Alfie Evans has died. Before he died, God be praised, he was baptized into the Catholic Church. As such, we can be confident that he is now experiencing the joy of the presence of his Heavenly Father. Our prayers are no longer for him, but for his parents, Tom and Kate, and his family. We also pray for the millions touched by his life and now mourning his death, and for the policy-makers and spiritual leaders who must now decide how to respond to the global controversy caused by Alfie's case. One such answer would be an "Alfie's Law", requiring the State to leave primary care of children with their parents.
The Alfie case was extraordinary in many respects, not least because of the enormous outpouring of sympathy for the boy and his parents. His parents' pleading media interviews, in which their haggard and care-worn appearance made tangible the fierce strength of their love for their son, and their courage in standing up to the totalitarian power of the State in pursuing what that love told them to do, touched the hearts of many.
And yet, in the end, the State won, and Alfie is dead. So now, as the fierce emotions of the battle recede into the ache of mourning, it is the time to ask: What have we learned from the Alfie case? And what can be done to ensure that a similar case never happens again?
It is worth remembering that it is less than a year since the case of Charlie Gard drew the gaze of the globe to the UK. The details of both cases are remarkably similar: young children diagnosed with incurable and fatal illnesses, but whose parents disagreed with medical professionals on the immediate next steps to be taken. In Charlie's case, his parents wanted to fly their son to the United States for an experimental treatment. However, they were prevented from doing so by the hospital, which argued that the treatment was not in Charlie's “best interests.” In Alfie's case, his parents wanted to continue life support, but the hospital argued (in one judge's words) that it “is not in (Alfie’s) best interests to keep him alive.” . . .
()Sincerely yours in Christ,