This week, Pope Francis urged a Catholic Belgian charity to reconsider their decision to begin euthanasia of their patients in their psychiatric facilities.
The Brothers of Charity, an organization that operates 15 psychiatric hospitals in Belgium, decided last spring to allow euthanasia, which is legal in Belgium for people that suffer from curable conditions, including psychiatric illnesses.
The decision was made contrary to church teachings on the subject of euthanasia.
“This is the very first time a Christian organization states that euthanasia is an ordinary medical practice that falls under the physician’s therapeutic freedom. This is disloyal, outrageous and unacceptable,” said Brother Rene Stockman, who is a superior general of the charity.
The Pope has given the charity until the end of August to change their decision and sign a letter vowing to treat their patients in accordance with official church doctrine.
Stockman said that while the law in Belgium does not actually require hospitals to euthanize, that organizations like theirs receive a lot of pressure to do so.
“If the law changes and they say that institutions have to do euthanasia, then the situation becomes totally different. Then we have to ask ourselves, can we still continue as a Catholic hospital in a certain environment where we are forced to do euthanasia?” he said. “But until now we have the possibility to refuse euthanasia inside the walls of the
Euthanasia has been legal in Belgium since