Britains most senior Catholic at odds with the Pope over Alfie Evans

Last month Pope Francis said he hoped parents Kate James and Tom Evans’ “desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted”. Via his Twitter account, he also said: “It is my sincere hope that everything necessary may be done in order to continue compassionately accompanying little Alfie Evans, and that the deep suffering of his parents may be heard.”In a joint statement released on April 18, the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales praised the “professionalism and care for severely ill children” at the Liverpool hospital, and added: “We know that recently reported public criticism of their work is unfounded as our chaplaincy care for the staff, and indeed offered to the family, has been consistently provided.” Britain’s most senior Catholic cleric is at odds with the Pope over the treatment of terminally ill child Alfie Evans.Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Vincent Nichols backed doctors and said palliative care “can be an act of mercy”.The Pope previously expressed support for the parents’ desire to take their child abroad for treatment. The Cardinal said: “Wisdom enables us to make decisions based on full information, and many people have taken a stand on Alfie’s case in recent weeks who didn’t have such information and didn’t serve the good of this child.”He told the Polish church’s Catholic information agency KAI that some groups had also “used the situation for political aims”. “It’s important to remember Alder Hey hospital cared for Alfie not for two weeks or two months, but for 18 months, consulting with the world’s top specialists – so its doctors’ position, that no further medical help could be given, was very important,” he said on Sunday. “The church says very clearly we do not have a moral obligation to continue a severe therapy when it’s having no effect, while the church’s catechism also teaches that palliative care, which isn’t a denial of help, can be an act of mercy. Rational action, spared of emotion, can be an expression of love; and I’m sure Alfie received this kind of care. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “It’s very hard to act in a child’s best interest when this isn’t always as the parents would wish – and this is why a court must decide what’s best, not for the parents, but for the child.”