A journal of academic theology

Michael P. Moreland

The Catholic Tradition on the Due Use of Medical Remedies: The Charlie Gard Case

The widely publicized British case of Charlie Gard became an international cause célèbre when the treating physicians petitioned the British courts to prevent the parents from taking their dying child to America where a physician held out promise of an unproven experimental therapy. The case became more sensationalized when the press reported that Pope Francis had intervened in the case against the position of the Vatican’s Academy for Life on the appropriate response to a patient with a lethal genetic disorder for which there was no known treatment. A review of the centuries-long teaching of Catholic moral theology on care of the dying demonstrates that the pastoral concern of Pope Francis for the grieving parents did not signal a change in church teaching on the care of the dying patient or reveal a disagreement between Pope Francis and the Academy for Life’s position on the appropriate care of Charlie Gard.

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