Belgium’s Brothers of Charity have cut ties with their 15 homes for psychiatric patients after the Vatican stripped the institutions of their Catholic status because euthanasia was permitted on their premises.
Br Rene Stockman, superior general of the Brothers of Charity, the order that founded the homes, said the brothers had “no choice but to remain faithful” to their “charism of charity, which cannot be reconciled with the practice of euthanasia on psychiatric patients”.
The centres were managed by the Provincial Association of the Brothers of Charity.
“The loss of Catholic identity for our psychiatric centres in Belgium is a painful situation for the congregation (of the brothers),” Br Stockman said. “With a heavy heart, the congregation has to let go of its psychiatric centres in Belgium.”
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ruled that the pro-euthanasia position of the Provincial Association of the Brothers of Charity was incompatible with Church teaching on the inviolability of human life. Because the association has refused to reverse its policy on euthanasia, the doctrinal congregation was left with “no choice” but to order the homes to cease to identify as Catholic institutions.
The Brothers of Charity were informed of the Vatican decision in a letter co-signed by Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer, doctrinal congregation prefect, and Archbishop Giacomo Morandi, doctrinal congregation secretary. The letter emphasised that the ruling was the result of ‘the total refusal’ to follow Church teaching.
Picture: Protesters hold a banner and placards as they demonstrate against a euthanasia law in Brussels in this file photo. The Vatican has stripped 15 Belgian homes for psychiatric patients of their Catholic status because euthanasia was permitted on their premises. (CNS photo/Laurent Dubrule, Reuters).