1. Alfie Evans case: Parents to meet with doctors to ask if they can take their ailing son home. 

By Julie Zauzmer, The Washington Post, April 26, 2018, 8:37 AM

Pope Francis has been praying for the British toddler Alfie Evans — and the Italian government has granted the child Italian citizenship and lined up a transportation plan that could swiftly bring the sick 23-month-old boy to a Vatican hospital.

But Alfie’s doctors say he cannot be healed and shouldn’t make the trip at all.

On Tuesday, a British judge sided with the doctors, saying that the family cannot accept the offer to take Alfie to the Vatican for treatment. An appeals court swiftly re-heard the case and upheld the previous day’s ruling, saying on Wednesday that Alfie cannot leave the country.

Now the parents want to take their son home and plan to meet with doctors on Thursday. His father has appealed to Pope Francis to travel to Liverpool to see the situation, according to an Italian news agency.


2. The British Speech Police Target Alfie Supporters, A threat to decency and to free speech.

By Sohrab Ahmari, Commentary Magazine, April 25, 2018

Well, they did it. Britain’s bureaucratic-medical-juridical elite triumphed over a toddler who, in defiance of elite opinion, refuses to die. On Wednesdayevening, an appeals court ruling dashed what was probably the last legal hope for saving Alfie Evans, the 23-month-old boy who is being held against his parents’ will at Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool, England.

But then Alfie kept on living, and living . . . and living. He has now, as of this writing, been breathing without the respirator for nearly two days. His oxygen was restored Tuesday, but the hospital continues to withhold sustenance. So much for “death with dignity.” Outside, a phalanx of Liverpool’s finest stood watch lest Alfie’s supporters attempt to rescue him. The officers also expelled a pair of German helicopter pilots dispatched by Pope Francis for the air evacuation.

As if the authoritarian aspect of all this weren’t crystal clear, local police also warned social-media users to be careful what they say online about the matter. “I would like to make people aware that these posts are being monitored,” said Chief Inspector Chris Gibson, “and remind social media users that any offences including malicious communications and threatening behaviour will be investigated and where necessary will be acted upon.”

That brings us back to Alfie. As the case has progressed, the political, religious, and class fault lines running through it have become ever more visible. Alfie’s parents are working class and Catholic. Judging by the social-media outpouring, many of their supporters hail from a similar class firmament: the type who voted for Brexit, who read the Sun and the Daily Mail, who are puzzled by all this talk about gender and newfangled pronouns, and who quietly cheer Donald Trump across the pond.

On the other side stands an administrative elite that has had it with “these people”—with their voting habits, their sentimentality and patriotism, their common sense on Islam and integration, and, well, their failure to understand that it is up to experts, not parents, to discern the “best interests” of a toddler like Alfie. The members of this elite worry a lot these days about the health of liberal-democratic order. An entire cottage industry has sprung up, churning out books and policy briefs on how to preserve democracy against populists and uncouth, excitable majorities. But fair-minded observers of the Alfie Evans debacle can decide for themselves which camp poses the greater threat to freedom in Britain.


3. Alfie Evans and the State, A medical debate that’s gone global is not about the money. It’s about power. 

By James Freeman, The Wall Street Journal, April 25, 2018, 3:49 PM

Alfie Evans is a toddler who has suffered severe brain damage for reasons that doctors at a British hospital cannot explain. Yet the same hospital and its doctors are so certain that his case is hopeless that this week they rejected the wishes of his parents and removed him from life support. The medical experts even went to court to prevent Alfie’s parents from taking him to Italy for care—at no cost to the hospital. Now comes further evidence that the doctors don’t understand his condition.

Taken off life support Monday, the tough youngster has continued to live. Britain’s Daily Star reports that lawyers representing Alfie’s father Tom Evans and mother Kate James “are arguing for his release at the Court of Appeal today. But the legal team for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool told the court that Alfie’s ability to breath [sic] without life support does not suggest ‘a change in circumstances’.”

Alfie’s parents say they were told several months ago that he would die immediately without life support.

Yesterday this column included this case among the “annals of single-payer health care,” but it’s not a question of money or the use of British medical resources. The Catholic church and the Italian government are ready to take the child off Britain’s hands. It’s a question of a medical and legal system that denies parents the right to make such decisions. Such abuse appears to be part and parcel of a health system dominated by the state rather than the individual or the family.


4. Pope to focus on fate of Christians in Middle East on July 7.

By Associated Press, April 25, 2018

The Vatican says Pope Francis is planning to invite heads of churches and Christian communities from the Middle East to join him in a day of reflection and prayer in the southeastern Italian port city of Bari on July 7.

The announcement on Wednesday said Francis has called for this “ecumenical encounter for peace” in view of the “dramatic situation” facing many Christians in the Middle East.

The pope has frequently decried violence targeting Christians in parts of the Middle East, many of whom have fled their homelands to seek safety.


5. Pope to Host 3 Chileans To Appeal for Forgiveness. 

By Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times, April 26, 2018, Pg. A9

Pope Francis will host three victims of Chile’s sexual abuse scandal this weekend at the Vatican hotel where he lives, to ask their forgiveness and listen to their suggestions, the Vatican announced on Wednesday, as he tries to make amends for voicing doubts about their accusations.

The three men, Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and José Andrés Murillo, have been among the most vocal survivors of abuse by priests in Chile. In a statement, the Vatican said that the pope would meet with each man individually, “allowing each one to speak for as long as they wish.”


6. Christians should not be second-class citizens, cardinal tells Saudi Arabia. 

By Philip Pullella, Reuters, April 26, 2018, 5:56 AM

A senior Vatican official who last week made a historic visit to Saudi Arabia says he told authorities in the kingdom, where non-Muslim worship is banned, that Christians cannot be considered second-class citizens.

French cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran’s trip, the first by such a senior Catholic figure, raised hopes of more openness in the kingdom, which is home to Islam’s holiest sites but bans the practice of other faiths. It included a meeting with King Salman, his first with a Catholic official.

“I think all religions are faced with two dangers: terrorism and ignorance,” Tauran, who is head of the Vatican’s Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, told Vatican Radio.


7. The ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ liberal feminists created. 

By Ashley McGuire, Ashley McGuire is a senior fellow with The Catholic Association and the author of “Sex Scandal: The Drive to Abolish Male and Female”, The Hill, April 25, 2018, 3:32 PM

Conservative women are used to being drawn as caricatures. In “The Handmaid’s Tale”, the caricaturing is artfully good. The second season came out today, Wednesday, and the trailer promises it will delve deeper into the psyche of its conservative female antagonist and the perceived readiness of women such as she to create a world where women are oppressed.

The show has been called a “warning to conservative women;” the female antagonist Serena Joy, called “the scariest anti-feminist on television” by Elle, is rumored to be modeled after a young Phyllis Schlafly who pioneered the modern-day female conservative resistance to liberal feminism. Serena Joy is a young, married, religious zealot who helps author the ideas at the root of a religious revolution. She’s intelligent, beautiful, and accomplished. And like any good conservative, religious woman painted by Hollywood, she’s naïve. Her revolution becomes a runaway train and winds up confining her to her home where she is forbidden to read and her book is taken out with the trash.

It’s fascinating to watch a show that depicts a liberal feminist’s very worst nightmare, in particular because the dystopia found in the story is made possible entirely by liberal feminism. Plummeting birthrates, the exploitation and commodification of the female body, the turning of children into accessories, coupled with the concurrent bizarre societal obsession with pure eating, these are things happening right before us, and they aren’t the work of the religious right-wing. They are the result of the idea that formed the lynchpin of the sexual revolution, namely, that sex and procreation can be severed from marriage without serious consequences.

Cutting the cord between sex and babies and marriage is what has given us our own modern-day Handmaid’s Tale, a world where the wombs of poor women are rented out for wealthy infertile couples while society shrugs off the moral implications. Or a world where the Women’s March can tweet out support for a platform for human traffickers without so much as a slap on the wrist from the press. The handmaids in “The Handmaid’s Tale” are human trafficking victims, after all.

Watching Hollywood villainize a caricature of someone like me, was, well … entertaining.

But it was also a glimpse into the reality that most of our society, even its artists, cannot see, even when their art points right at it – the truth about our modern world. In particular, that when we embraced the separation of sex from marriage, we opened a Pandora’s box of horrors that is still horrifying us.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” is a worthwhile show, but not for the reasons liberal feminists will celebrate. It’s worth watching to see how much more oppressive for women our society can become when we discard the bond of marriage as completely inviolable.  


8. Pope, Council of Cardinals discuss new document on Roman Curia. 

By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, April 25, 2018, 5:51 AM

Pope Francis and his international Council of Cardinals have reviewed a complete draft of the apostolic constitution that would govern the Roman Curia, the Vatican spokesman said.

The cardinals still need some time to finalize the draft, approve it and present it formally to the pope for “further consultation and final approval,” said Greg Burke, director of the Vatican press office.

Even the title of the document has not been finalized, he said April 25, although the entire project revolves around the idea of a “church that goes out.”

Much of the Council of Cardinals’ work April 23-25 was dedicated to “re-reading the draft of the new apostolic constitution on the Roman Curia,” Burke said.

The draft document emphasizes four points, he said: The Roman Curia is at the service of the pope and the local churches throughout the world; the work of the Curia must have a pastoral character; particulars on the role and functioning of the new section in the Vatican Secretariat of State to oversee the training, assigning and ministry of Vatican nuncios and diplomats around the world; and the proclamation of the Gospel and a missionary spirit must characterize the activity of the Curia.