The Catholic bishops of England and Wales have issued a statement on the case of Alfie Evans, the 23-month-old British boy with a degenerative brain disease.
In their message, issued on Wednesday as Alfie’s father James met with Pope Francis in the Vatican, highlights the “professionalism and care for severely ill children” that is shown at the Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool.
The statement notes that recently reported criticism of hospital staff is unfounded and chaplaincy care is available for both staff and the family of Alfie Evans.
The bishops affirm their 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”.
Please see below the full statement from the 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.