Little Charlie Gard passed away last week. He died in the hospital because his parents were not permitted to take him home to die in the peace of home.
What kind of evil is it that claims to be magnanimously keeping an individual’s best interests at the heart of its decisions, but won’t let that person be cared for by the people who love him most in all the world — his parents? Won’t let that person seek alternative care elsewhere, even when it has been offered by more than one hospital and doctor, and generous strangers have donated over million dollars for his care? Won’t let that child and his parents have the comfort of having clergy visit and pray with them? Won’t let him, in the end, die at home? All this in the name of doing what is good and right for that person. We know best… your wishes, your family’s wishes, are irrelevant… we are the ones with power… you will submit…
Jenny Uebbing had this to say about Charlie and what happened to him and his family (a good summary of which can be found here):
But, but, he was going to die anyway. Extraordinary means! The Catechism says! Etc. Etc. Etc.
True. All true. And yet, his parents wanted to pursue further treatment. His mother and his father, the two human beings who, entrusted by the God with whom they co-created an immortal soul, were tasked with the immense, universe-altering task of making decisions on his behalf.
It’s called parenting.
And when the state steps over the bounds of parental interests – nay, tramples upon them – insisting that government knows best what is best for it’s citizens, (particularly when government is footing the medical bills as is the case with the socialized NHS) then we should all of us, no matter our religions or our socioeconomic statuses or our nationalities, be alarmed.
Charlie Gard was a victim of the the most heinous sort of public power struggle: a child whose humanity was reduced to a legal case and an avalanche of global publicity. And no man, not the President of the United States or the Pope himself, could do a thing to turn the tide in little Charlie’s favor once the momentum was surging against him.
The British courts and the Great Ormond Street Hospital, convinced of their own magnanimity and virtue, ruled again and again against the wishes of Charlie’s parents, frustrating at every turn their attempts to seek a second option, to try experimental treatments, to spend privately-raised funds to secure care for their child not available in their home country.
To no avail.
Charlie Gard, baptized earlier this week into the Catholic Church, went home to be with Jesus today. His innocent soul in a state of grace, we can be confident of his intimate proximity now to the sacred heart of Jesus and to the sorrowful heart of Mary. May his parents feel the comfort of knowing that they fought the good fight, and that they brought their child to the font of eternal life by baptizing him into Christ’s Church and surrendering him into heaven’s embrace as he passed from this life.
And may they find, through the powerful intercession of their little son, now whole and free from suffering, the grace to forgive his tormentors and executioners here on earth.
Charlie Gard, pray for us.