Psychiatric patients in Catholic-run Belgium hospitals will now be given the option to die.
The Belgian branch of the Catholic religious order the Brothers of Charity said on their website that they take patients’ requests to die seriously. Those with “hopeless suffering” are now allowed to die upon request. They will make sure the patient is killed only if they don’t have a “reasonable” prospect of treating them.
The chairman of the hospital’s board told a Belgian news source that allowing people to choose to die is consistent with their criteria for treatment. Now they are making it available as an option. The “inviolability of life” is not an absolute, he said.
The order runs 13 psychiatric clinics in Belgium. Previously, its hospitals had sent people who wanted to die to other hospitals. It began treating the mentally ill in 1815.
A Real Tragedy
The head of Brothers of Charity “strongly opposes” the practice. Speaking to MercatorNet, Brother René Stockman called the decision “a real tragedy.” The order had resisted the push by the Belgian government and medical establishment for widely available euthanasia. Now, he said, the order’s opponents are saying “that finally the group of the Brothers of Charity capitulated and came into their camp.”
Catholic theologian Fr. Thomas Petri told LifeSiteNews he wasn’t surprised. Euthanasia, he said, “is not only an offense against the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but an offense against life itself.”
Petri said the board of Brothers of Charity insist they are both pro-life and pro-euthanasia. The contradiction is irrational. “In the United States, such persons are normally encouraged to seek psychiatric care.”
The order began its work with the mentally ill by “breaking of the shackles used to restrain the mentally ill in the crypts of Gerard the Devil’s Castle in Ghent,” according to its website. Then, they freed them. Now they’ll help them die. (For more from the author of “Catholic Hospitals in Belgium Now Provide Euthanasia as an Option for Those With ‘Hopeless Suffering'” please click HERE)