ENGLAND, May 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – “Cardinal Nichols, this is the culture of death, and you are supporting it,” a mother of three wrote in an open letter to the highest-ranking UK prelate about his response to the Alfie Evans case and the parental rights and bioethics issues that accompanied it.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols made headlines at the end of April for saying Alder Hey Children’s Hospital acted in Alfie Evans’ best interests. The toddler, despite the wishes of the parents, was removed from his ventilator and died five days later.
Nichols said the courts, not Alfie’s parents, were right to be able to decide on the toddler’s care or lack thereof: “It’s very hard to act in a child’s best interest when this isn’t always as the parents would wish – and this is why a court must decide what’s best not for the parents, but for the child.”
“This is truly one of the most disturbing things I have ever heard a Cardinal say,” vestment maker and Catholic blogger Clare Short (not to be confused with the former MP of the same name) wrote in her open letter. “How is it possible that a Catholic Cardinal can side with those who have stripped the parents of all their authority, so they can legally end their child’s life?”
“As a mother of 3 children, I can now see you have no desire to defend my rights as a parent, which are being further and further eroded away by the state,” Short continued. “It is becoming more and more apparent that you were quite happy to sacrifice Alfie Evans and his parents on the altar of political correctness rather than stand up to an increasingly totalitarian state.”
“It is time to decide where your heart really lies,” she wrote.
You told the Polish Bishops last week that “When we discuss the Church’s doctrine here (UK), we must often construct a dialogue on arguments about society’s common good.” Now for someone who said a few moments before, that “Unfortunately, there were also some who used the (Alfie) situation for political aims.” [T[his seems like a very political thing to say. It sounds like to me that you are trying to fit into the politically correct narrative of UK politics. Is this the case? If it is then we really are all in trouble.
Your comments seem to suggest that you felt that Alfie Evans’ death was in his best interests and the interest of society. The “experts” no doubt informed you that it was. But what do you regard as being “society’s’ common good”?
…The British medical system and courts determined that Alfie had to die because of the working assumption that death is preferable to life for disabled people. This utilitarian concept is why you felt that it was in Alfie’s best interests that he should die. I say this because you criticised those trying to save Alfie stating that they “didn’t serve the good of this child”.
It is becoming increasingly clear that you do not oppose this utilitarian ethical ideology.
Short said that vague statements from the UK Catholic bishops in 2013 about the Liverpool Care Pathway not being “inherently unethical” but just “badly implemented” show the embrace of the culture of death. The Liverpool Care Pathway was an “end-of-life protocol” that many denounced as a form of passive euthanasia.
Short also detailed some of the mistreatment Alfie and his parents received from Alder Hey, the unjust removal of the Italian priest who was spiritually supporting the Evans family at the hospital, and the UK hierarchy’s failed, pro-government approach to the case.
“If you decide to continue compromising the faith in order to fit in with the modern values of secularism and utilitarianism, you will remain popular with your powerful friends but you will cause further harm to the Church and to society,” she wrote. “With respect, I must remind you that your ambition, popularity and your career come second to your vocation as servant of Christ and the Church…Forgive me for saying so, but if you are unable or unwilling to lead us in this fight, then you need to pass the baton to someone who will, because we are at crisis point.”
“We are all praying for you,” she concluded.
Editor's note: The open letter can be read in full here.