Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The Vatican really doesn't want Belgian Catholics to perform euthanasia

In May the Broeders van Liefde (Brothers of Charity) in Boechout by Antwerp, announced it would allow doctors to perform euthanasia at its 15 psychiatric hospitals in Belgium, one of only two countries — along with the Netherlands — where doctors are legally allowed to kill people with mental health problems, at their request.
In reaction to that proposed idea Pope Francis I ordered them stop offering euthanasia in its psychiatric hospitals and warned them if they wanted to continue their idea they would be expelled from the Roman Catholic Church.

The Christian brothers would not offer euthanasia so easily but would have it only performed if there would be “no reasonable treatment alternatives” and that such requests would be considered with “the greatest caution.” for the first time it is that Catholic brethren express euthanasia to be an ordinary medical practice that falls under the physician’s therapeutic freedom and that the people running a hospital, psychiatric or medical centrum should listen to the medics.

But it seems that the Belgian charity’s administrative headquarters in Rome are not pleased with their Belgian confraters. They issued already a statement in May, arguing that allowing euthanasia “goes against the basic principles” of the Catholic Church, but it looks like the brethren in Belgium want to put foot.
Some weeks further now we still do not know what the the Belgium charity is going to do.

Mattias De Vriendt, a spokesman for the Belgium charity, said the charity’s hospitals had received requests from patients seeking euthanasia recently but could not say whether any procedures had been performed.

The vast majority of patients seeking euthanasia in Belgium have a fatal illness like cancer or a degenerative disease. While the number of people euthanized for psychiatric reasons accounts for only about 3 per cent of Belgium’s yearly 4,000 euthanasia deaths, there has been a threefold increase in the past decade.

Critics have previously raised concerns about Belgium’s liberal approach to euthanasia while advocates say that people with mental health illnesses should be granted the same autonomy as those with physical diseases.

+++