The parents of a toddler on life support in the United Kingdom refuse to give up their fight to keep their son alive. Alfie Evans' father, Tom, even flew to Rome to meet privately with Pope Francis Wednesday morning.
"Our child is sick but not dying and does not deserve to die," Tom Evans told the pope, according to LifeSiteNews . "He is not terminally ill nor diagnosed."
"We have been trying our best to find out his condition, to treat or manage it," Evans continued. "I am now here, in front of Your Holiness, to plead for asylum."
"Our hospitals in the UK do not want to give disabled children the chance of life and instead assisting in the death of children," he said.
Evans and Alfie's mother, Kate James, say Alfie is improving, and they want to take their son to the Vatican's Bambino Gesu pediatric hospital. The 23-month-old boy has an undiagnosed brain disease, according to reports.
"We do not understand why our child amongst many more are being treated like this," Evans told Pope Francis, according to LifeSiteNews. "We believe it is because he is disabled and the UK want to legalize euthanasia."
"Please help us save our innocent child and give us the grace of asylum to keep our family safe and to stop all of this," he continued.
Meeting with the pope has made it easier for the transfer to happen, LifeSiteNews reported.
The news outlet referenced La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, a Catholic news website, saying it reported that the pope assigned Italian Bishop Francesco Cavina to maintain communication between the Vatican's Secretariat of State and the family, "so that all initiatives be taken to transfer the child to the Bambino Gesù in Rome."
After Pope Francis listened to Evans, he told the 21-year-old, according to LifeSiteNews, "You speak well, Thomas, you are defending your son with courage, the same courage with which God defends his children."
Evans met with the pope before his general audience, during which the pontiff said, "I would like to draw attention again to Vincent Lambert and little Alfie Evans." Catholic News Service translated his remarks and posted them on YouTube.
Lambert is a 42-year-old Frenchman who suffered head injuries in a vehicle accident and has been severely disabled for 10 years, according to National Catholic Register.
The hospital ruled Monday that ordinary means of life support be withdrawn from Lambert Thursday, the news outlet reported.
The pope also said during the general audience, "I would like to reiterate and strongly affirm that the only master of life from the beginning to the natural end, is God! It is our duty to do everything to protect life."
Andrea Williams from the Christian Legal Centre, which is representing Alfie's family, spoke to the BBC about Evans meeting with Pope Francis.
"When every avenue has been shut down in this country it shows he won't give up," she said. "He wants his son to be given a chance to live which is being denied when there are places prepared to look after him."
Tuesday, Alfie's parents applied to the Supreme Court in the UK to appeal a ruling that their son should be taken off life support.
The Court of Appeal ruled against the parents Monday, saying they could not take their son to another hospital. He currently is on life support at Liverpool's Alder Hey Children's Hospital which is part of the UK's National Health Service Foundation Trust.
A spokesman for Alder Hey said, according to The Guardian, "The supreme court will now consider the application for permission to appeal the decision of the court of appeal. Our priority is to continue providing Alfie with the best care possible."
The Catholic Church in England and Wales described recent complaints against Alder Hey as "unfounded," the BBC reported.
In February, Mr. Justice Hayden of the High Court ruled that whatever was causing Alfie's condition, the damage to the toddler's brain was so severe that it was in his best interest to be taken off life support.