Last spring, the board of directors decided to permit euthanasia, under certain conditions, in their facilities. The religious order asked the board to reverse the decision, but the board refused. Because the Brothers of Charity had no legal options in Belgium, they appealed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The response, backed by Pope Francis, directed that the board reverse the euthanasia policy, in conformity to Catholic doctrine.
The decision to allow euthanasia in Brothers of Charity hospitals came after the Belgian bishops' conference publicly declared that no euthanasia could be allowed in Catholic institutions.
Cardinal Jozef de Kesel of Malines-Brussels, stressed to CNA that "the bishops spoke out clearly: euthanasia cannot become a right."
In a statement released on their web site, the Brothers of Charity explained that the board reaffirmed their to allow euthanasia, under certain conditions, during a Sept. 11 meeting, despite the directives of the Belgian bishops and the Vatican. After the religious order was unable to persuade the board to reverse the decision, they appealed again to Vatican officials. The board will now be asked to explain their decision, as Church officials determine how to proceed.
The Brothers of Charity underscored that "the Vatican communicates that it will not change its initial request to have an absolute respect for life in all circumstances in accordance with the Catholic doctrine."
The meeting, which has not yet been scheduled, "will be the last chance" for the hospital board "to set themselves in line with the doctrine of the Catholic Church," said Br. Stockman.