The father of little Alfie Evans met with Pope Francis in the Vatican Wednesday and pleaded with him to help save his son, who has been sentenced to be euthanized against his parents’ wishes.
Thomas Evans flew to Rome to meet with the pope, and after their meeting Francis modified his Wednesday speech to pilgrims, adding a special appeal for the lives of Alfie Evans and Vincent Lambert, a Frenchman who is also due to be taken off life support.
At their private meeting in the Pope’s Santa Marta residence, Evans read out a statement in which he pleaded for “asylum” for Alfie, noting that the child “is sick but not dying and does not deserve to die” and that he is “not terminally ill.”
“Our hospitals in the U.K. do not want to give disabled children the chance of life and instead assisting in the death of children,” he said. “We now have realized our son’s life does not mean much to the NHS [National Health Service]. We plead to you to help our son.”
Mr. Evans said that he and his wife wish to bring Alfie to Italy, to the Bambino Gesù children’s hospital, “where we know he is safe and he will not be euthanized.” The Vatican-owned hospital in Rome has previously offered to admit the child, but British courts have refused to allow him to be removed from the Liverpool hospital.
“Alfie has not yet shown us he is ready to go, so we continue to fight just as he shows us to,” he said.
In his address to pilgrims later Wednesday morning, Pope Francis urged authorities to spare the life of young Alfie Evans, as well as Vincent Lambert in France, another disabled person due to be euthanized.
“I draw attention again to Vincent Lambert and Little Alfie Evans, and I would like to reiterate and strongly confirm that the only Lord of life, from the beginning to the natural end, is God!” Francis announced before the crowds gathered in Saint Peter’s Square.
“And our duty, our duty is to do everything to preserve life,” he declared. “We think in silence and pray that the lives of all people and especially of these two brothers of ours are respected. Let us pray in silence.”
In Wednesday’s statement, the pope staked out a clear position, reminding those responsible for end-of-life decisions that only God is “the Lord of life” from its beginning through to its “natural end.”
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