Since the European Court of Human Rights gave their decision three days ago to allow the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children to end the life of Charlie Gard, many have weighed in on the discussion. Analysis has been provided in the media by various legal journalists including those at The Guardian, BBC, CNN and The Independent.
Now, the Vatican and the Catholic Conference of Bishops in England and Wales have issued statements of their own and jumped into the fray. Now, let me be clear dear reader, I have a dog in this fight. I am an ethnic Catholic who chose to leave the church for two reasons. One was the treatment of abuse survivors by the church leadership, I myself am a survivor of sexual abuse not related to the church. I also made this decision due to the treatment of my son at the hands of the church’s representatives due to a learning disorder. If you wish to discount what follows as the rantings of a disillusioned former member of this organization, you may certainly do so.
What concerns me most about this case as a parent was what I saw as the capitulation of the Holy See to the governmental machinery of Britain and the European Union in this story. Now for those who may not be familiar with the case at hand let me give you some background. Charlie Gard is a 10-month-old English boy who has been languishing in a hospital in England due to a rare disorder known as Mitochondrial Depletion Syndrome. This is a disorder that robs people affected by it of muscle control and in Charlie’s case means he is unable to even breathe on his own so he is (to be crass) a very expensive child for the National Health Service of Britain and Great Ormond Street Hospital For Children to care for. Why do I even mention this? Because England has a state run medical system which has the power to decide the fate of their sickest citizens. In late 2012 the English website Daily Mail wrote an article outlining how the National Health Service (NHS) had created a “euthanasia track” for elderly patients, prematurely ending the lives of as many as 130,000 patients in one year.