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]

 

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.

 


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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]

 

Pope orders religious order to stop offering euthanasia in its hospitals

Aleteia

Vatican Radio

A religious congregation is being ordered by the pope to stop offering euthanasia in the hospitals it sponsors.

According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis has ordered the Belgian arm of the Brothers of Charity to stop allowing the euthanizing of patients in its psychiatric hospitals. .

Pope Francis also ordered Brothers of Charity who serve on the group’s board to sign a joint letter to their Superior General declaring 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.” . . .[Full text]

In Argentina’s religious freedom row, politics makes strange bedfellows

Crux

Ines San Martin

ROME – Argentina didn’t exist as a nation when Shakespeare inspired the line “politics make strange bedfellows,” but if the Bard were around today, he might well look to the pope’s native country for proof, where the once leading conservative rival of the future pontiff and Amnesty International find themselves in an unlikely alliance over a proposed religious freedom law.

In the case of Archbishop Héctor Rubén Aguer of La Plata, seen as the country’s most fiercely traditional prelate on matters such as the legalization of abortion and contraception, he insists the law could threaten the Church’s protected status under the country’s constitution, while Amnesty International fears the law could deprive Argentine youth of their sexual rights. . . [Full text]

 

Pope Francis: modernity’s suppression of freedom of conscience is diabolically inspired “polite persecution”

Sean Murphy*

In the course of a morning homily discussing the martyrdom of St. Stephen in Jerusalem,1 Pope Francis linked the “cruel persecutions” of early Christians with the Easter Sunday mass murder of Pakistani Christians three weeks ago by Taliban killers.

However, the Pope also identified “another kind of persecution that is not often spoken about.”   In addition to the “clear, explicit type of persecution” like the slaughter of Christians who profess their belief in Jesus Christ, there is a second kind, he said, one ““disguised as culture, disguised as modernity, disguised as progress.”

“It is a kind of — I would say somewhat ironically — polite persecution.”

This “polite persecution” is not against those who merely profess Christian beliefs, he explained, but against those  who want “to demonstrate the values of the Son of God.”  This “polite persecution” does not use bombs or guns, but the force of law.

“We see every day,” said the Pope, “that the powerful make laws that force people to take this path, and a nation that does not follow this modern collection of laws, or at least that does not want to have them in its legislation, is accused, is politely persecuted.”

This denial of freedom includes the legal suppression of conscientious objection, now notably advocated by powerful interests and some politicians in Canada who want to force participation of even objecting health care workers and institutions in euthanasia and assisted suicide.

“God made us free, but this kind of persecution takes away freedom!”

Canadian health care workers who refuse to provide or facilitate homicide or suicide now face the kind of threats described by Pope Francis,2 who explained how “polite persecution” works.

“[I]f you don’t do this, you will be punished: you’ll lose your job and many things or you’ll be set aside.”

Calling this “the persecution of the world,” the Pope warned that its leader is the one identified by Jesus Christ as “the prince of this world” (i.e., Satan).

“The prince of this world” can be recognized, warned Pope Francis, “when the powerful want to impose attitudes, laws against the dignity of the children of God, persecute them and oppose God the Creator: it is the great apostasy.”

The Christian’s path, he concluded, is always beset by these two kinds of persecution  that bring “much suffering,” so Christians must be confident in the presence of Jesus “with the consolation of the Holy Spirit.”


Notes

1. “Pope’s Morning Homily: Denial of Conscientious Objection Is Persecution.  At Casa Santa Marta, says devil is behind the persecution brought by culture and modernity.”  Zenit, 12 April, 2016

2.  See, for example, Attaran A. “Doctors can’t refuse to help a patient die – no matter what they say.” iPolitics, 13 November, 2015 (Accessed 2015-11-24).  In response, see Murphy S., “Amir Attaran and the Elves.” Protection of Conscience Project, 15 November, 2015;

Pope Francis must defend religious liberty in America

New York Post

Armando Valladares

Thirty years ago, I slid a piece of paper across a table at a secret meeting with the fabled French maritime explorer Jacques Cousteau. In it were dozens of names, all political prisoners in Fidel Castro’s gulags where I spent 22 years of my life. Months later, when Cousteau visited Cuba for research and Castro wanted to scuba dive with him, Cousteau leveraged the release of 80 of those prisoners in exchange. Cousteau used the gift of his fame to change the lives of Cubans for generations to come.

When Pope Francis arrives in the United States this month, he will not barter pictures and backslaps for political prisoners. America is still a nation where its citizens can publicly oppose their political leaders without fear of incarceration. At least for now. But in his unprecedented address to a joint session of Congress, he should protest against the ongoing creation of a new class of prisoners in our society: religious conscientious objectors. [Full Text]

Silencing the Voices of the Faithful in Health Care

 Without People of Faith in Medicine, Who Will Defend the Vulnerable?

Denise Hunnell, MD

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 23, 2015 (Zenit.org) – Religious liberty provides for the free exercise of one’s faith in every aspect of life. This freedom is far more extensive than merely having the freedom to attend the worship service of choice.  Truly living one’s faith means that family life, professional life, leisure activities, as well as spiritual practices are guided by the tenets of faith. . . .

Every profession is vulnerable to this religious discrimination, but perhaps none more so than the medical profession. Health care workers are intimately involved with matters of life and death on a daily basis. Catholic teaching, in accord with natural law, professes that all human life has intrinsic dignity from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death and faithful Catholics seek to uphold this dignity in every aspect of their lives, including their professional activities. Catholic health care workers are increasingly challenged by a secular health care system that offers little or no protection for the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly, and has little regard for religious principles.[Full text]