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Pope Meets Terri Schiavo's Parents

The parents of Terri Schiavo (search) met briefly with Pope Benedict XVI (search) on Wednesday at a general audience in St. Peter's Square (search), 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 (search) and other Vatican officials Tuesday, have thanked the Vatican for its support as they sought to keep their brain-damaged daughter alive.

The framed picture of Schiavo was handed to a prelate standing behind Benedict as the pontiff greeted pilgrims during Wednesday's audience.

Schiavo died March 31 in a hospice in Florida after her parents unsuccessfully battled a court order to have her feeding tube removed. She died 13 days after the tube was 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 removal of her feeding tube a violation of the principles of Christianity and civilization.