Pope Francis has said that Charlie Gard’s parents should be allowed to “accompany and care” for their child “to the end”.

His statement, issued on Sunday, was widely seen as supporting the parents’ wish for him to receive experimental treatment abroad.

Great Ormond Street Hospital, where Charlie was being treated, argued that this was not in his best interest. The courts upheld their decision.

The 10-month-old was born with mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, which causes progressive muscle weakness, brain damage and respiratory or liver failure. It is typically fatal.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said: “The Holy Father follows with affection and sadness the situation of Charlie Gard, and expresses his own closeness to his parents.

“He prays for them, wishing that their desire to accompany and care for their own child to the end will be respected.”

​How to continue reading…

This article appears in the Catholic Herald magazine - to read it in full subscribe to our digital edition from just 30p a week

The Catholic Herald is your essential weekly guide to the Catholic world; latest news, incisive opinion, expert analysis and spiritual reflection