The Culture of Death and the Killing of Alfie Evans
The phrase “Culture of Death” was made famous by St. Pope John Paul II in his encyclical on The Gospel of Life, EVANGELIUM VITAE. If you have not read it, I strongly suggest you do. The great saint prophetically addresses the attack on life we see around us today. The case of Alfie Evans, while not isolated, shines a light on the evil forces at work which wish to destroy the value of human life at every turn.
In the Evangelium Vitae he stated:
“Choices once unanimously considered criminal and rejected by the common moral sense are gradually becoming socially acceptable.”
If he were to pope today, he would likely modify that statement by removing the words ‘gradually becoming’ and replace them with ‘have become.’ Pope John Paul II was a great defender of life, as have been all popes in recent times, and would likely be a lion in defense of Alfie Evans and all whose lives are being snuffed out by the Culture of Death.
Pope John Paul II further addresses what we see in the Alfie Evans case today:
“On a more general level, there exists in contemporary culture a certain Promethean attitude which leads people to think that they can control life and death by taking the decisions about them into their own hands. What really happens in this case is that the individual is overcome and crushed by a death deprived of any prospect of meaning or hope. We see a tragic expression of all this in the spread of euthanasia-disguised and surreptitious, or practiced openly and even legally. As well as for reasons of a misguided pity at the sight of the patient’s suffering, euthanasia is sometimes justified by the utilitarian motive of avoiding costs which bring no return and which weigh heavily on society. Thus it is proposed to eliminate malformed babies, the severely handicapped, the disabled, the elderly, especially when they are not self-sufficient, and the terminally ill. Nor can we remain silent in the face of other more furtive, but no less serious and real, forms of euthanasia. These could occur for example when, in order to increase the availability of organs for transplants, organs are removed without respecting objective and adequate criteria which verify the death of the donor.”
Has society lost its understanding of the value of all human life? When society rejects the value of human life, it deteriorates the very core of the for our reason for existence. We reject our relationship with our Creator in whose image we are all created. We reject our Creator who we are bound to love.
Before I jump into more detail on Alfie Evans, I would like to first speak from the heart as a father and grandfather to Alfie’s dad, Tom Evans. I pray that somebody will hand this to him to read.
Tom, the world needs more fathers like you. Men who are willing to sacrifice everything for their children. Men who are willing to stand up against the evil in a culture which is willing to destroy our children and families. If more dads were willing to fight for their children, you probably would not be in the situation you are in today. If more men were willing to fight for their children, abortion would be virtually nonexistent today. You have made men proud all over the world. God is working through you in this battle.
God is on your side. Of this I have no doubt.
“Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood, but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day, and having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all [the] flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:10-20)
For those of you who have not been paying attention, Alfie Evans is a 23 month old seriously ill little boy who has been under the care of Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, England. As has been documented in multiple sources, Alfie has an undiagnosed brain condition and is in a semi-vegetative state. The hospital has decided that it is no longer worth the time and effort to provide him the care needed to sustain his life. In court representatives of the hospital stated that once his life support is removed he would die within three minutes. As of this writing, 48 hours later, Alfie lives and is breathing on his own.
For approximately 24 hours the hospital withheld hydration, oxygen and nutrition. As per Tom Evans, he and the child’s mother gave Alfie mouth to mouth resuscitation after the ventilator was removed while the hospital staff stood by and did nothing. Workers have reportedly wondered why the family is hostile to the staff. I, as a father, completely understand any righteous anger Mr. Evans may have. It is well justified and springs from his love for Alfie.
In a fascinating turn of events, Pope Francis, whom Tom Evans had met with in an effort to save his son, and the Italian legislators have intervened granting Alfie Italian citizenship and have a medical transport to bring him to Italy for treatment. The presiding judge over the case has ruled against the parents’ request to move the child to Italy stating ‘It was not in the best interest of the child.’ Yet, paradoxically the judge ruled it best to end the life of the child by withdrawing life support. This is a monumental failure of common sense and critical thinking.
The diabolical nature of the ‘Culture of Death’ is seen in the seemingly absurd and self contradictory statements attempting to make the case to hasten death at all cost. Euthanasia, assisted suicide and abortion proponents often use the false compassion of ‘alleviating suffering’ as a reason to hasten death and in the end cause additional suffering. Life is a great gift from God in all its forms. Each of us will face suffering in our lives. It cannot be avoided. It can be learned from. It can and will make us stronger.
I am not saying we should not do what we can to reduce the suffering of our fellow man. It is in the best interest of the common good to do so. But, to say that the purposeful death of a sick, disabled or terminally is person ends suffering is diametrically opposed to reason.
God, the source of all Hope, can and does bring good from evil actions. The killing of Alfie Evans proves this fact. All over the world humanity cries out for justice as it watches the British health care system methodically take the life of this child and destroy parental rights in the process. God has given us an opportunity to see the how the Culture of Death embraces death and rejects life at all turns. Millions of people of different faiths are joined in prayer and protest on behalf of Alfie Evans and his parents.
God, the source of all Love, is also just. We can find hope in the fact that justice will be served in this life or the next. As Christians, God works through us to build a His kingdom when we fight for justice in this life.
To this end I say, “Fight, Tom, fight for the life of your child and justice. We are with you. God is with you!”
UPDATE: Alfie Evans has passed away. He is now in the arms of Christ.
May God have mercy on the legal authorities and medical staff that stood in the way of his parents’ hope of saving his life.
Alfie Evans, pray for us!
JMJ, pray for us.
God is good,