Catholic Hospital Group Grants Euthanasia to Mentally Ill, Defying Vatican
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL – FRANCIS X. ROCCA/PHOTO CREDIT: GLOBAL PANORAMA
A chain of Catholic psychiatric hospitals in Belgium is granting euthanasia to non-terminal patients, defying the Vatican and deepening a challenge to the church’s commitment to a constant moral code.
The board of the Brothers of Charity, Belgium’s largest single provider of psychiatric care, said the decision no longer belongs to Rome. Truly Christian values, the board argued in September, should privilege a “person’s choice of conscience” over a “strict ethic of rules.”
The policy change is highly symbolic, said Didier Pollefeyt, a theologian and vice rector of the Catholic University of Leuven.
“The Brothers of Charity have been seen as a beacon of hope and resistance” to euthanasia, he said. “Now that the most Catholic institution gives up resistance, it looks like the most normal thing in the world.”