Italy grants citizenship to Alfie Evans in attempt to guarantee his care

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Italian government granted
citizenship to Alfie Evans, a seriously ill British toddler, in a last-minute
effort to prevent doctors in England from withdrawing life-support.

The Italian foreign ministry, in a brief note April 23, said
Angelino Alfano, the foreign minister, and Marco Minniti, the interior
minister, “granted Italian citizenship to little Alfie.”

“The Italian government hopes that being an Italian
citizen would allow the immediate transfer of the baby to Italy,” the
foreign ministry said.

The baby’s parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, lost their
latest legal battle April 23 to prevent doctors from removing Alfie’s life-support when the European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene.

Doctors in the U.K. have not been able to make a definitive
diagnosis of the 23-month-old child’s degenerative neurological condition, but
they have said keeping him on life-support would be “futile.”

A high court judge backed a lower court’s ruling that the
hospital can go against the wishes of the family and withdraw life-support.

Tom Evans flew to Rome and met Pope Francis April 18,
begging the pope to help get his son “asylum” in Italy. The
Vatican-owned Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome has offered to care for Alfie. Three
specialists from Bambino Gesu had flown to Liverpool and examined Alfie.
According to the president of Bambino Gesu, “a positive outcome would be
difficult, but the baby’s suffering can be alleviated.”

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