Belgian Brothers of Charity defy Vatican over euthanasia

The group has refused to reverse its decision to allow euthanasia in its hospitals

Catholic Herald

The Belgian Brothers of Charity have defied the Pope and announced they will continue offering euthanasia at their hospitals despite being ordered to stop.

The group said in a statement that it “continues to stand by its vision statement on euthanasia for mental suffering in a non-terminal situation” and that they “emphatically believe” the practice is compatible with Catholic teaching . . . [Full text]

 

Quebec euthanasia rates on track to match Belgian 6-8 year rates after 2 years

Sean Murphy*

Not all Quebec euthanasia statistics for the first half of 2017 have been made public.  However, available numbers indicate that the province is on track to reach levels  after two years that correspond to Belgian rates after six to eight years. Subject to the publication of the remaining statistics, the following points appear to be of interest:

  • About 18-19 requests for euthanasia were made weekly in the province in the first half of 2017, about the same as the last half of 2016.
  • The percentage of requests that did not result in euthanasia increased slightly from about 37% to 39%
    • Increases in this category, when reported, were attributed mainly to patients becoming incompetent, dying or withdrawing their requests.
  • Of the 22 agencies reporting euthanasia in the first half of 2017,
    •  in 18 the average weekly number of requests for euthanasia increased;
    • in 15 there was an increase in euthanasia provided weekly;
    • in 17 there was an increase in the rate of euthanasia per 100,000 palliative patients.
  • Of the 22 agencies reporting the use of “continuous palliative sedation” (CPS) in the first half of 2017
    • in 15 there was an increase in the rate of CPS per 100,000 palliative patients.

The Project’s analysis is available at Euthanasia Statistics: Quebec.

 

Chilean bishops say new abortion bill ‘offends the conscience’

Crux

Ines San Martin

ROME – After a two-year debate in Congress, Chile’s constitutional court has voted to approve a bill lifting the country’s total ban on abortion. The measure, that had the full support of President Michelle Bachelet, was criticized by the bishops, who said it “offends the conscience and the common good of the citizens.”

The legislation also gives no exemption to religious institutions, and conscience rights are offered only limited protection. . . [Full text]

 

 

Doctors divided over voluntary assisted dying legislation in Victoria

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Lauren Day

You may think you have to make some pretty tough decisions at work, but it doesn’t get much tougher than choosing whether to help someone die.

Doctors are grappling with their personal and professional beliefs about death and their role in it as politicians in Victoria consider assisted dying laws.

Opinion polls show the majority of people support voluntary assisted dying, but those who would have to administer it are divided.

Polls suggest around 75 per cent of people support assisted dying for the terminally ill, but only 40 per cent of doctors agreed in a recent survey by the Australian Medical Association. . . [Full text]

 

There’s an unseen benefit to California’s physician-assisted death law

LA Times

Soumya Karlamangla

Some doctors in California felt uncomfortable last year when a new law began allowing terminally ill patients to request lethal medicines, saying their careers had been dedicated to saving lives, not ending them.

Many healthcare systems designed protocols for screening people who say they’re interested in physician-assisted death, including some that were meant to dissuade patients from taking up the option.

But physicians across the state say the conversations that health workers are having with patients are leading to patients’ fears and needs around dying being addressed better than ever before. They say the law has improved medical care for sick patients, even those who don’t take advantage of it.

“One doctor said we should be able to order the End of Life Option Act without the drugs,” said Dr. Neil Wenger, director of the UCLA Health Ethics Center. “It really has created a new standard for how we ought to be helping people at the end of life.” . . . [Full text]

 

Pope demands that Belgian Catholic hospitals stop euthanasia

BioEdge

Michael Cook

Earlier this year a group of Catholic hospitals and clinics for the mentally ill in Belgium announced that it would allow doctors to perform euthanasia on its premises. The group is linked to a religious order, the Brothers of Charity.

Earlier this month Pope Francis issued an ultimatum: this must stop by the end of August. He also ordered the three Brothers who serve on the 15-member board to sign a letter stating that  they “fully support the vision of the magisterium of the Catholic Church, which has always confirmed that human life must be respected and protected in absolute terms, from the moment of conception till its natural end.”

If the board refuses, the hospitals could lose their affiliation with the Catholic Church.

One of the board members is Herman Van Rompuy, a former President of the European Council and Belgian Prime Minister. He tweeted that “The time of ‘Roma locuta causa finita’ is long past.”

Brother René Stockman, the head of the Brothers of Charity, is a Belgian but opposes the stand taken by the local members of his own order. He commented: “The central point and the foundation within Christian ethics is that life is absolute, which cannot be touched. Life is a gift from God and entails an assignment. And because life is absolute, it is a state worthy of protection.”

A spokesman for the Belgian group acknowledged that it had received a letter from the Vatican but said that it had not yet responded.

 


This article was published by Michael Cook and BioEdge under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation to BioEdge. Commercial media must contact BioEdge for permission and fees.

 

Stand-off with Catholic hospitals as euthanasia gains traction in Canada

Bioedge

Xavier Symons

As euthanasia rates increase in the Canadian province of Ontario, pressure is mounting on Catholic Healthcare providers to abandon their blanket opposition to Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD).

Over 630 Ontarians have received MAiD since the procedure was legalised in Canada in 2015, according to data from the provincial coroner, yet none of these cases has taken place in a Catholic healthcare facility.

Lobby groups are now calling for sanctions on Catholic healthcare providers, particularly in light of the public funding these providers receive.

Dying With Dignity Canada CEO Shanaaz Gokool told CBA News that her organisation is considering a legal challenge of Catholic hospitals’ right to conscientiously object to participation in euthanasia.

Gokool says that the Catholic healthcare policy of transferring MAiD patients to secular facilities places an undue burden on patients. “It really depends on how precarious their physical medical condition is,” she said. “And if they are in a precarious state physically, then that can cause them more trauma.”

Ontario health minister Eric Hoskins said that access to MAiD was not currently a problem. “We’re obviously monitoring it very, very closely and currently don’t have those concerns in terms of access,” he told CBA News. “And about half of medical assistance in dying happens at home”.


This article was published by Xavier Symons and BioEdge under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation to BioEdge. Commercial media must contact BioEdge for permission and fees.

Conscientious objection in assisted suicide cases under threat in Ontario

Crux

Kevin J. Jones

TORONTO, Canada – Conscience protections for Catholic hospitals and other organizations could soon come under fire in the Canadian province of Ontario, with one assisted suicide group saying they may challenge this legislation in court.

Deacon Larry Worthen, executive director of the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada, warned that it becomes very difficult to defend objections to assisted suicide once it becomes legal.

“Of course our position would be that there should be no requirement for faith-based institutions to be involved in assisted suicide or euthanasia,” the deacon said. “It’s appropriate that not only the institution, but the individuals should be protected as well.” . . . [Full text]

 

Pro-Abortion Groups Say Christian Medical Professionals Should be Forced to Participate in Abortions

Life News

Rebecca Oas

In early August, an international group of abortion advocates met in Uruguay to discuss the potential removal of conscience protections for healthcare providers with regard to abortion.

Religious freedom is an obstacle to women’s health, according to conference organizer International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC). The group encourages advocates to ensure “that professional bodies recognize that personal beliefs can seriously undermine the provision of women-centered, professional health services.” . . . [Full Text]

 

Top European leader blasts Pope for telling Catholic hospitals not to euthanize patients

Lifesite News

Lisa Bourne

BRUSSELS, Belgium, August 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The former European Council president took a shot at papal authority on social media last weekend, inferring that Pope Francis should not have input on whether a Belgian Catholic religious order allows its hospitals to euthanize patients.

“The time of ‘Roma locuta causa finita’ has long been over,” Herman Van Rompuy tweeted in Dutch on Sunday.

The phrase ‘Roma locuta causa finite,’ is Latin for “Rome has spoken, the case is closed.” It originates from an early fifth-century statement by St. Augustine and references the ultimate authority held by the pope.

The tweet was in reply to canon law professor Kurt Marten’s tweet publishing the list of trustees for the Belgian Brothers of Charity, showing Van Rompuy serves on the Board. . . . [Full Text]