LONDON, England, April 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic bishops of England and Wales have weighed in on the case of baby Alfie Evans, saying that the courts and hospital are acting “with integrity and for Alfie's good” in deciding that removing life-support is in the baby’s “best interest.”
“We affirm our conviction that all those who are and have been taking the agonising decisions regarding the care of Alfie Evans act with integrity and for Alfie's good as they see it,” the bishops stated.
The statement follows today’s surprise meeting between Pope Francis and Alfie Evan’s father this morning at the Casa Santa Marta in Rome. (Full text below.)
They say that the “professionalism” and “care for severely ill children” at Alder Hey should be “recognized and affirmed.” They also state, citing chaplaincy staff who work at the hospital, that “reported public criticism of their work is unfounded.”
Noting that the Vatican’s Bambino Gesù hospital has offered to treat Alfie, they assert that it is up to “that Hospital” to make a case to the British courts.
Alfie Evans is a neurologically damaged infant at the centre of a dispute between his parents and the Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust. Alder Hey wishes to remove Alfie’s breathing apparatus and commence palliative care. Alfie’s parents, Thomas Evans and Kate James, want Alfie to be transferred to the Bambino Gesù hospital in Italy. On Monday, they lost their bid at the UK Court of Appeal to have Alfie released from Alder Hey hospital
Alfie Evans and his father Thomas are baptized Catholics. Thomas wrote of his sorrow to the Archbishop of Liverpool after an Archdiocesan memo was leaked to the press, denying that Alfie’s parents were Catholics. (Kate James was baptized in the Reformed tradition.)
Yesterday morning, Francesco Cavina, the Bishop of Carfi, received a request from Liverpool that Pope Francis would meet with Thomas Evans. Evans arrived in Rome this morning and had an “emotional” meeting with the Holy Father. Pope Francis praised the young father for his courage and said it resembled the love of God in His reluctance to lose any of His children.
Italian newspaper La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana has reported that Pope Francis has opened diplomatic channels “so that all initiatives be taken to transfer the child to the Bambino Gesù in Rome.”
Alder Hey children’s hospital has been praised again and again by judges in the UK’s court system. However, it does not have an unblemished reputation. In 1999, it was at the center of scandal in which it was discovered that the children’s hospital, like other NHS facilities, had been retaining the organs and other tissues of deceased children without seeking their parents’ permission.
Statement on case of Alfie Evans from Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales
Our hearts go out to the parents of Alfie Evans and our prayers are for him and with them as they try to do all they can to care for their son.
We affirm our conviction that all those who are and have been taking the agonising decisions regarding the care of Alfie Evans act with integrity and for Alfie's good as they see it.
The professionalism and care for severely ill children shown at Alder Hey Hospital is to be recognised and affirmed. We know that recently reported public criticism of their work is unfounded as our chaplaincy care for the staff, and indeed offered to the family, has been consistently provided.
We note the offer of the Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome to care for Alfie Evans. It is for that Hospital to present to the British Courts, where crucial decisions in conflicts of opinion have to be taken, the medical reasons for an exception to be made in this tragic case.
With the Holy Father, we pray that, with love and realism, everything will be done to accompany Alfie and his parents in their deep suffering.