The Pope’s meeting with the father of Alfie Evans
Sergio Centofanti — Vatican City
Alfie's father, Thomas Evans, arrived this morning in Rome from Liverpool to meet the Pope. It was the bishop of Carpi, Francesco Cavina, that asked the Pope about the possibility of an interview. This is the interview with Mgr. Cavina:
A - The meeting was decided yesterday morning, after I had received a request from Liverpool to see if it were possible for Alfie’s father, Thomas, to meet with the Holy Father, because there was the sentence of the Court of Appeals that reaffirmed the decision of the Court of First Instance, namely that the ventilator must be disconnected and this child should die. I must say that within 20 minutes the Holy Father expressed his desire to meet Thomas.
Q - How did this meeting go today?
A - This meeting lasted 20 minutes and it was a meeting, I think I can say, of great emotion. The Holy Father listened with interest to what Alfie's father was saying and at one point he said: "I admire you for the courage you have, you are so young but you have the courage to defend your son's life". And at a certain point he even said that the courage of this father is similar to the love that God has for man in that He does not resign Himself to losing us. And I think that was the most moving moment.
Q - And Thomas's words?
A - He told of his pain, because this was the desire he had, to share his pain with the Holy Father. Then he explained what he’s being subjected to at the hospital that should have Alfie under its care, and which does not allow the family to have him treated at a different hospital. And above all, he told the Holy Father things that, of course, the Holy Father already knew, what the judges say and, that is, that the life of this child is absolutely futile. Thomas instead wanted to reiterate that Alfie is a child of God and precisely because he is a child of God he has the right, since it is God who gave him life, to have God take it away from him when God believes the time has come. And that's why he fights, he's ready to fight until the end.
Q - So the Pope reiterated his support for Alfie's parents: but what comes out of this meeting?
A - At this meeting the Holy Father has instructed me to maintain relations with the Secretary of State so that the Bambin Gesu’ will do all it can to welcome Alfie in its health care facility. And so that's what we're trying to do right now. It is clear that there are major difficulties from a legislative and legal point of view: let's see if it is possible to overcome them.
Q - What are Alfie's father's hopes?
A - Alfie's dad - I must say - came out feeling very heartened. At the end of the meeting, when we were alone, he was very moved and said: "I do not believe it! I do not believe what the Holy Father told me!". To come today they made an absurd journey: they had to go to Athens and then from Athens to Rome: so they practically traveled all night long, even physically deeply tired. In my opinion, not everything is solved. We have to say this, because if we cannot find a willingness on the part of the judges and the British hospitals, everything will become much more difficult, and everything runs the risk of remaining at an impasse like the one we are in now. We must continue to pray. I believe that everything that has been achieved in this period, even the mobilization that has taken place at the level of many people, is the fruit of prayer. We must truly say that the power of prayer is able to overcome all the obstacles that can be put in the way, so that the dignity of the person is respected.
Q - What do you think of this whole incident?
A - From a human point of view, it is and seems incredible. From the point of view of common sense, it seems to me that we are beyond all human logic. Two parents who ask to transfer their child from one hospital to another, I do not understand why this should be prevented: if not in Italy in any other hospital in England. It’s a difficult thing to understand.[ Video Embed: Pope Francis meets the father of Alfie Evans]