VATICAN, July 3, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis reversed the Vatican's stance on the court-imposed death of Charlie Gard on Sunday, calling for the wishes of his parents “to accompany and care for their own child to the end” to be respected.
Chris Gard and Connie Yates, the parents of 10-month-old Charlie, have been fighting in European courts for their right to bring him to the U.S. for experimental treatment for his rare muscle and brain disease. They raised over $1 million to do this, but English courts sided with the hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital, which wants to remove him from life support.
Then, the European Court of Human Rights also sided with the hospital. Charlie was scheduled to die on Friday, but his parents have been granted more time with him.
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, who heads the Pontifical Academy for Life, released a statement on Thursday that Catholic and bioethics commentators criticized for its ambiguity and lack of support for Charlie's parents in their battle with the state.
Daniel Payne at The Federalist wrote that Paglia's statement “waffles between limp-wristed equivocations and outright willful ignorance of church teaching.” Michael Brandon Dougherty at National Review called Paglia's statement a “disgrace,” noting situation of the parents has “a hostage-situation feel that is Kafkaesque.”
“The Holy Father follows with affection and emotion the case of little Charlie Gard and expresses his own closeness to his parents,” Greg Burke, director of the Holy See press office, said in a statement Sunday. “For them he prays, hoping that their desire to accompany and care for their own child to the end is not ignored.”
On Monday, President Trump tweeted his support of Charlie's parents and their efforts to save their baby's life. He cited Pope Francis.
There was a protest in support of Charlie outside Buckingham Palace on Sunday.