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Vatican City, Jul 2, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- Stepping into what has turned out to be a tumultuous legal battle involving a UK couple's push for a say in the treatment and death of their terminally ill son, Pope Francis has offered his prayers for the child, and asked that the parents' wishes be respected.
“The Holy Father follows with affection and emotion the story of Charlie Gard and expresses his own closeness to his parents,” read a July 2 statement issued by Vatican spokesman Greg Burke.
“He prays for them, wishing that their desire to accompany and care for their own child to the end will be respected.”
The statement was made as the tense legal battle between Gard's parents and the UK officials regarding how and when he will die comes to an end.
At just 11 months, Gard suffers from a rare degenerative brain disease called infantile onset encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, or MDDS.
With only 16 known cases in the world, the disease causes extensive brain damage. While Charlie Gard does have some brain function, he requires assistance to breathe, has periodic seizures and is not expected to develop sophisticated mental abilities without treatment.