Alfie Evans

So, a very ill child has died in Liverpool. It’s a case that has stirred up many keystrokes in social media, and a combination of heartache, heartburn, and heartless politicization. A brief summary at all things wiki is here. The Google will probably net you many other opinions on the matter.

I was alerted when a few pro-life friends began posting on their social media. A few labelled the hospital as “evil.” More just labelled the actions as evil: the suggestion that after a year on a respirator and tubes for feeding and hydration that the time had come for the boy, whose brain had nearly totally dissolved, to be permitted to allow natural death to take its course. Complicating matters was the threat of legal action from the parents toward the hospital and its personnel, a willingness of other hospitals to receive the lad, and what many considered a strange unwillingness on the part of the hospital where Alfie Evans had lived since December 2016 to release him to another facility. No single commentator had all the facts–legal, personal, medical, religious–in this affair, but many seemed willing to offer very strong opinions.


The ugliness of many actions from those who say they supported the child–at the hospital doors, in social media, in protests–likely smatters soot on the pro-life movement in the eyes of many.

Mark Shea, unabashedly pro-life, and also thorn in the side of extremists, mentioned:

I have already kicked one “Well, Alfie’s dead. I hope you are happy” vermin out of my comboxes. Don’t be the next one.

Nobody murdered Alfie and nobody wanted him to die. Alfie’s tragic death was from natural causes and I mourn it and pray for him and all who love him. I will not tolerate anybody using him as a culture war weapon. Got it?

I generally find overseas journalism to be trustful, and here’s an interesting story about the political supporters of the case.

A few of my fb contacts are alarmed at me. I object to labelling people and/or their actions as “evil” or such and I say so. My own suspicion is that relationships broke down behind the scenes, possibly because of activists allied with the family, possibly because of the threat of litigation. My lament is that a tragedy becomes an opportunity for anyone to stand up on a soapbox and preach what other people want to do when the better course would be to hush up and pray.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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