The Vatican has put its foot down on a Belgian Catholic group over euthanasia and has declared that it can no longer be considered “Catholic”. The Brothers of Charity, a religious congregation founded in the 19th century, runs 15 highly-respected psychiatric hospitals. In 2017, the board of the organization’s hospitals, which was composed on 12 lay people, including former Christian Democrat Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy, along with three brothers of the congregation, decided to permit doctors to practice euthanasia in the hospitals.
The Catholic Church strictly forbids euthanasia. However, the board refused to buckle under pressure from the Church to manage the hospitals with a Catholic spirit. “In spite of the three years of dialogue, the vision of those in charge of the organisation has unfortunately remained unchanged”, laments Brother René Stockman, Superior General of the Brothers of Charity in Rome. “It is contrary to the doctrine of the Church.”
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