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Pope supports parents of Charlie Gard; Trump offers to help

July 03, 2017

Pope Francis has offered a statement of sympathy for the parents of Charlie Gard, the 10-month-old child who faces death in a London hospital after his parent were denied legal permission to take him to the US for experimental treatment of his rare genetic disorder.

In a July 3 statement the Pope expressed “affection and emotion” for the child and his parents. He added: “For them he prays, hoping that their desire to accompany and care for their own child to the end is not ignored.”

The papal statement contrasted with earlier staments by Archbishop Vicenzo Paglia, the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, and by the bishops’ conference of England Wales. Neither of those statements had affirmed the rights of the parents to determine the appropriate course of treatment for their child. Even the Pope’s statement did not directly address to question of justice that arose when English courts, followed by the European Court of Human Rights, ruled that the hospital could override the parents’ wishes.

Earlier, on July 2, Pope Francis had issued a more general statement on his Twitter account that some readers saw as a reference to the Charlie Gard case: “To defend human life, above all when it is wounded by illness, is a duty of love that God entrusts to all.”

Update: President Donald Trump has offered to help make it possible for Charlie Gard to come to the US for treatment. The American leader hinted that Pope Francis had encouraged his involvement. On his busy Twitter account, Trump said: “If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the UK and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.”

Amid rumors of diplomatic activity on behalf of the child and his parents, British Prime Minister Theresa May declined to comment on Trump’s remark, saying that the matter is “a very sensitive case.”

From Moscow, Metropolitan Hilarion, the chief external-affairs official of the Russian Orthodox Church, said that the European Court’s decision ignoring the rights of Charlie Gard’s parents was a “monstrous” decision, demonstrating “a deep crisis in the concept of human-rights protection.”


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  • Posted by: wojo425627 - Jul. 04, 2017 10:58 AM ET USA

    The horror of this case is that fact that basically no one but the Russian metropolitan has stated with CLARITY that this is a gross violation of parental rights and is just another episode in the downward spiral of secularism and state control taking rights from the family. Beware America it may be coming here next.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Jul. 04, 2017 7:03 AM ET USA

    One would think that the eugenicists in the UK who want to murder this child would be happy to kick the problem across the pond.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 03, 2017 11:42 PM ET USA

    what if the parents want to just take their baby home and be with him in his last days/months, etc? Let us hope that either the US can help him or Gesu Bambino hospital can assist him and his parents.

  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Jul. 03, 2017 10:55 PM ET USA

    Better late than never, but not much better.

  • Posted by: filioque - Jul. 03, 2017 6:47 PM ET USA

    Metropolitan Hilarion seems to be the only cleric who has his head screwed on straight. Perhaps he is the only one not wedded to the EU.

  • Posted by: feedback - Jul. 03, 2017 6:05 PM ET USA

    It is good to see that this case is gaining prominence. There is absolutely no reason to refuse any available treatment to this child.