After the Pontifical Academy for Life issued a chilling statement that stunningly expressed support for the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) denying the parents of 10-month-old Charlie Gard the ability to seek additional treatment for their own child, on Sunday Pope Francis issued his own statement rebuking the courts and his own academy.
On Thursday, the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, published the academy’s official response to the tragic situation of young Charlie Gard, whose parents have been denied the chance to seek experimental treatment for their child despite having raised $1.6 million to do so. Below is an excerpt from Paglia’s statement:
The proper question to be raised in this and in any other unfortunately similar case is this: what are the best interests of the patient? We must do what advances the health of the patient, but we must also accept the limits of medicine and, as stated in paragraph 65 of the Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, avoid aggressive medical procedures that are disproportionate to any expected results or excessively burdensome to the patient or the family. Likewise, the wishes of parents must heard and respected, but they too must be helped to understand the unique difficulty of their situation and not be left to face their painful decisions alone.
As The Daily Wire‘s Frank Camp stressed, Paglia’s collectivist “we” and his ultimate dismissal of the parents’ wishes are “deeply chilling,” evidence that the “new think of modern Europe” is winning the battle against “the old values of the Catholic Church.”
But on Friday, Pope Francis made a statement that seemed to rebuke the academy, stating, “To defend human life, above all when it is wounded by illness, is a duty of love that God entrusts to all.”
On Sunday, Francis strengthened that rebuke, saying he wishes that the parents’ “desire to accompany and care for their own child to the end will be respected.”
Catholic news site Crux reports on the Pope’s “recalibration” of the Vatican’s stance on young Charlie:
Wading directly into a charged moral and political debate in the UK, and also appearing to recalibrate an earlier statement from the head of his own Pontifical Academy for Life, Pope Francis on Sunday expressed hope that the desire of 10-month-old Charlie Gard’s parents “to accompany and care for their own child to the end” will be respected.
“The Holy Father follows with affection and commotion the situation of Charlie Gard, and expresses his own closeness to his parents,” reads a statement issued by Greg Burke, the pope’s spokesperson.
“He prays for them, wishing that their desire to accompany and care for their own child to the end will be respected.”
The pope’s message is aligned with his frequent denunciation of what he calls a “throw-away culture,” a term he uses to describe ways in which those society deems to lack value are discarded, such as unborn children, the disabled and the elderly.
Charlie suffers from a degenerative brain disease, infantile onset mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome (MDDS), which is extremely rare and typically fatal. His parents have raised $1.6 million to give their child experimental but potentially life-saving treatment. The children’s hospital, the UK courts, and finally the Orwellian named European Court of Human Rights denied the parents their request to do everything they could to try to save their child.
More from The Daily Wire on Charlie:
H/T Ed Morissey