The board of the Belgian Brothers of Charity announced Tuesday it will continue offering euthanasia to patients in their psychiatric centres, despite being ordered by the Vatican to stop doing so.
The “Broeders van Liefde” board had been given until the end of August to comply with the Vatican order, which was seen and approved by Pope Francis. Brothers of the order were also asked to sign a joint letter to their general superior, Brother René Stockman, confirming their adherence to Church teaching.

In a Sept. 12 statement the organization defied the Vatican request and said it “continues to stand by its vision statement on euthanasia for mental suffering in a non-terminal situation.”

Furthermore, it claims that in adhering to this vision, the organization “is still consistent with the doctrine of the Catholic Church. We emphatically believe so.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in paragraph 2277, states that: “Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.”

The Brothers of Charity in Belgium run 15 psychiatric hospitals with 5,000 patients. The board controlling these institutions, which consists of a few Brothers but primarily of lay members, announced in the spring that they would permit euthanasia in their facilities.

The board argued in their recent statement that their position “always takes into account the shifts and evolutions within society”, while also considering “recognition of the exceptional, proportional view of ethics, deontological view and ideologization, and choice of conscience.”

This view is not shared by the general superior of the order, Br. Rene Stockman, who initially went to the Vatican for help in the spring when the board announced that it would start permitting euthanasia within the order’s facilities.

Read more at EWTN News.