Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Charlie Camosy on "Alfie Evans and Our Moral Crossroads"

A powerful piece, at First Things, from Prof. Charles Camosy on the very disturbing case in the U.K.   Here's a bit:

. . . Let us not mince words. As with Charlie Gard before him, Alfie Evans’s death is being aimed by the very people whose vocation it is to help and protect him. The difference in Alfie’s case is that, because he has continued to breathe, the pretense of “removal of burdensome treatment” is patently absurd. In a situation that was no doubt distressing to those who hoped he would die, Alfie’s continuing to breathe has clarified the true object of the act of removing his ventilator.

Of course, as with Charlie before him, we had more than enough evidence to make such a judgment, even before Alfie was extubated. The primary judge who refused to allow Alfie to travel to Italy was concerned with Alfie’s brain damage, not with the burden of treatment. Alfie’s disability is likely to be profound, and thus, according to the judge, it is in Alfie’s best interests to die. . . .

Pope Francis has admirably been on the side of both Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans. The broader Catholic hierarchy, the UK bishops, and the men around Francis, however, seem cold and complacent, deferring to a medical and legal establishment that refers to the application of Catholic moral theology to these cases as “ridiculous emotive nonsense.”

Perhaps those who are not infected with the ableism of the developed secular West are in a better position to respond to such a charge. The Brazilian bishops, interestingly, have put out a video insisting that the UK government has a duty to use its resources to support those who most need it, and that Alfie’s life must be protected.

Indeed. Enough with the deference to the medical and legal establishment and its judgements about which lives are worth living. Now is a time for choosing. The most vulnerable require our clear and uncompromising support.

It must be underscored:  It is not just that resources are scarce and that, in this case, it seems they are not being allocated justly.  It's that the authorities are refusing to allow the child's parents to care for him someplace else, via means that will cost the U.K. nothing.  It is not an exaggeration to call this a kidnapping.


Garnett, Rick | Permalink