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Alfie Evans: UK Bishops, criticism of those who care for him “with integrity” and “for his good” are “unfounded”

“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”. This is what the UK Bishops wrote in a statement released by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference immediately after the meeting that Pope Francis had this morning in Rome with Thomas Evans, the father of little Alfie, before the audience in St. Peter’s Square.
“Our hearts go out to the parents of Alfie Evans – the UK Bishops wrote – and our prayers are for him and with them as they try to do all they can to care for their son”. Alfie is a 23-month-old English baby who is suffering from a serious neurological condition. The Bishops defend the work of the hospital where the child is being treated: “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”.
In their statement, the Bishops also mentioned the offer – as in the case of the other English toddler Charlie Gard – 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”. And they concluded: “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”.
Last Sunday, Pope Francis had already made an appeal for “people, such as Vincent Lambert in France, little Alfie Evans in England, and others in different countries, who have been living, sometimes for a long time, in a condition of serious infirmity, and are medically assisted for their basic needs”. And assuring them of his prayers, he had asked to treat these people “with great respect for life”. Today, too, at the end of the audience, the Pope’s thoughts went again to Vincent Lambert and little Alfie Evans.

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