A pointed, and poignant article from the internet, and a precious picture of a little boy named Alfie Evans, came to me recently. It was written by a Jesuit priest. It was full of irony, and underneath, a deep moral anger.
It was about the story of the young Catholic couple in Liverpool, England, who fought with every means they had, to take their little boy, with a life-threatening disease, away from the doctors of Liverpool, and to another country to have a last desperate attempt to save his life.
But the British Health System and the British government both conspired against Alfie and his family, virtually imprisoning him in the Liverpool Hospital, preventing this child from medical care in Italy or America, or dying at home with his parents.
The Rev. James Schall SJ, who long had taught political science at Georgetown University, used Burt Bacharach's song, "What's It All About, Alfie?" to put the questions to the world of the strange moral twist that has finally given governments, not parents, the authority to decide the value of a simple human life. The priest reminds us that governments were established to uphold and protect human life, not to judge its worth.
The priest protests that "human life is worthy in itself." Little Alfie was already alive. His parents were claiming the right to fight to preserve his life. As the priest said, "Parents, doctors, health systems, judges, and governments are at his service, not vice versa. Governments were established to secure human life."
He makes the point that neither the Queen nor Prime Minister Theresa May visited the child. The Queen, he said, was bound by law, and chose not to break it. Although, in England, a land of the State Church, she is Head of the Church.
It is a strange case, and one that is starkly dramatic. Most of us would insist that every human life is sacred, and that surely the parents, acting on their Christian faith and their love for their child, has every right to try to preserve his life. But the priest reminds us that in England, the "1931 Lambeth Conference that justified for the first time contraception, a decision that led logically to abortion, same-sex marriage, and euthanasia" made it "all right to kill millions of failed contraceptions," and gradually and easily to take human life in a variety of ways.
The fact is, we fear to even speak of these further implications. We have justified certain kinds of life-taking. In losing, against all these forces, the Christian pastor says that - just as with Jesus' death, they will win. He means that the drama of Alfie's short life and death "did sort things out for many who otherwise pay little attention to the lethal meaning of many of our laws and customs."
Christians do not all agree about these deep and delicate issues. But clearly Alfie's life makes very evident that the moral code intended in our western society has been broken, and, at the very least, calls us to our knees to pray for the redeeming of our understanding and commitment to God's great gift to us, of very life itself.
[This is based on an internet article at https://www.mercatornet.com/features/view/aflie-evans-and-the-value-of-a-single-human-life... 4/30/2018]
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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