Little Charlie Gard: Victim of Rampant Disposable Culture – Cardinal Sgreccia

Little Charlie Gard’s Case in 10 Points, by Cardinal Sgreccia
Give Care Even When One Cannot Cure
July 5, 2017
ZENIT Staff Pope & Holy See

CHARLIE GARD
by Constance Roques with Anita Bourdin

Italian Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, former President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, analyzed little Charlie Gard’s case and offered “10 critical points” for consideration in the Italian daily La Stampa, on Monday, July 3, 2017.

We recall that Charlie Gard was born on August 4, 2016 and suffers from mitochondrial depletion syndrome, which has affected his brain. He receives assistance to breathe, is hydrated and fed through a tube, but receives no other care.

Give Care Even when One Cannot Cure

Cardinal Sgreccia stressed first of all that “the non-curable character can never be confused with incurability” (1).

He explained: “A person affected by an ailment considered, in the present state of medicine, as incurable, is paradoxically the subject that, more than any other, has the right to request and obtain continuous assistance and care, attention and devotion: it is a cardinal principle of the ethics of care . . . The human face of medicine is manifested precisely in the clinical practice of ‘taking care’ of the life of the suffering and the sick.”
Human Dignity

Cardinal Sgreccia then affirmed the intrinsic dignity (2) of every human being and the rights that stem from it, regardless of his state of health: “The right to be continually the object, or better still, the subject of attention and care on the part of members of the family and others, lies in the dignity of a human person, including a new-born, sick and suffering, and never ceases to be possessed.”

Feeding and Hydration Are Not Therapies

He then recalled the duty to feed and hydrate (3): they are not aps of therapies but the minimum necessary to survive of every human being: “Artificial feeding-hydration through a nose-gastric tube in no case can be considered as a therapy . . . Water and food do not become medications by the sole fact that they are administered artificially; consequently, interrupting them is not like suspending a therapy, but it is to let someone die of hunger and thirst who simply cannot feed himself autonomously.

The Parents’ Decision

Cardinal Sgreccia pointed out that there must not be a caesura between the doctors’ gestures and the parents’ will (4): “The cardinal idea that founds the informed consensus is linked to the principle according to which the patient is never an anonymous individual . . . but a conscious and responsible subject . . . This implies the necessity that he be involved in the decisional processes that concern him, in a dialogic relation that avoids his finding himself in the situation of having to suffer passively the decisions and choices of others. The history of little Charlie proves on the contrary that, in the course of time, a dynamic has been created of substantial detachment between the decisions of the medical team and the will of the parents.”

An Integral Palliative Approach

Cardinal Sgreccia declared himself in favor (5) of an “integral palliative” approach: “It is possible that the experimental therapy does not give the medical results expected, but it is also true that Charlie’s sufferings call for an integral palliative and systematic approach that could hypothetically accompany the experimentation itself.”

To Keep the Pain under Control

Cardinal Sgreccia recommended (6) to keep the pain under control”: “ In our opinion, the principle of the best interest of the minor hardly entails, or better, hardly legitimizes a passive form of euthanasia as that which was decided to practice on little Charlie. We believe that his best interest lies in the direction of assuring him the most dignified existence possible, through an opportune antalgic strategy, which enables to keep the pain under control should it prove to be impossible to follow the route to access the experimental protocol already underway in the United States. It is exactly what Charlie’s parents have not ceased to request up to today.”

The Opinion of the European Court 

The Cardinal believes (7) that the European Court did not respect these criteria: ‘The European Court of Human Rights has glided in an unbelievable way on all the aspects of content listed up to here and it also seems that it went beyond, assuming a purely procedural position, in the name of the principle of the margin of appreciation … It considered that it should not enter the subject of the issue of the suspension of artificial feeding-hydration-respiration in the name of that sovereign autonomy of the Member States, which authorizes them to regulate at their discretion the themes of the ethically most complicated aspects, such as the case of the practicability or not of passive euthanasia on a new-born.”

A “Rampant Disposable Culture”

Cardinal Sgreccia lamented the “rampant disposable culture”: “Hidden behind each aspect of this story, although never mentioned, is the idea of the efficacy in the management of health resources that pushes to make use of them in a manner that cannot but generate a rampant disposable culture.”

The False Paradigm of the “Quality of Life”

He questioned (9) the “paradigm” of the so-called “quality of life”: “More disquieting yet is the lightness with which the paradigm of quality of life is accepted, namely, that cultural model that inclines to recognize the non-dignity of certain human existences, completely identified and confused with the pathology of which they are bearers or with the sufferings with which they are accompanied.”

Euthanasia Demanded 

Finally, Cardinal Sgreccia lamented (10) a drift toward a trivialized euthanasia: “In the transparency of schizophrenic positions implied by these new cultural paradigms, one can perceive the ambivalence of those that, in demanding the freedom of total and indiscriminate access to euthanasia – basing it on the exclusive predominance of individual autonomy — deny at the same time this decisional autonomy in other cases, as the one of which we speak, where it is considered that only the doctors have the legitimacy to decide, without any involvement of the parents.”

Readiness of the Vatican’s Hospital

We recall likewise that on Monday, July 3, the President of the Bambino Gesu (Infant Jesus) pediatric hospital, a dependency of the Vatican, Mrs Mariella Enoc, said she was ready to receive Charlie Gard in Rome if his parents so wished and if his state permitted it.

In a press release on Monday, July 3, 2017, she quoted in Italian Pope Francis’ Tweet, posted on his account @Pontifex_it on June 30: “Defend human life, especially when it is wounded by sickness, is a commitment of love that God entrusts to every man.”

“The Holy Father’s words, in reference to little Charlie, summarize well the mission of the Bambino Gesu hospital. That is why I asked the Health Director to verify with London’s Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, where the new-born is hospitalized, and if the health conditions exist for Charlie’s eventual transfer to our hospital. We know that the case is desperate and that, apparently, effective therapies do not exist.”

Pope Francis’ Closeness

Mrs Enoc expressed her closeness to the parents, saying: “We are close to the parents through prayer and if it is their wish, we are ready to receive their child at our hospital for the time that remains to him to live.”

Pope Francis addressed a message to Charlie Gard’s parents on Sunday evening, July 2, expressing his closeness, through his spokesman, Greg Burke: “The Holy Father follows with affection and emotion the affair of little Charlie Gard and he expresses his closeness to his parents.” Pope Francis, he said, “prays for them and hopes that their desire to accompany and care for their child to the end is not disregarded.”

On June 27, the European Court of Human Rights rejected the request to take the child to the United States for experimental treatment and the British High Court pronounced itself in favor of halting the respiratory, hydration and feeding assistance.

Mrs Mariella Enoc, President of Rome’s Bambino Gesu hospital, who had expressed her readiness to receive the baby, if his transfer was possible and if his parents so wished, announced on Tuesday, July 4 that the transfer would not be possible for “legal” reasons: it is in any case the answer of the English hospital where Charlie is at present, reported Vatican Radio. Mrs Enoc said she was contacted by the baby’s mother to discuss his care.
In regard to surmounting the legal reasons, the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin assured : “If we can do so, we will,” reported the same source.
[Article Translated from French]  Source – Zenit

Comment:

The UK Government cites “legal grounds” for not permitting this baby to be taken to the Vatican Hospital – click here

Recall,  though, that the “legal grounds” for only permitting people of opposite genders to marry were overturned in a heartbeat, as was the law prohibiting the murder of unborn babies in their mothers’ wombs.  Laws can be changed when it suits politicians.  What, then, is going on here? Why are the doctors and politicians so keen to allow this baby to die, despite his parents’ desperate desire to keep him, care for him, raise him in a loving home? What is going on?

USA Priest: Canon 915 Mandatory & Failure to Apply, Mortally Sinful

To read the source of the following article, click on the image. All emphases in the original.

A Father Vincent Fitzpatrick, of whom I am totally unfamiliar, has penned a piece for the American Life League that castigates all that great swath of bishops in this country who, for more than 40 years, have refused to enforce Canon 915 by denying the Blessed Sacrament to sinful pro-abort politicians.  According to Fr. Fitzpatrick, enforcement of Canon 915 is not just a duty, it is not an option, it is so mandatory that failing to do so is gravely sinful.

ImageFr. Fitzpatrick (I add emphasis): Here is the text of Canon 915: “Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

Several American bishops have made statements to the effect that a bishop must exercise “discretion” regarding whether to “impose the penalty” of denial of Communion. Among them: Chaput, Dolan, O’Malley, and Wuerl.

All bishops who refuse to “impose the penalty” are participating in a lie. Namely, that denial of Communion is a penalty.

Denial of Communion is NOT a penalty.

So? What is the import of this fact?

It means that denial of Communion is not an option that MAY be chosen. It is MANDATED by Canon 915. No bishop, priest, or other minister of Communion is free to disobey Canon 915, for the simple reason that the action Canon 915 forbids is ALWAYS gravely sinful.

It needs to be emphasized that Canon 915 is NOT a canon that may be “applied” or “not applied.” Canon 915 can only be obeyed or disobeyed. And disobeying Canon 915 is always gravely sinful.

Canon 915 exists precisely because giving Communion to a person “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin” is always gravely sinful. Doing so is always to give grave scandal, and to participate knowingly in a sacrilegious act.

Let that sink in. Always gravely sinful.

In terms perhaps more familiar to the laity: To give Communion knowingly and deliberately to ANYONE delineated in Canon 915 is ALWAYS a mortal sin.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl has been the most outspoken of those bishops who refuse to obey Canon 915, but all of them are on record, as he is, as endorsing the commission of MORTAL SINS by their priests and other ministers of Communion. Cardinal Wuerl has even punished those who have obeyed Canon 915.

Of course, this is something he has no right to do, because no bishop has the authority to command anyone to commit a mortal sin!

I believe he is absolutely correct in this.  Canon Law is Canon Law, and Canon 915 is crystal clear.  For a prelate to so fail in duty that he abrogates a very significant portion of Canon Law is objectively mortally sinful if only from the standpoint of the massive scandal it causes alone.  But add to that fact the reality that the Blessed Sacrament is thus received unworthily, and you add sacrilege and blasphemy on top of the grave scandal.  It seems a pretty clear cut case of objective mortal sin, to me.

Unless one wants to argue that our prelates are so badly formed they are ignorant of the nature of the Blessed Sacrament, scandal, sacrilege, and all the rest.  One might actually have an argument there, which is a scandal of the first rank in its own right.

But really, these men have been corrected so often on this matter, from above and below (including the relegating of then Cardinal Ratzinger’s instruction to enforce Canon 915 by Cardinal McCarrick to the memory hole), that claiming ignorance is to extend a charitable appreciation of the matter beyond the breaking point.

One more point from Fr. Fitzpatrick:

It is said by many, including Cardinal Wuerl, that Communion should not be used as a political weapon.

Absolutely true. And  the reception of Communion is being used as a political weapon—by pro-abortion politicians. As long as they are permitted to receive Communion, the bishop (e.g., Cardinal Wuerl) endorses their claim to be “ardent Catholics” whose promotion of abortion is NO SIN.

Again, I totally agree.  There is no question in my mind that it is the pro-abort sinners and their episcopal enablers who are politicizing the Blessed Sacrament.  They are also committing sins more severe than even the worst heretics of the past.

One sad fact is that the article lists Fr. Fitzpatrick as a retired priest.  Of course, no active priest could write a missive like this because they would be cashiered instantly Source

Comment…

We’ve had this discussion before, of course, regarding the negligence of priests and bishops who refuse to enforce Canon 915. However, since the “chestnut” moral issues persistently present themselves as a challenge to the clergy and hierarchy, seemingly intent on keeping their heads buried firmly in the sand, it might be useful to give the subject another airing. Is Fr Fitzpatrick right in his claim that “pro-abort sinners and [the bishops] who enable them, are committing sins more severe than even the worst heretics of the past”? And what about “To give Communion knowingly and deliberately to ANYONE delineated in Canon 915 is ALWAYS a mortal sin.” – who are they… those (apart from pro-abortion Catholics) “delineated in Canon 915”?