tornado watches this Easter Sunday. But there could be more than just twisters in store. We have that forecast coming up in just about five minutes -- Tony?

HARRIS: Terri Schiavo's family says they will not file any more federal appeals, but are there any more state options left? Attorney Reed Friedman will be with us throughout the morning answering your legal questions on the case. He joins us now from Cleveland, Ohio.

Avery, good morning. Good to see you again, sir.

AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Nice to see you, too, Tony. Let's go with this.

HARRIS: Let's go. All right, just a couple questions. The Florida State Supreme Court has said no again. Are the Schindlers out of options?

FRIEDMAN: Yes, this ball game is over.

HARRIS: That's it?

FRIEDMAN: They said yesterday, Tony, if you recall, no more federal appeals. Well, after the Florida Supreme Court made this decision, that's it. There are no legs on this case. The case is over.

And let me tell you something. My work over many years has been about the American Constitution. There is no case in American jurisprudential history that has this kind of -- we've had 40 judges in a period of six days considering everything from religious freedom, to cruel and unusual punishment, to due process of law, to more and more evidence.

There is no case, frankly in American history, that's had this attention from courts.

HARRIS: Which leads me perfectly to my next question. Should the Schindlers -- could the Schindlers have gotten better advice from their attorneys? You've been so clear about this from the very beginning that they -- that the odds were long against them.

FRIEDMAN: Well, you don't have to be chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court to know that. This was an uphill battle. And you know what? Give the Schindlers credit, Tony. They've come up with very creative arguments. I'm being kind in some respect -- very creative arguments such as cruel or unusual punishment, such as right to life, such as due process.

And again, CNN had me sitting here...

HARRIS: Yes. FRIEDMAN: ...for three hours last Sunday night into Monday morning listening to what members of Congress said. What they said and what came out of the Congress were two different things.

I consider the congressional law, Tony, I call it the Schindler false hope act. And unfortunately, that's exactly what happened for the Schindlers.

HARRIS: OK. We're going to be taking some e-mail questions. And you're going to stick around an answer those for us...

FRIEDMAN: You bet.

HARRIS: ...later this hour?

FRIEDMAN: Ready to go.

HARRIS: OK, Avery. We appreciate it. Thank you.


HARRIS: Now if you've been following the Terri Schiavo case closely, you've probably heard every angle on the case more than once. So this morning, we're not going to do a lot more along the lines of discussing it. Well, certainly not over and over again.

Instead, we're going to give you the opportunity to ask questions about the case. Avery Friedman will be back to answer your legal questions about the Schiavo case later this hour. E-mail your questions to us at

NGUYEN: All right, here's a question for you. Do you ever drink water on a plane? It's probably more than you want to know, but that glass of airline water could come with e. coli, sewage, and plenty of other hazardous stuff. And the EPA can thank this frequent flying teenager for their revelation. We have those details later on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.



NGUYEN: On this Easter Sunday, guess what the Easter bunny brought?

HARRIS: Chad Myers.

NGUYEN: Chad Myers.


HARRIS: And this morning, we are giving you a chance to ask questions about Terri Schiavo's case. The man with the answers is standing by, leading civil rights attorney Avery Friedman.

Happy Easter, everyone. And welcome back to CNN SUNDAY MORNING. I'm Tony Harris.

NGUYEN: And I'm Betty Nguyen. We'll tackle those questions in just a few minutes. We know you have a lot of them.

First though, a look at the morning headlines, including the latest on the Schiavo case.

An Easter appearance by the pope. John Paul II blessed thousands of pilgrims from his window at the Vatican this morning. The ailing pontiff tried to read a traditional blessing, but his voice just wasn't strong enough to be heard.

Back to the Schiavos now. They have lost another round in court. The Florida Supreme Court has dismissed a petition by Terri Schiavo's parents to have their daughter's feeding tube reinserted. Doctors say Schiavo will likely die by next Friday.

The last two final four teams, they will be decided today. Louisville and Illinois advanced Saturday. Both teams coming from behind to do it. Number one ranked Illinois overcame a 15 point deficit with only four minutes left in regulation. They went on to beat Arizona 90 to 89 in overtime. That's a close one.

Now the other regional final also went on to OT. Louisville was down by 20 points before beating West Virginia 93 to 85.

Time to go global right now and check out some of the other stories making news around the world this morning.

HARRIS: For that, let's turn it over now to Anand Naidoo at the CNN international desk.

Anand, good morning.

ANAND NAIDOO, CNN INTERNATIONAL DESK: Hey, a very good morning to you. We start this morning with news of another explosion in the Lebanese capitol, Beirut. The blast in the mainly Christian sector of the city set fire to a number of multi story buildings.

Officials believe it was as car bomb. Local media say up to eight people were wounded. Damage is widespread. Washington has condemned the attack, saying that it's the third such blast in just a week.

Onto the crisis in Kyrgyzstan. The ousted president of Kyrgyzstan is in Russia. The Kremlin has confirmed that Askar Akayev is in Moscow. That, as Europe's key security body, the Organization for Security and Cooperation, warns it would be unrealistic to hold new elections in the country June 26th. The OSC says it's too short a time to organize an election with so many constitutional questions outstanding. The opposition announced those new polls this weekend.

It looks like the Israeli government is a step closer to its controversial pull out plan from Gaza. A key opponent of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has pledged support for a crucial budget vote next week. Analysts say support from the Shinui Party will help prevent a possible government collapse and clear the way for a Gaza withdrawal. Opponents of that proposal had planned to use the vote to block the pull out plan.

That is it from me. Later on, we'll have news from Iraq. Attempts there to form a government, the assembly trying to form a government. That is later, but now back to Betty and Tony.

NGUYEN: Looking forward to it. Thank you, Anand.

HARRIS: President Bush is spending this Easter Sunday at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. Nearby is the United Methodist Church. And missing from that church is its regular pastor. That's because he is on war duty in Iraq.

CNN's White House correspondent Dana Bash talked to the pastor's family.


DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At United Methodist Church in Crawford, Texas, just down the road from the president's ranch...


...Vickie Berry leads in song. The pastor, her husband, is not by her side, but in Iraq, ministering to 4,000 soldiers at Camp Caldwell near the Iranian border.

Last summer before Chaplain Kent Berry was called up, he worried about violence, terrorism.

Are you scared?

KENT BERRY, CHAPLAIN: Oh, well, you know, they're scary. Yes.

BASH: Now in e-mails back home, he tries to be upbeat.

VICKIE BERRY, KENT'S WIFE: Little tension happens here or there. But you know most of it is good positive stuff. And while he's able to do for the soldiers...

BASH: Sending pictures with Iraqis he calls grateful. A ballot from an election he calls a turning point. Stories of kind gestures, like an offer to hold an Iraqi baby. The tough part for the chaplain is keeping soldiers spirits up.

What is the hardest part?

V. BERRY: Just the day to day separation. You know, wondering how he's doing, how's his day going.

How are you doing?

K. BERRY: Well, fine. You know, it -- good, good. BASH: Berry's wife and children cherish weekly calls. Before he left, Bethany was upset about her dad missing her high school senior year.

BETHANY BERRY, DAUGHTER: I don't want him to go because I want him there for those memories.

BASH: Now he tries to capture precious moments from afar.

K. BERRY: Prom's coming up. Have you bought your dress?

B. BERRY: Yes. Well, we're in the process of buying it.

K. BERRY: Good.

BASH: Getting updates on college applications, sports, even keeping tabs on his younger daughter's boyfriends.

K. BERRY: Are you still going with the same guy that you were going with last week?


K. BERRY: Really?

BASH: Berry gets an occasional letter from his famous neighbor, the First Lady, thanking him for his service in Iraq.

He tells Vickie being from the commander in chief's hometown gives him some notoriety.

K. BERRY: People will come out of just nowhere, and they'll say, you from Crawford? And I'll say, "Yes." (UNINTELLIGIBLE). "Well I understand." And they'll go into and say, "Well, I just want to shake your hand."

BASH: For the most part, Berry's congregants support their pastor's sacrifice, but look forward to the fall when he's ministering back home, not in a war zone.

Dana Bash, CNN, Crawford, Texas.


NGUYEN: Well, we have been asking you this morning to send us your questions about the Terri Schiavo case.

HARRIS: Our legal expert Avery Friedman is standing by. There he is. And he'll answer some of them next on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.


HARRIS: We are taking your questions this morning about the Terri Schiavo case. So let's get some of your answers.

NGUYEN: Joining us again from Cleveland is civil rights attorney Avery Friedman. He has been called a "walking reference source."

HARRIS: Yes, he has been called that, hasn't he?

FRIEDMAN: I don't know. It was "The Wall Street Journal." I don't know where they got that from.

NGUYEN: That's all. Yes, just a small title there.

All right, so let's see how much of a source you are. Because Lorraine in Philadelphia wants to know "if Michael Schiavo has a common law wife and two children with her, isn't this legally considered abandonment? Under these circumstances, why was he granted custody of Terri?"

And I have to tell you, about 20 percent of our viewers have this same question.

FRIEDMAN: Well, it's a wonderful question, Betty, because what a court has to consider is whether or not he is competent to serve as a guardian. And interestingly enough, the court did consider that issue, whether or not his guardianship in some fashion is diminished because of this part of his life.

But the bottom line is Judge Greer decided that he was competent to fulfill his responsibilities. He accepted the testimony of Michael Schiavo and others. And that opinion went all the way up to the Supreme Court.

So while it's a legitimate -- I think emotional argument, the court tested it out in evidence and found that Michael was competent.

HARRIS: OK, could this guardian at litem have petitioned for a divorce on Terri's behalf?

FRIEDMAN: Well, a divorce?


FRIEDMAN: No, no, no.


FRIEDMAN: The guardian ad litem, Dr. Wolfson, was appointed by the court. He was accountable to no one other than the court. And what the guardian ad litem did, Tony, was examine the state of Terri's situation.

It -- the guardian was underconcerned about...


FRIEDMAN: ...about Michael's circumstances.

HARRIS: See, that's why I don't chime in with e-mail questions.

FRIEDMAN: No, no. These are complicated serious legal issues. NGUYEN: They are.


FRIEDMAN: They really are.

HARRIS: Well, let's get to this one from David, because I think this is an interesting question as well. "Isn't this basically involuntary assisted suicide for Terri? If so, aside from having the patients' consent, is this much different from Jack Kevorkian's practice of assisting suicides earning him a criminal conviction and a sentence in prison?

FRIEDMAN: Profoundly different. Wonderful question, radically different in the law.

Assisted suicide is something that is unlawful. It is a process that the law does not permit. There's a big distinction between what Dr. Kevorkian was doing, and one's right of self determination.

In other words, the courts found that it was Terri's decision, not Michael's decision or anyone else's, that this is what she wanted. She did not want to continue to live by artificial means. That's radically different than helping someone die.

NGUYEN: Here's another good question for you. Nida writes, "Why are we being told Governor Bush has no legal ability to help Terri Schiavo? Governors have the right to stop an execution by going over the heads of the courts, so why can't he save her?" And of course, Terri Schiavo's parents have been asking him over and over to save their daughter's life.

FRIEDMAN: That's a profound question, but the answer is relatively easy. What Jeb Bush did is he consulted with the attorney general's office in Florida to ask whether or not he had the independent executive authority to do intervention. And what he was advised and correctly so is that in a case like this, unlike a criminal case, he did not have the right to exercise executive power. And therefore he declined.

Now this is a guy that was very devoted to the cause of Terri Schiavo doing everything he could to keep her alive. So the fact that he actually backed off meant that he respected the law, he followed the advice of the attorney general. And that's what happened here. He did not have the independent executive authority.

HARRIS: Very good, Avery. Very good.

NGUYEN: Yes, living up to that name, a walking reference source on civil rights laws. Thank you, Avery Friedman.

FRIEDMAN: Nice to be with you. Take care.

HARRIS: And time now to browse through some of the stories that we'll be making headlines next week. Tuesday, the Supreme Court gets the low down on the down low. The question before the high court, can the entertainment industry hold the company Crockster and Streamcast libel for what computer users do with their file sharing technology? The multi color flashing dance floor was literally the foundation for the 1977 movie "Saturday Night Fever." The entire floor is going up for auction on Friday. The floor was saved from a New York dance club that closed that week.

And finally, the Washington Monument re-opens Friday, just in time for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The Monument has been closed for about seven months for $15 million in security upgrades.

NGUYEN: When is the last time you offered a friend some advice only to be ignored? It does make you feel a little bit like a doormat, doesn't it? Well, one young author writes about the troubles teenagers face. You can meet her and another super teen who is striving to change the world. There they are. And they're next on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.


HARRIS: Our top stories now. Pope John Paul II appeared at his Vatican window this morning. He tried, but was unable to speak. A cardinal who presided over Easter mass later read the pope's message.

The Florida Supreme Court has rejected an emergency appeal by Terri Schiavo's parents to have their daughter's feeding tube reinserted. Bob and Mary Schindler urged protesters who have maintained a vigil outside Schiavo's hospice to return home and be with their families for Easter.

And in sports, Louisville and Illinois are on their way to the NCAA's final four. Both teams went into overtime and wiped out double digit leads in the men's regional finals yesterday. Louisville beat West Virginia 93 to 85. And Louisville squeaked by my Wildcats Arizona 90 to 89.

Did you know there's a tax for buying things from naked people? CNN's .com's Christina Park coming up in just a few minutes with the skinny on that. Sorry, plus a list of some often overlooked deductions.

NGUYEN: I am almost afraid to ask. All right, let's move on. But first, they may be young, but they've come a long way in just a short amount of time.

CNN SUNDAY MORNING is profiling the 20 teens who will change the world, as picked by "Teen People" magazine. From science, to politics, to social activism, all of these young people are making a big difference.

Thanks to 16-year-old Zach Bjornson-Hooper, the water you're drinking on airplanes is a lot cleaner these days. And 17-year old Kelly McWilliams is a budding author, who explored the issue of teen pregnancy in a way many teens can relate to.

Zach joins us now from San Francisco. And Kelly is in Boston. Good morning to you both. ZACH BJORNSON-HOOPER, SCIENTIST ACTIVIST: Good morning.

NGUYEN: Well, let's start with you, Zach. You're now 16, but let me get this straight. When you were 12, 12 years old, you decided to test drinking water on planes. Why?

HOOPER: My parent's boat has a tank water system similar to an airplane's. And mostly as a precaution, we don't drink the water on our boat. We don't know what could have gotten in it. And it's virtually impossible to clean.

So I was wondering is something is going on on airplanes. And so I decided to test it. Turns out there was.

NGUYEN: So you had a little curiosity. And you wanted to quench that. So you tested the water on Qantas, Virgin, and United. How did you make those testings?

HOOPER: See, I took a sample of the drinking water that they served and pulled it through a filter. The bacteria got caught on the filter. And I transferred that to nutrient medium. And bacteria would grow in that. And I could tell based on the color that the colonies were what kind of bacteria it was.

NGUYEN: All right. You sound like a scientist. So tell me, what did you discover?

HOOPER: Pretty much anything you can think of. There's e. coli, salmonella, sydomonis (ph), in one, there's even insect eggs. And they're in really high amounts also. There's generally more than 100 colonies per milliliter.

NGUYEN: Lovely. Don't like hearing that, but you know what the government didn't either. So what did they do about it?

HOOPER: Well, a few months ago, the EPA decided to do tests similar to mine on 165 flights. And they found similar results. And they're now enforcing to find more.

NGUYEN: Very good. You made a difference there, Zach.

HOOPER: Thanks.

NGUYEN: We also want to talk to Kelly now. She has a book out called "Doormat," which explores teenage pregnancy. Kelly, why this topic of all things?

KELLY MCWILLIAMS, AUTHOR, "DOORMAT": Well, it's a social issue that I was hearing a lot about in my high school and junior high school. You know, it's just sort of talked about. And it's been around forever, but recently it's gotten a lot of media attention.

So I chose that as my social issue and connected it with fiction and created a young adult novel that I hoped kids would be interested in.

NGUYEN: So what's the message in your book?

MCWILLIAMS: I guess it's -- the message is basically just be true to yourself. Teen pregnancy's actually kind of in the background of this character's life. The main character does decide to have a baby, but I guess it's just be true to your own decisions.

NGUYEN: And you're writing another one. Can you give us just a little idea what that one's about?

MCWILLIAMS: Well, I can't say very much, but I'm hoping it'll be about travel, sort of based on some of my own experiences.

NGUYEN: Can't say much. Like a true author, Kelly.

All right, Kelly and Zach, I appreciate you being with us. Before we let you go, though, one more question for each of you. Zach, for those teenagers out there who want to make a difference, you say it's possible. How?

HOOPER: Just go on a whim. Try every chance you can get. And talk to people. There's a whole bunch of resources out there that a lot of people don't take advantage.

NGUYEN: Go on a whim. What's your advice, Kelly?

MCWILLIAMS: I guess I'd just say find something that you love and that you believe in and try it out. You know, give it a try.

NGUYEN: All right, Kelly and Zach, we appreciate your time. And thanks for changing the world in your own special way.

HOOPER: Thank you.

NGUYEN: Best of luck to you.

MCWILLIAMS: Thank you.


HARRIS: If you haven't filed your tax return yet, better get cracking. To help you get started,'s Christina Park has some timely tax tips. Topping the list is the home office deduction.


CHRISTINA PARK, CNN.COM CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That can really come into play if you work out of a home office. A third of American workers do, but most don't claim the deduction. Assuming you qualify, the IRS allows you to deduct a portion of your home's expenses, including mortgage, rent, repairs, utilities and even insurance.

Many Americans don't take decisions they qualify for because they fear it'll be like wearing a sign that reads "audit me." But don't worry, our special report gives you the top five ways to avoid an audit. To start, just close all income, back up, itemized deductions and calculated earned income credit with care.

What who's to say taxes can't be fun? Surf on over for some comic relief, as we look as America's wackiest taxes. In certain states and cities, you'll pay special taxes for buying a deck of cards, possessing illegal drugs, and possibly buying things from naked people.

Yes, that's a new car. Now we know filing your taxes can rank right up there with a root canal. So make your filing seasons as painless as possible at


PARK: Are you filing online, Tony?

HARRIS: No, no, no. I've got issues. I've got tax issues.

PARK: Oh, yes, me too. You're running from the IRS?

HARRIS: I've got problems.

PARK: What...

HARRIS: I'll be walking it in. Please, please, please.

PARK: Well, you can file free at the this year.

HARRIS: Yes, I'll pay in the end.

Christina, thank you.

PARK: Thanks, Tony.

HARRIS: And good morning, Cocoa Beach, Florida. Chad Myers is standing by with the forecast for you and the rest of the country next on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.



HARRIS: Thanks, Chad.

NGUYEN: The next hour of CNN SUNDAY MORNING begins right now.

From the CNN center, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING. It's Sunday, March 27th, Easter Sunday. 8:00 a.m. here at CNN headquarters in Atlanta, 5:00 a.m. on the West Coast, very early there, but we thank you for joining us. I'm Betty Nguyen.

HARRIS: And I'm Tony Harris. Thanks for being with us. Let's get you caught up with the morning headlines. The Florida Supreme Court has dismissed an emergency petition by Terri Schiavo's parents asking that her feeding tube be re-inserted. It is the latest legal setback for the parents, and they've asked the protesters at the hospice in Florida to go home and celebrate Easter.

Convicted sex offender Roger Bentley is being held on $1 million bond in the abduction and death of a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, girl. A body found near an abandoned trailer in a rural section of Iowa is identified as of that 10-year-old Jetseta Gage. The girl died of asphyxiation.

Pope John Paul II appeared this morning at his window overlooking a packed St. Peter's Square. The pope gave the crowd his Easter blessing and listened as a cardinal read his annual message. At one point the 84-year-old pope, who is recovering from throat surgery, tried to speak but he could not.

NGUYEN: Here's what we've got coming up on CNN SUNDAY MORNING for you. A fading life, and fading hopes. We will go live to Terri Schiavo's hospice.

Also, they came, they saw, but they didn't hear. We'll take you to the Vatican for more on the pope's silent blessing.

And in our "Faces of Faith," the Schiavo battle seems to be in its final moments, but the questions it's raising, well, they are just starting.

Now or top story, another legal setback for Terri Schiavo's parents. The Florida Supreme Court says no again, and a lawyer for Schiavo's parents admits he may be running out of legal options. Live now to CNN's David Mattingly who is outside of Schiavo's hospice in Pinellas Park, Florida. David, good morning.

MATTINGLY: Good morning, Tony. About 45 minutes ago we were watching Easter sunrise services being held here outside the hospice where Terri Schiavo is spending her final days. Some of the demonstrators that decided to stay overnight were singing hymns and holding prayers and then two people were arrested as they attempted to go on the property, carrying wine and bread to offer Terri Schiavo communion for Easter morning.

Last night, however, the crowd was much larger for an emotional moment as Terri Schiavo's father, Bob Schindler, went through shaking hands and thanking everyone for their support. The Schindler family asking everyone at that time to please, go home, to go to their families, to spend Easter holidays with their families.

That request was made after the latest appeal to the Florida Supreme Court was rejected, the family's lawyer saying that the legal fight for Terri Schiavo's life is nearing an end. The family now appearing to put their hopes on continued political pressure.


BROTHER PAUL O'DONNELL, SCHINDLER SPIRITUAL ADVISER: Governor Bush, you do have the authority to stop the killing of Terri Schiavo within your executive office. We beg you to have courage and take action. Terri declaration last week when she tried with all her might to say, I want to live, trumps everything that has preceded in court. That declaration calls for you to take her into protective custody and save Terri.


MATTINGLY: The court rejecting the argument that Terri Schiavo was actually trying to speak. And in the past, Governor Jeb Bush has stated that he's done all that he can legally do. Terri Schiavo is now entering her ninth day without a feeding tube and doctors have predicted that she could see the end of her days sometime by the end of this week. Tony.

HARRIS: CNN's David Mattingly, David, thank you.

NGUYEN: Is Terri Schiavo in peace or in pain? Well, it depends on who you ask. Husband Michael Schiavo and his lawyer have been at Terri's bedside. Michael Schiavo has said for years that his brain- damaged wife would have wanted to die under these circumstances. And now his lawyer says she's finally at peace.


FELOS: Frankly, when I saw her, and it's the first time I've seen her since the artificial life support was removed eight days ago, she looked beautiful. And in all the years I've seen Mrs. Schiavo, I've never seen such a look of peace and beauty upon her.


HARRIS: But Terri Schiavo's relatives tell a very different story. They say the woman is showing signs of dehydration and starvation, including chapped and bleeding lips and peeling skin. Schiavo's brother says some people need to take a closer look at his sister.


BOBBY SCHINDLER: People have taken the time to look into the facts of the case understand what is going on and why they're so outraged. And I want to say one other thing. All the people that have, you know, agreed or thought that it's best for my sister to die in this fashion, and have disagreed with what Congress has done or the governor has done to intervene to help save my sister, I ask them, they should all go in right now and visit my sister and then when they come out, ask them the same question again.


HARRIS: We will bring you more from Bobby Schindler, along with the latest on the still-developing story next hour on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.

Millions of you are following the Terri Schiavo case, so you've probably heard just about every angle. Well, this morning we're giving you the opportunity to ask your legal questions about the case. E-mail those questions to us at Legal expert Kendall Coffey will answer some of your questions next hour. NGUYEN: He's 84 years old and recovering from surgery, but the pope still electrified the crowd this morning, appearing at his window to deliver his blessing. The pope's annual message read by a cardinal concluded with these words: happy Easter to all from the Vatican, John Paul II. More on the pope's appearance from Alessio Vinci, our bureau chief in Rome. Happy Easter, Alessio.

VINCI: Happy Easter to you, Betty and not even a rainy day here in Rome, a rainy morning here in Rome could keep tens of thousands of pilgrims away from St. Peter's Square and as they gather there before the Easter mass began, the expectation to see the pope was clearly palpable in the air. Many of the pilgrims with whom we spoke with, clearly hoping to be able to see the pope and eventually the 84-year- old pontiff rewarded the crowd by making a lengthy appearance from the window of his apostolic palace overlooking St. Peter's Square, a lengthy appearance which lasted about 12 minutes, much longer than we had originally anticipated, certainly longer than previous ones.

The pope sat at the window while Cardinal Sodano read a message on the pope's behalf, his traditional urbi ex orbi, the Sunday, the Easter Sunday blessing known as urbi ex orbi, which is to the city and to the world, in which the pope called for peace in the Middle East and Africa, as well as prayed for the victims of natural disaster and those suffering from hunger and poverty. Of course, the message made all the more poignant given the pope's own ailments, but as you can see, the pope really electrifying the crowds, the tens of thousands in St. Peter's Square, at some point even trying to speak himself. A microphone was put in front of his mouth, but eventually the pope could not say a word. We only could hear perhaps a whisper or murmur, but eventually he opted to give his own blessing silently by making the sign of the cross by hand. Betty, back to you.

NGUYEN: No doubt he electrified the crowd, but do we know any details on the pope's condition as he is recovered, after leaving from the hospital?

VINCI: Well, officially we don't know much since the Vatican has not issued a single medical bulletin ever since he was discharged from the hospital back on March 13th. You know, what we can -- what we can say about his health is what we see on television when he makes these appearances. He was well enough clearly to sit for 12 minutes at the window overlooking St. Peter's Square. It was quite cold here in Rome today, so certainly the doctors took a chance there to keep him there for such a long time.

At the same time, you could also see he was clearly in pain. At some point he sneezed, and you could see that even a sneeze produced very much discomfort in his body. So he's in a terrible amount of pain, pain not only because of the surgery of course, but because of the Parkinson's disease that's has been afflicting him for the last 10 years or so. So certainly this is a pope who was in clear pain, suffering, but also a pope who is not dying, at least not soon.

NGUYEN: A pope who is determined, especially on this Easter Sunday. Alessio Vinci in Rome, thank you. HARRIS: Checking other headlines across America, Sun Devils running back, Loren Wade, has been arrested for allegedly shooting a former player to death during an argument. Brandon Falkner, who played for Arizona State from 1999 to 2001 was killed early yesterday outside a nightclub in Scottsdale.

In Oregon this incredible rescue of a woman whose vehicle went off a bridge and sank in the Willamette River. Despite the plunge into icy waters, police say her injuries were not serious.

And in Red Lake, Minnesota, a horse-drawn wagon carried the coffins of two of last Monday's shooting victims. Tribal policeman Daryl Lussier, and his companion, Michelle Sigana, were the first people killed by 16-year old gunman Jeff Weise, Lussier's grandson. Among the dignitaries who came to pay their respects, Minnesota's governor.


GOV. TIM PAWLENTY (R), MINNESOTA: In life we don't get to choose which tragedies visit us or when, but we do get to choose how to respond to them and so I just wanted to encourage that all of us try to find some good that can come out of this.


HARRIS: And during the funerals, a bald eagle circled overhead. The bird holds tremendous spiritual significance in Native American culture.

Terri Schiavo's situation has become a flash point for many, stoking both sides of a difficult debate, the right to live and the right to die. We take on the issue straight ahead in our "Faces of Faith" this Easter Sunday.

NGUYEN: And look at this, good morning, Cocoa Beach, Florida. Heavy rains are making their ways eastward. Find out if it's coming your way in our look at the nation's weather. That's coming up.


NGUYEN: Look at this picture, Cocoa Beach this morning, beautiful look at the ocean there, a little foggy though. That is rain that's supposed to be headed that way.

HARRIS: Yeah, a lot of rain in Florida, a lot here in Atlanta. Chad Myers, you know, I can't do his job.

NGUYEN: You know, and today with all this rain on Easter Sunday, with all of those Easter egg hunts, no one wants to do your job, Chad.

HARRIS: He's the man with the knowledge, there he is.


NGUYEN: Thanks, Chad. Terri Schiavo enters her tenth day without food or water. The Florida Supreme Court yesterday dismissed an emergency petition from the parents to re-insert her feeding tube. Their attorney says there will be no more Federal appeals.

Also, Pope John Paul II gave a silent blessing to tens of thousands of visitors in St. Peter's Square for Easter. The pope appeared at his Vatican window and he tried, but he was unable to speak.

In sports today, Louisville and Illinois are on their way to the NCAA's final four. Both teams went into overtime, OT and wiped out double digit leads in the men's regional finals yesterday. Louisville beat West Virginia 93 to 85 and Illinois squeaked by Arizona, just 90 to 89.

HARRIS: Messed up my brackets there. All right. Your turn to weigh in on the Terri Schiavo case. Our legal expert answers your questions about the case. E-mail those questions to us right away.

NGUYEN: And having trouble remembering important dates, like your wedding anniversary? You better remember that one. Later on HOUSE CALL, Dr. Sanjay Gupta shows you just how memory works and how you can improve it.


HARRIS: In our "Faces of Faith" this Easter Sunday morning, the Terri Schiavo case raises heart-wrenching questions about life and death and that debate is especially passionate in the religious community. Retired Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong is the author of many books including "Here I Stand." He believes Schiavo has the right to die with dignity. Bishop Spong joins us from New York this morning and from Washington, the Reverend Paul Schenck of the National Pro Life Action Center. He urged President Bush to use his executive powers to protect Schiavo. Gentlemen, good to see you both.

Reverend Schenck, let me start with you and ask you why you felt it was a good idea for the president to get involved in this matter.

REV. PAUL SCHENCK, NATL PRO-LIFE ACTION CTR: Well, the first thing we have to do is distinguish this from a right to die case. Terri was not dying until her food and water were taken away from her. And the first responsibility of a elected official is to protect the citizens. So we asked the Bushes, both President Bush and Governor Bush, to intervene and use their executive powers to deploy the police at their disposal to protect Terri. That from a coalition of over 20 organizations in the United States, most of which were religious.

HARRIS: And Bishop Spong, for a lot of folks, the president and Congress getting involved made this very political and not about Terri Schiavo herself, but by -- about coalescing constituent groups.

JOHN SHELBY SPONG, EPISCOPAL BISHOP (RET): There's certainly some truth in that. I suspect, I think the problem that we're dealing with that modern medicine and scientific technology have become so brilliant and wonderful that we have expanded life to boundaries that we never thought possible before. But then you come across a final moment where you -- you stop expanding life and to begin to postpone death and I think that's where we are. And this means that human beings have a responsibility now to make decisions about their own death and their own dying that our grandparents would never have had to do. A 100 years ago, Terri Schiavo would have been dead already. It's only because human technology and science have been so remarkable that she's still alive. And this is the debate.

HARRIS: Yeah. Reverend Schenck, let me ask you, if Terri Schiavo was being allowed to die right now at her own wish, her own expressed wishes, would she in your opinion, be committing a sin?

SCHENCK: Well, first of all, let's carefully distinguish between letting someone die, which can be moral and making them die, which is never moral. We are never to take direct action that causes an innocent person to die. Now, if Terri had expressed this wish with her own voice at this stage, well, then we have to very carefully apply Christian tradition, moral tradition, to that question. And when we come down to it, no matter how difficult it may be, we do not have the right to determine the time or the circumstance of our own death. That is God's domain. What we do have an obligation to do is to bring comfort, aid, healing, love, and compassion to embrace that dying person or to embrace that suffering person or to embrace that disabled person in the bosom of our love. That's the church's obligation. That's the family's obligation. That's each and every individual's obligation.

HARRIS: Reverend Schenck, let me ask you. You've seen these pictures of Terri Schiavo. Is that life or is that merely existing?

SCHENCK: Oh, it's most definitely life. Look, all of us are at different stages of dependency. We're all at different stages of our existence. A person is alive when their soul is united to their body. And the evidence of this is the physical and natural breath. As long as the breath is in the body and the person is breathing, their soul is united to their body and they are a full person. The suffering person is what we call in Christian tradition a sign of contradiction to our own inclination to selfishness. The suffering person brings us out of ourselves and causes us to be concerned about another. So Terri is really a gift to us, drawing us out of ourselves and putting the focus where it should be, and that is serving and loving others.

HARRIS: And Bishop Spong, is this life or is this merely existence?

SPONG: I find it interesting that people that say we have no right to take a life don't seem to understand that medical science has made it possible for us to continue living. We're interfering with people's right to die all the time by making them well and healthy, and I think that's wonderful. The problem, it seems to me, is that if you're going to take that point of view, you've got to apply it everywhere.

Do we have a right to send our young men and women into Iraq to war where they will die, where the Iraqis will die? Do we honor life at prisons like Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib? Do we honor life when we execute criminals in this country? I think all of those are inter- related questions. We have made a decision as a society many, many times that some people need -- have a right to die, or a necessity to die. That's a tough -- that's a tough debate. And the Christian faith...

HARRIS: Well...

SPONG: Let me just say.

HARRIS: Very quickly, very quickly.

SPONG: Christians be in this too, Jesus is quoted saying, I have come that you might have life and that you might have it abundantly. I don't know how anybody could define the existence of this pathetic and sad woman to be...

SCHENCK: With all due respect...

HARRIS: As quickly as you can.

SCHENCK: That's a sad commentary, because the suffering person is the person who deserves our love and care. And today's Easter, it's a celebration of life. Our gospel as Christians is a gospel of life.

HARRIS: And let's leave it there. Let's leave it there. We knew it would be a lively debate. Reverend Schenck and Bishop Spong, we thank you both for being with us.

UNKNOWN: Thank you very much.

NGUYEN: Very interesting.

The Terri Schiavo case has a lot of people ask about living wills and care for elderly parents. Next hour the author of "Hard Questions" Susan Piver joins us live, 9:00 a.m. Eastern on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.

HARRIS: In the meantime, wisdom is built from a lifetime of memories. We may be able to help you in that department, even if you're the type who can't remember where you put your car keys next up on HOUSE CALL. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta looks at the mind and ways to improve your memory. I'm Tony Harris.

NGUYEN: And I'm Betty Nguyen. We'll see you again at top of the hour. HOUSE CALL and your top stories straight ahead.


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