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The Catholic Association voices support for Alfie Evans’ parents

“For the government of the U.K. to usurp the paternal and maternal role in the Alfie Evans case, and to override their wishes to bring him elsewhere for treatment, is nothing short of chilling.”

Left: Alfie Evans, a seriously ill British toddler, is pictured in this photo posted by his mother, Kate Evans, to the Facebook group, Alfies Army Official, April 24. Right: Pope Francis blesses Tom Evans, father of the seriously ill child, Alfie Evans, during a private audience in the Domus Sanctae Marthae at the Vatican April 18. (Photos: CNS)

Washington D.C., Apr 26, 2018 / 11:42 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A group dedicated to offering a Catholic voice in the public square has spoken out on behalf of Alfie Evans and his parents, as the court battle surrounding the toddler continues.

“The Catholic faithful along with citizens of good will around the world have rallied and stood with the Pope and with Alfie and his parents in defending their rights and defending the beauty of Catholic social teaching – which expressly condemns exactly what the U.K. government is doing: denying Alfie’s parents their rights to what is best for their child and forcing the child to suffer in his last moments,” said Ashley McGuire, senior fellow with The Catholic Association.

In an April 26 statement, McGuire thanked Pope Francis for his leadership and called on UK Catholics “to join him in standing for Church teaching.”

The Catholic Association, a group that is “dedicated to being a faithful Catholic voice in the public square,” voiced support for the parents of British toddler Alfie Evans, who has been at the center of a months-long court battle.

Just shy of two years old, the young boy is in what physicians have described as a “semi-vegetative state” due to a mysterious degenerative neurological condition that doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, England have not been able to properly diagnose. He has been hospitalized since December of 2016.

Although Italian officials have granted Alfie citizenship and a Vatican-linked hospital has offered to take the toddler for further diagnosis and treatment, UK courts have repeatedly refused to allow the transfer, ruling that it is not in the child’s best interest.

With permission of the court, but against the will of Alfie’s parents, the hospital earlier this week removed Alfie’s ventilator and withheld food and water from the child.

Although the toddler was only expected to live for a few minutes, he was able to breathe on his own for a number of hours, until doctors administered oxygen and hydration. They later administered nutrition as well, after the boy went almost 24 hours without food, according to Alfie’s father.

Rallies in support of Alfie’s parents have been held in London, Washington, D.C., New York, the Vatican.

Pope Francis has also been outspoken about supporting the child’s parents.

The pope, who met with Alfie’s father last week, has offered public prayers for Alfie and his family several times, including at a general audience and in several Twitter posts.

“Moved by the prayers and immense solidarity shown little Alfie Evans, I renew my appeal that the suffering of his parents may be heard and that their desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted,” he said on Twitter Monday.

The Catholic Association has spoken out several times in recent days in support of Alfie’s parents.

“Agonizing medical decisions for a child should be made by the two people who love him the most, those who brought him into the world and are uniquely bonded to him and entrusted with his care — his parents,” said Maureen Malloy Ferguson, senior policy advisor for the organization. “For the government of the U.K. to usurp the paternal and maternal role in the Alfie Evans case, and to override their wishes to bring him elsewhere for treatment, is nothing short of chilling.”

“Throughout history, civil authorities recognize that parents, not the government, should make decisions for the well-being of their children,” said Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, legal advisor for The Catholic Association Foundation. “Alfie’s mom and dad, Tom Evans and Kate James, are not willing to accept their government’s plan to remove life support (including withholding nutrition and oxygen) from their almost two-year-old son.”

“Instead, they want to take advantage of the generous offer of the Italian government to fly their baby to the Vatican’s Bambino Gesù hospital for additional care at the Italian government’s expense,” he continued. “Alfie’s parents should be free to choose alternative, life giving care for their child.”

(CNA Editor’s note: A previous version of this story failed to meet CNA editorial standards and was retracted. CNA apologizes for that error.)


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9 Comments

  1. I am beginning to doubt the sincerity of Pope Francis here. The fact that the Bishops conference in England is getting away with contradicting the gesture of Pope Francis indicates that something sinister is afoot.

    Readers should go to NC Register and read the story of the young woman from England who traveled to the Vatican and stood outside during the night on Sunday 22 April, screaming for Pope Francis to take action to save this little boy.

    I observe that it was only after this that the action took place.

    Alas, I hope that this is not more “orthodox theater” from Pope Francis. A sign of serious intent will be if he upbraids the English Bishops (and the French Bishops in the Lambert case).

  2. For decades the tension in med ethics has been between quality of life v a right to life. The disparity is that severe. The trend is now largely in favor of Quality of Life as the determination of who lives or who dies. The Church is not disaffected in this seen in the transition of The Pontifical Academy for Life instituted 1994 by John Paul II reconstituted 2016 Pope Francis. All members were dismissed and replaced some pro abortionists. The Academy’s new statutes dropped a statement previous Academy members had been required to sign, promising to defend life in accordance with Church teaching. In countermand to this trend is the independently instituted [non Pontifical] John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family established 2017 by Prof Josef Siefert. It includes former members dismissed from the original Pontifical Academy for Life. What is occurring in Britain is political collusion between a socialized secular humanist health care system and Govt intent on implementing without disparity its own ethical code. A code already incorporated within the majority Anglican Church. That the Catholic Church’s official posture apparently leans in favor of a humanist ethics explains the weak response of the Catholic Church in Britain, which may be better named, similar to its counterpart in China the British Catholic Church. This appears the overall transition of the Catholic Church in the world and highlights the immense value of Laity forming institutions consistent with Apostolic Tradition like that established by Josef Siefert.

  3. Let me ask this question again:

    How many of you believe that the late great St. PJP II would have hesitated for an instant before he moved Heaven and Earth for this child?

    • Heaven and Earth were most certainly n o t moved here. Consideration was given, briefly, it seems.
      Whether the fight is carried on remains to be seen. Nevertheless, the heavy lifting will be done by those outsde of Britain. As, for the most part, the Catholic establishment in England/Wales sees Alfie and his father as the problem
      not the hospital or the NHS.

  4. I feel that little Alfie became an unwitting pawn between church and judiciary.

    The following excerpt is partially right…

    “Agonizing medical decisions for a child should be made by the two people who love him the most, those who brought him into the world and are uniquely bonded to him and entrusted with his care — his parents,” The child’s medical team should be included.

    I have read and followed Alfie’s plight and I still don’t know all the English litigants.

    • “The child’s medical team should be included.”

      The parents have a right to decide who the “child’s medical team” is, rather than having their child essentially stolen from them by people whose goal was as far as I can tell a baby dead of thirst and malnutrition.

    • Your unusual statement is poison, indeed.
      “Pawns” and “litigants”? Really?
      Well, Morgan, you can deceive yourself if you wish but we clearly understand your bad act.
      Bet on it.

  5. Bergoglio was weak – he only tweeted once and did not use this as a teaching moment about ‘Thou Shall not Kill.

    I really hope Bergoglio goes away soon. Please go away.

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