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Frenchman starved to death by court order…

The Death of Vincent Lambert and the Silence of “Pope” Francis

When it concerns a matter he really cares about, Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope” Francis) always has his trap open: Whether the topic be migrants, the poor, integral ecology, sustainable development, the elderly, climate change, clean water, albinos in Africa, educational initiatives for the youth in Argentina, or the rights of the indigenous in the Amazon region — for all those causes, Bergoglio couldn’t stop his tongue from moving if his life depended on it.

Of course no one is saying that these aren’t worthy causes for the most part — that’s not the point. Rather, the point is that Francis practices a rather obvious double standard, for when it comes to things of equal or greater importance, the Jesuit apostate suddenly discovers the importance of silence — and if he does say or do something, it’s usually only late in the game, after a sufficient amount of pressure, and/or in minimal fashion.

Here are some examples:

Sadly, the recent high-profile case of Vincent Lambert, a 42-year-old tetraplegic man in France, was no different for the otherwise garrulous pseudo-pope.

Lambert had suffered severe injuries in a motorcycle accident on Sep. 29, 2008, that left him “a brain-damaged paraplegic in a minimally conscious state”, according to a Life Site report by Jeanne Smits. Although he was connected to a feeding tube for nutrition and hydration, Lambert was not terminally ill and not in need of special treatment, nor was he on life support equipment, such as a respirator. He was not dying but was quite alive.

His severe handicap, however, was enough for a number of people to seek his death:

His wife and six of his siblings supported a recommendation made by doctors in 2013 that the provision of nutrition and hydration through a gastric tube should be stopped. Lambert was able to breathe on his own.

But Lambert’s parents and two other siblings had fought the decision in courts, insisting as the Catholic Church does that nutrition and hydration are not extraordinary measures for prolonging his life.

Doctors at the clinic in Reims, France, where Lambert had been cared for, started withdrawing nutrition and hydration in May when a court ruled in his wife’s favor.

However, a few hours later, an appeals court reversed the decision and ordered a resumption of tube feeding and hydration.

In late June, another court ruled that care could be discontinued; doctors began withholding nutrition and hydration July 2.

(“Pope laments death of Vincent Lambert”La Croix International, July 15, 2019)

Lambert died on July 11, a full nine days after nutrition and hydration were withheld from him, and only because they were withheld.

What is even more shocking is that during his starvation ordeal Lambert “received no deep sedation and … during the first days of his agony, he was moaning and groaning, gasping for breath, and crying”, as related by his mother, Viviane, “who could not even give him a drink”. “He also had quieter moments but his eyes were open and he reacted to Viviane when she talked to him until then”, according to a July 11 article by Smits.

And where was Francis? Where was the Vatican?

For his favorite political issues, Francis has lots of time and lots to say. He is able to crank out book-length interviews, addresses, statements, special audiences, forewords, livestreams, video messages — you name it. He had a special message for the Super Bowl in 2017, shared words of wisdom with the same year’s G20 Summit, and blathered at the youth in a video message for a TED conference. Even personal phone calls or in-person visits are not out of the question for something that is dear to him. Two years ago he had fun chatting with astronauts on the International Space Station, and he once even found time to write the foreword to a psychotherapist’s book about the bad habit of complaining.

The fact is that Francis has plenty of time and energy — when it concerns something he actually cares about! As we’ve found out, that’s how it works with his knees, too: He is quite capable of kneeling, he just needs to find a good enough reason to actually do so. Too bad the Feast of Corpus Christi isn’t one for him.

So, what is Francis’ record on the Vincent Lambert case, which is clearly setting a judicial precedent in France for the fate of the handicapped who are effectively deemed “useless eaters” and therefore “unworthy of life”?

In 2018, Francis mentioned Vincent Lambert by name twice (April 15 and April 18) but only briefly as part of his post-Audience/Regina Caeli shout-outs. That’s the time when he makes fleeting remarks on world affairs, requests prayers for various intentions, and greets various pilgrim groups in attendance, such as the dairy farmers from Lesotho or the newlyweds from Micronesia.

On May 20, 2019, Francis sent a generic tweet about protecting human life, by which he includes, of course, opposition to the death penalty, which is not a “natural end” to life:

Whenever Francis or some other Novus Ordo big shot speaks out against murder, he will typically put it in general terms that lump together and condemn all killing, even that which is just and necessary, such as capital punishment meted out by the state for capital crimes, or killing enemy combatants in a just war. In this manner, innocent victims like Lambert or Gard are effectively put on a par with the most heinous criminals, such as Albert Fish, James DeBardeleben, or this monster.

On July 10, roughly a week after the hospital had begun starving Lambert to death, Francis tortured himself to release the following tweet:

The Novus Ordo news video site Rome Reports seriously attempted to spin this tweet into a “strong plea for Vincent Lambert’s life” on the part of Francis, when it was clearly no such thing. First, because it does not mention Lambert by name at all; second, because it does not address his case even in general terms. Lambert was not “left to die.” He wasn’t dying at all. He was starved to death. He was dehydrated to death. If putting a convicted murderer in a prison cell and giving him no food or water until he is dead were a method of execution in the United States, the entire world would decry it as barbaric, inhumane, and excessively cruel. Francis himself would omit no opportunity to denounce and condemn it.

Not so in the case of Vincent Lambert, an innocent man whose only objectionable deed was that he was too ill to feed himself.

Not surprisingly, once Lambert’s court-ordered murder had been carried out successfully, Francis suddenly managed to remember his name again:

Thus far Francis’ personal interventions, or lack thereof. Too bad Lambert wasn’t a migrant trying to break down a border fence somewhere.

On May 21, the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life and the Pontifical Academy for Life had released the following joint statement:

In full agreement with the affirmations of the Archbishop of Reims, H.E. Msgr. Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, and the auxiliary bishop, H.E. Msgr. Bruno Feillet, in relation to the sad case of Mr. Vincent Lambert, we wish to reiterate the grave violation of the dignity of the person that the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration would constitute. Indeed, the “vegetative state” is certainly a burdensome pathological state, which however does not in any way compromise the dignity of those people who find themselves in this condition, nor does it compromise their fundamental rights to life and to care, understood as the continuity of basic human assistance.

Nutrition and hydration constitute a form of essential care, always proportionate to life support: to nourish a sick person never constitutes a form of unreasonable therapeutic obstinacy, as long as the person is able to receive nutrition and hydration, provided this does not cause intolerable suffering or prove damaging to the patient.

The suspension of such care represents, rather, a form of abandonment of the patient, based on a pitiless judgment of the quality of life, expression of a throwaway culture that selects the most fragile and helpless people, without recognizing their uniqueness and immense value. The continuity of assistance is an inescapable duty.

We therefore hope that solutions may be found as soon as possible to protect Mr. Lambert’s life. To this end, we assure the prayer of the Holy Father and all the Church.

(“Declaration on the case of Mr. Vincent Lambert”, Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, May 21, 2019)

The text was signed by McCarrick associate “Cardinal” Kevin Farrell and the scandal-ridden “Abp.” Vincenzo Paglia. Impressive! A few lines of text about human dignity from two Vatican officials nobody knows or pays any attention to. The only thing missing was a quote from Evangelii Gaudium.

A day before Lambert’s death, the Italian periodical Famiglia Christiana published an article penned by Paglia that effectively undid the May 21 declaration’s call for the protection of Lambert’s life and which “perpetuates the confusion between medical treatment and administration of food and fluids”, as one critical review put it.

After Lambert’s passing, Vatican News published a report that put a spin on the facts: “Lambert’s wife and some of his siblings wanted care to be withdrawn, but his Catholic parents, backed by other relatives, launched a series of legal bids to force doctors to keep him alive” (underlining added). This choice of words makes it appear as though Lambert was dying and the hospital was artificially keeping him alive. But that is not so. A report by AsiaNews.it hits the nail on the head: “He died of hunger and thirst, but was not near death and did not need machines to support his vital functions. But his doctors and wife decided he had to die.”

By contrast to all these reactions, the conservative “Cardinal” Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, erred on the opposite side, claiming that Lambert had “died as a martyr”. Except he didn’t. He was murdered, yes; but he was not martyred. While it is true that Lambert was “a victim of the frightful madness of the men of our time”, as Sarah accurately described the situation, that is not what martyrdom is.

Donald Attwater’s Catholic Dictionary defines martyrdom as the “voluntary endurance of death for the Catholic faith, or for any article thereof, or for the preservation of some Christian virtue, or for some other act of virtue relating to God” (s.v. “Martyrdom”). Lambert was cruelly murdered in cold blood, but he was not killed for the Catholic Faith or for some supernatural virtue; so to apply the label of “martyr” here dangerously reduces martyrdom to the suffering of any kind of death that is brought about deliberately and unjustly, thereby making the concept meaningless. Sarah also contradicted himself when he said that he “pray[s] for the eternal repose of the soul of Vincent Lambert”, since it makes no sense to pray for the souls of genuine martyrs, who, rather, ought to be invoked to pray for us: “…the Church never prays for the repose of the souls of martyrs” (Catholic Dictionary).

The 2008 accident that put Lambert into this horrifying condition was a very tragic occurrence, but accidents do happen. Much more tragic, on the other hand, is how Lambert’s life was implicitly declared by courts to be superfluous and therefore ordered to be disposed of.

When people are diagnosed as being in a so-called “vegetative state”, this does not necessarily mean that they are not conscious, not aware of their surroundings, as patients who have come out of such a state have testified. In any case, we do not cease to be human simply because we cannot move, or cannot feed ourselves, or are unable to communicate. Human life is not the sum total of various bodily functions.

The following video shows Lambert weeping after hearing that the court had ordered him to be starved to death. His mother beautifully attempts to console him, telling him repeatedly, “Don’t cry” (ne pleure pas):

Lambert’s parents are now pressing murder charges against his doctors. Murder is the deliberate and direct killing of the innocent, and it is one of only four sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance (the other three are sodomy, oppression of the poor, and defrauding the laborer of his just wages).

It is certainly true that no one is obliged to use extraordinary means to prolong his life, but this is not even relevant here: Lambert was not hooked up to life support; he was merely fed through a feeding tube. When it was disconnected, he wasn’t “allowed to die”; he was forcibly dehydrated and starved to death because a court had decided it was in his “best interest.”

Years ago there was a debate among sedevacantist priests as to whether or not a feeding tube constituted extraordinary means — with no Pope to render an authoritative decision, the issue could not be settled. However, this debate need not concern us here, for our focal point in this post is the behavior of Francis, whose own religion has judged feeding tubes to be merely ordinary means.

To sum up: Vincent Lambert was lying in a hospital bed, too ill to feed himself. For nine days the hospital refused to give food or water to him, until he died — and the ever-talkative “Pope” had practically nothing to say.

“For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me” (Mt 25:42,45).

Image source: composite with elements from youtube.com (screenshot) and shutterstock.com
License: fair use and paid

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