Moral Low Ground


2nd Child of ‘Faith Healing’ Philadelphia Couple Herbert and Catherine Schaible Dies

Herbert and Catherine Schaible

A Philadelphia couple whose young son died of pneumonia after he was refused medical treatment because they believed in ‘prayer healing’ has lost a second child, who was also allegedly denied medical care.

CBS Philadelphia reports that Catherine Schaible, 43, and her 44-year-old husband Herbert Schaible were convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the 2009 death of their 2-year-old son Kent. They were sentenced to 10 years’ probation and were ordered to take their surviving children for medical checkups.

But when the couple’s 8-month-old son Brandon fell ill, suffering from diarrhea, breathing problems and loss of appetite, they allegedly once again eschewed medical treatment and turned to what they believe is the power of ‘faith healing.’ Brandon died.

The Associated Press reports that the Schaibles appeared in court on Monday, where a judge told them that they had violated the terms of their probation.

“You did that once, and the consequences were tragic,” Judge Benjamin Lerner said, referring to ‘prayer healing’ and Kent’s death.

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s office said it would decide whether or not to file charges against the Schaibles after the results of an autopsy are released. Prosecutors sought to have the couple jailed, but Judge Lerner refused because their seven surviving children have been placed in foster care.

“There are way more questions than answers at this point. We haven’t seen the autopsy report,” Mythri Jayaraman, Catherine Schaible’s attorney, told the AP. “What we do know is Mr. and Mrs. Schaible are distraught, they are grieving, they are tremendously sad about the loss of their most recent baby.”

Jayaraman added that the Schaibles are good parents.

“Nobody argues that these aren’t very loving, nurturing parents,” Jayaraman said. “Whether their religion had anything to do with the death of their baby, we don’t know.”

The Schaibles grew up in the First Century Gospel Church, where they have both taught. The church believes that “it is a definite sin to trust in medical help and pills.”

“It is real faith to trust on the Name of Jesus for healing,” according to the church.

Neighbors reacted to the death of the Schaible’s second child with shock.

“That child could’ve lived with just a little medication and vaccines and all that,” opined Mary Ellen Scannapieco when interviewed by CBS Philadelphia.

“What if another one gets sick? Are you going to let the same thing happen again? So it makes me think that they don’t care that much,” Terrence Richardson told CBS.

Last year, Oregon couple Brandi and Russell Bellew lost custody of their six surviving children after their 16-year-old son Austin Sprout died because the couple relied upon ‘faith healing’ and rejected medical care to treat his appendicitis. The Bellews pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and were sentenced to five years’ probation.

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