As you know, in Great Britain a 10-month old baby, Charlie Gard, has been condemned to death by a panel of doctors (can we call this a “death panel” without progressives messing themselves?) even though the parents have raised nearly $2 million dollars to move him to the United States for an experimental therapy. I posted on Thursday about the story and the unbelievable and seemingly unabashed pro-euthanasia statement issued by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life.
The Academy for Life is the Vatican’s point organization in fighting abortion and euthanasia yet its statement was lukewarm towards the parents of Charlie Gard and bought into the idea that the state, not the parents, have the final say in the welfare of children. It seemed a clear abandonment of the culture of life and of Catholic social teaching on the primacy of the family in child-rearing. And, to me and to others, it seemed like this was yet another of Pope Francis’s efforts to make the Church less threatening to people who actually hate the Church. As such, I didn’t give Pope Francis the benefit of the doubt in this case and I should have.
On Friday, this was sent from Pope Francis’s personal twitter account.
To defend human life, above all when it is wounded by illness, is a duty of love that God entrusts to all.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) June 30, 2017
It seems to be a direct rebuke of the Academy for Life statement. In fact, the Pope’s personal secretary, Greg Burke, shared the tweet, adding #CharlieGard, making it clear what the tweet referred to.
It was followed up by a much stronger statement on Saturday:
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.
(My colleague, Kimberly Ross mentioned this in her Charlie Gard post earlier today, check it out for more developments.)
While the Pope did the right thing, the fact that this happened at all is a travesty. Pope Francis has purged the Academy for Life of the strong pro-life voices put there by Pope Benedict XVI and has included non-Catholics, non-Christians, some of whom hold completely heretical views and at least one supporter of abortion. This is not a good development and instead of the Academy of Life being the first line of defense, now it is merely another Vatican bureaucracy that must be closely watched by the Faithful to ensure that is remains true to Truth.