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Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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Pope Francis phoned Vincent Lambert’s mom with ‘touching’ message as son lay dying

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

July 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis called Viviane Lambert during the terrible ordeal that led to the deliberate ending of the life of her son, Vincent Lambert, who died of thirst on July 11 after nine days without food and seven without hydration.

She has just confirmed to LifeSiteNews that she received a “touching,” “paternal,” “very personal” message on her mobile phone from the Pope. She has not spoken of this to the media to date.

In the first interview she has given since Vincent’s death, Viviane Lambert told LifeSiteNews about her son’s sufferings, and her own sadness and feelings of “shock and anger” at having to witness Vincent’s slow and cruel killing before her own eyes.

She spoke of the continued interaction she had with him during his last days and also of her profound hope that Vincent is now with God, hopefully in a position to intercede for “France, [which] does not deserve this.”

Viviane Lambert is today an exhausted woman, whose extraordinary courage and resilience have helped her fight seemingly impossible battles. She spoke of her desire to “rest,” but told LifeSite she will not give up her struggle for “justice,” if only for the future potential victims of France’s end-of-life law. That law allowed the legal killing of a man who was severely handicapped and brain-damaged, but certainly not at the end of his life.

Below is the full text of our interview with Viviane Lambert.

LifeSiteNews: Viviane Lambert, you have lived through events that were beyond mere tragedy, you have experienced something unheard of: does anything of it remain with you today that gives you hope for life?

Viviane Lambert (V.L.): These last few days...have followed one another in sadness and helplessness: we were forced to witness the crime committed on Vincent. I dare to use the word “crime” to describe what took place before our helpless eyes. It was terrible for us. We are shocked and angry, and I am still shocked and angry. Fortunately, I have kept my faith, otherwise we would not be sad: we would be in despair. But I still have hope because Vincent now no longer belongs to his executioners, he escaped his executioners by his death, by his departure towards God, and now his soul belongs only to God. And that is something no one can take away. It is my hope, my only hope.

LifeSiteNews: You have been quoted as saying that people should pray for Dr. Sanchez who did this dirty work. What did you mean by that?

V.L.: Yes, that wasn't very long ago, a week before Vincent was put to death; I was still trying to make him understand that his conscience would certainly be different afterwards, and I hope so for his sake! I told him that the only misfortune I could wish him was that Vincent would wake him every night, that he would have nightmares so that he finally regrets what he did. I still hope he will regret it one day. At the time he replied: “Be a Christian, Madam.” I told him: “Doctor, I pray for you every day.” And I think that we should not forget to do so. They are human beings, they will be disoriented, or they will continue… It is cruel. What will happen to them after they die?  We must pray for them! I'm trying to start praying for them again. I had a moment when I couldn’t, I was a bit rebellious, but I’ve [gotten] over that. You have to pray for them, really.

LifeSiteNews: Yes, it is a very great tragedy that has happened, not only for Vincent and for you...

V.L.: For society! Yes, it's cruel, but conversions do occur. I hope so: that they will really be able to ask themselves the right questions.

LifeSiteNews: You mentioned the fact that Vincent was holding on to life. Is this a feeling you had while you were at his bedside during the starvation process?

V.L.: Yes. The day before they stopped food and hydration they supposedly prepared his body so he wouldn't feel it. They still feared the people around them. I saw Vincent completely slumped over. He slept but it was a sleep that was not his own. I went on talking to him, reassuring him, telling him: “We are here, Vincent.” He would open his eyelids and look at us. And then he would once again sink away. He hung on for several days. It’s only during the last few days that really I can hope he didn’t suffer. I didn't see him go…

LifeSiteNews: We can hope that now he is really in the glory of God: he has died a martyr, said Bishop Ginoux.

V.L. Yes, for me he is a martyr of society. Now, the good Lord will do what he wants to do with him, but I have great confidence. He will be my guardian angel [and] perhaps also France's. There was a Vincent before, but there will be a Vincent in the future also. It can't be any other way. Anyway, I'll fight to the end. I'm not finished yet. I'm going to rest. But I will fight against this criminal law. We must fight for France: our France does not deserve this, no. I'll keep fighting.

LifeSiteNews: Is it true that you had a phone call from the Pope?

V.L.: Yes, I got a call from the Pope. It was Cardinal Barbarin who told me: I hadn’t realized. Cardinal Barbarin called me several times, as a good father, very paternal, and he said to me: “I saw the Pope, I told him: ‘We must call Mrs. Lambert.’” He told me that I had to look at my recent messages – I hadn't seen them all, there were so many – and there was indeed a message in Italian that was translated into French for me. A touching, very personal message.

LifeSiteNews: Your lawyers filed a complaint for the attempted murder of a vulnerable person before Vincent died. Do you intend to continue to fight on this front?

V.L.: I told them that I felt in my head that I wanted to give everything up, but we will go to the conclusion of what they have done. One of our cases will be heard on November 26.

LifeSiteNews: So you do think it is important to obtain justice?

V.L.: Of course. It's not right, what happened in the courts. There was a political conspiracy. Justice must be restored. We continue to trust our lawyers. I don't know how far this is going to go now. If anything can be done, it will at least wake the judges' minds. Because otherwise, where are we going?  Today it's Vincent. But what about the others? The other 1,700 disabled people like Vincent… And after them, those with Alzheimer’s?

LifeSiteNews: In fact, you think Vincent was used.

V.L.: Yes. Our family was manipulated. They let themselves be manipulated. I think some of them believe in what they have done. But there is someone like François Lambert [Vincent’s activist half-nephew who campaigned for his uncle’s death] who will have no longer have that axe to grind. He's going to be very lonely. He manipulated everyone, and they let themselves be manipulated. Our family will never be the same again, alas. We will have to give things time, but we are not young… We can only commit everything to God’s grace.

LifeSiteNews: A Requiem Mass for Vincent will be celebrated in Reims this Friday. And then what?

V.L.: Yes, having that Mass really is very beautiful and comforting. We will then leave very quickly because I can no longer stand Reims. I realize that we need to rest, to leave this city where we are so close to the hospital. People look at us in the streets: I try not to pay attention but it's unhealthy, it awakens things. We will simply come back here to move because we were renting: it lasted six years, it was temporary, but there is an end to everything. We have reached the end of this very dramatic sequence, but we are embarking on another that will, I think, be more spiritual.

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