Pope Francis has asked that the Vatican-owned Bambino Gesù children’s hospital to “do everything possible” to be able to receive little Alfie Evans, the British child whom doctors are prepared to euthanize.
In an interview with Vatican News, Italian Bishop Francesco Cavina, who helped arrange the meeting between Alfie’s father Thomas and Pope Francis on Wednesday, said that the refusal by British judges and hospitals to allow Alfie to leave the country and be treated elsewhere is “unbelievable.”
“From a commonsense point of view, I think we are outside all human logic,” he said.
“Two parents asking to transfer their child from one hospital to another – I do not understand why this should be prevented, if not in Italy then in any other hospital in England,” he said. “It is hard to understand something like this.”
Bishop Cavina was present at the Wednesday meeting between Pope Francis and Alfie’s father, Thomas Evans, which he described as “deeply moving.”
As he listened to Alfie’s father tell his story, at one point the pope said: “I admire you for the courage you have. You are so young but you have the courage to defend your son’s life,” the bishop recalled.
“And at another point he even said that the courage of this father is similar to the love that God has for man, because he does not resign himself to losing us.”
“And I think that was the most moving moment,” he said.
The 23-month-old Alfie has an undiagnosed brain disease, and the British courts have sided with Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool in its intent to remove his life support against his parents’ wishes.
Following an appeal by the parents, on Monday the Appellate Court ruled that Alfie should not be allowed to leave the country. The case is now with the UK Supreme Court.
The president of the Vatican children’s hospital, Mariella Enoc, expressed her team’s readiness to receive Alfie, as well as her consternation with the decision of the British courts.
“We are not questioning the diagnosis by the English hospital,” she said in an interview. “We are only offering the possibility for the child to continue living. For us it is a little difficult to understand why they will not allow him to be transported.”
“You cannot cure everyone, but you can take care of everyone as far as possible. We take away no child’s chance to live,” she said.
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