Pleading for Alfie’s Life

by Juliana Freitag  •  •  May 10, 2018   

Vatican: A behind-the-scenes look at desperate attempts to save Alfie Evans

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The world is appalled by the way the U.K. bishops acted in Alfie Evans' case. From Cdl. Vincent Nichols' awful statements standing up for Alder Hey to the Pilate-like note of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, Catholics wonder how far this sort of malignant reasoning on end-of-life care has infiltrated the Catholic Church.
In an article about the problems of the Church in England, Italian journalist Giovanni Marcotullio, the Aleteia correspondent sent to Alder Hey, revealed, "[A]s a diplomat told me in the vicinities of Alder Hey a few days ago: 'If we had found any support in the Church, we might have been able to do more: Instead we were left in an absolute void.'"
Unfortunately, it's clear this complicity in Alfie's death isn't exclusively an English problem, as evidenced by some of the latest developments of the Pontifical Academy for Life. President of the Academy for Life, Abp. Vincenzo Paglia, initially backed Justice Anthony Hayden (who had even cited Pope Francis' words to justify ending Alfie's life), then slightly changed his position after Pope Francis showed support for the Evans Family.

And the Vatican disagreements regarding Alfie's right to live don't stop there. A few days after Alfie's father Tom Evans went to Rome to plead with Pope Francis for Vatican asylum for his child, renowned Vatican insider Sandro Magister wrote that the "Vatican Secretariat of State had been working for several days, under the Pope's explicit order."
But reliable sources say this isn't entirely true.
Italian Catholic lawyer, author and pro-life activist Elisabetta Frezza was personally involved behind the scenes helping American missionary Christine Broesamle (the pro-life activist who moved to Liverpool to help save Alfie Evans' life), as well as making the connections that eventually led to Genoa hospital Giannina Gaslini's offer to take care of Alfie. Frezza, who wrote several articles about Alfie's case in Riscossa Cristiana, stated,
It seems, according to indiscretions, that her persistence [Christine Broesamle's] has irritated those invested with the task of handling Alfie's case, because ... there was the risk of putting the Vatican Secretariat of State in difficulty, as they didn't wish to damage diplomatic rapport with the United Kingdom.
Broesamle went to Rome with Tom Evans for his audience with Pope Francis on April 18. He returned to Liverpool on the same day, but Broesamle extended her stay in the Eternal City to try to help acquire Vatican citizenship for Alfie. Frezza wrote:
Christine, running against the fast unfolding of events and the predictable indifference masked as diplomatic action, decided to remain in Rome to go in person to the Holy Office. ... She was alone, and at her own request, we made a few phone calls to find someone who could accompany her and sustain her in this desperate endeavor, since we were far from Rome. So Sunday morning [April 22] a small group of people of good will gathered in front of the Holy Office.
Alfie's life support was scheduled to be turned off the next day, so on that Sunday morning Broesamle left a letter to Pope Francis with the Gendarmerie (Italian police). After receiving a picture of the letter from Broesamle herself, Frezza disclosed the contents
Your Holiness,
Wednesday you received my friend, the young Thomas Evans, father of the child Alfie Evans, in a private audience. You promised him all the help to safely bring Alfie to the Bambino Gesù hospital. We still haven't received anything. You know very well that Alfie is a prisoner under Police control. He can't go to the Nunciature. I have seen myself how this boy's been abused, and the shameful way the hospital has used heavy drugs so they don't have to care for Alfie, just like a baby sitter who doesn't care for the child's growth. Holy Father, I am a missionary, I've spent eight months protecting this child. I left my house and all my personal life to serve this family. I am here to ask you to immediately authorize the Secretariat of State to issue a passport for Alfie.
The last flight is tonight. Tomorrow at noon they'll kill him. And actually, the process begins today, in violation of the law. Your Holiness, you have publicly promised to act to save Alfie. You must act now, or it'll be too late. I am not going to leave the gates of Cavalleggeri [Porta Cavalleggeri, where the Palace of the Holy Office is located] until I have the passport. In the name of the baby Jesus Christ.
Christine Broesamle
Vatican, April 22, 2018
On her knees, clinging to the fence of the Holy Office, she cried for over an hour.
Broesamle then went to stand at the gates of the Holy Office, and there she remained. Lidia Polisano, among those who had joined Broesmale, told Frezza:
With three guys from association Universitari per la Vita ("University Students for Life") and four other people, we remained outside of the Holy Office with Christine. At a certain point she started to yell and cry with all the voice she had in her throat. It was an excruciating scene, which made us see for ourselves all the love and devotion this woman nurtured for little Alfie. She screamed: "Holy Father, save your son! Holy Father, you have promised! Holy Father, do something! You've promised us you'd do everything to save Alfie!" She was desperate.
On her knees, clinging to the fence of the Holy Office, she cried for over an hour. Surely they must have heard her inside Santa Marta, because it was impossible not to hear her, and the guards confirmed this to us. I wanted to take a picture because it was such a powerful scene, but I thought I'd be violating her pain: the desperation of a son who asks for the help of Holy Mother Church. I admit I started crying as well. We stayed there for a while, but we only caught the attention of the Swiss Guard and the State Police, who came to us and said they couldn't do anything. They asked Christine for an identification document (to which she replied that everyone in there already knew who she was), and then invited us to leave ... .
Christine had to go catch the last flight to Liverpool (which, by the way, she lost), so my friend drove her to Fiumicino Airport. ... At a certain point, a member of Universitari per la Vita named Chiara managed to speak to an employee in the Passport Office who works closely with Msgr. Borgia [Msgr. Paolo Borgia, Assessor for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State], explained Alfie's dramatic situation to him, then called Christine and made the two of them speak to each other. The employee said that in order to issue a passport he needed documents and the authorization of the parents, and the child should apply in person in the embassy ... .
I myself spoke to the same employee and I told him that the Holy Father had promised he'd have done everything to save Alfie, that four days had passed and nothing had been done. The employee replied to me that even if they saved Alfie, then what would it be of the other 20, the other 200 children like Alfie? He told me they couldn't save them all. ...
Chiara then reminded him that Pope Pius XII saved thousands of Jews by giving them political asylum. The employee finished the conversation stating that it was a delicate matter and we should leave it to those competent to the task because we didn't understand anything about it, and that there was the risk we'd put the Secretariat of State in difficulty and thus deteriorate diplomatic relations. My last words were about the parable of the Good Shepherd, who gives his life for his sheep. Doesn't he leave the 99 sheep to save the one that is lost?
A reference to these dramatic developments was also made in an article in the Italian media. A similar description can be read here. Church Militant spoke to Frezza, who confirmed the accuracy of her account. Church Militant also contacted Chiara Chiessi, from Universitari per la Vita, and Lidia Polisano, who both affirmed that the description given by Frezza is entirely true.


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