Catholic World News

Pope orders Belgian Catholic hospitals to end euthanasia

August 09, 2017

Pope Francis has ordered Belgian psychiatric hospitals run by the Brothers of Charity to cease offering euthanasia.

The Brothers of Charity, who operate 15 hospitals in Belgium, disclosed in May that they were prepared to offer euthanasia as an option for psychiatric patients. After a Vatican investigation, the religious order has been given until the end of August to end that policy or face canonical discipline.

Brother Rene Stockman, the superior general of the religious order, had strongly opposed the hospitals’ policy. He told Catholic News Service that the Vatican had threatened to strip the hospitals of their Catholic identity if administrators did not comply with the papal order. The Vatican also instructed all members of the Brothers of Charity who serve on the hospitals’ boards to provide a written assurance that they accept the Church’s teaching that “human life must be respected and protected in absolute terms, from the moment of conception until its natural end.”

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  • Posted by: bruno - Aug. 13, 2017 6:54 AM ET USA

    To my thinking, the fact that an ultimatum has been issued probably means Pope Francis expects to have to enforce it. The investigation must have determined that the hospitals were too far from the path of reason to be brought back. May the consciences of many be stirred by his action!

  • Posted by: ALC - Aug. 10, 2017 8:09 AM ET USA

    The idea that euthanasia was even considered at a Catholic hospital is purely diabolical. Thank goodness Pope Francis stepped in and is putting a stop to it.

  • Posted by: [email protected] - Aug. 09, 2017 9:00 PM ET USA

    This certainly took long enough but thank God for the Pope's action.

  • Posted by: Gregory108 - Aug. 09, 2017 7:20 PM ET USA

    Sad the Pope had to do that! These folks are Catholic brothers. Don't they know their Faith? Didn't any of them go through religious instruction? Weren't they taught that killing is wrong? Is catechesis really so poor that religious brothers didn't know that euthanasia is wrong? Why are they given until the end of August to stop the killing? Isn't that like saying, "You have until the end of August to stop stealing or to stop your adultery." Or "Mafiosos must stop killing by 8/31?" Yikes!

  • Posted by: John Holecek - Aug. 09, 2017 5:53 PM ET USA

    Well, praise God. Pope Francis delivers!