Vatican Launches Probe into Belgian Euthanasia Scandal
The Vatican has launched an investigation into a Catholic order in Belgium after it quietly approved euthanasia for patients in its psychiatric hopitals earlier this year. Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin is running the investigation of the Brothers of Charity after the board of the order’s institutions in Belgium made a decision to allow doctors to kill their patients who request it.
The head of the Brothers of Charity internationally, Belgian Brother René Stockman, had strongly opposed the decision to permit euthanasia. It was he who brought the matter to the attention of the Vatican as well as Belgium’s Catholic bishops. Stockman said that he hopes for a “clear answer” from his country’s bishops as well as from the Vatican. “I wait for the clear answer of the Church and that answer will be presented to our organization, in the hope that it will adapt its vision,” he told Catholic News Service on May 4. “I hope we will not have to withdraw our responsibility in the field of mental health care in the place where we started as a congregation with such care more than 200 years ago,” he added.
When Brother Stockman, who is based in Rome, learned of his community’s decision to offer euthanasia for their patients, he informed them that ending a patient’s life goes against the order’s charism of healing.
Since legalising euthanasia in 2003, Belgium has continually expanded the categories of who is eligible for death. The country approved euthanasia for children in 2014.
Stockman sees the controversy currently surrounding the order he heads as part of the Belgium government’s push to force institutions to accept the practice of administering death. “The whole mentality in Belgium is changing very fast and there is pressure from the government against any refusal of euthanasia. But until now, the institutes have had the right to refuse,” he said.
LifeSiteNews. May 9.