by Maggie Gallagher
It seems impossible, but the board that controls 15 Catholic psychiatric hospitals owned by the Brothers of Charity in Belgium has just agreed to help kill patients because of “unbearable suffering.”
“We take seriously unbearable and hopeless suffering and patients’ request for euthanasia,” the board said. “On the other hand, we do want to protect lives and ensure that euthanasia is performed only if there is no more possibility to provide a reasonable perspective to treat the patient.”
These are mental patients, mind you, who may not even able to clearly give consent. And these are Catholic hospitals.
Nobody is more appalled than the Brothers of Charity in whose name this killing will take place. “We deplore this new vision,” said Brother René Stockman, the superior general of the Brothers of Charity, “as general superior we cannot accept this decision, because it is going totally against our charism of the charity.”
The board that owns the hospitals is now dominated by lay people whose cafeteria Catholicism was so elegantly expressed by Raf De Ryce, chairman of the board. Previously if a patient wanted to be killed, the hospital did what they could to alleviate his suffering and offer him hope. If he or she persisted in requesting death, under Belgian law they could be transferred to a different institution whose doctors are willing to kill their patients on request.
Now, De Ryce says, “We are making both possible routes for our patients: both a pro-life perspective and euthanasia.”
Life is important he says but refraining from killing people is not an absolute.
“This is where we are on a different wavelength from Rome,” he said.
The culture wars are not over. They are simply continuing to extend the culture of death into formerly Christian institutions, which are now capitulating merely to public pressure rather than law.
Social conservatives in this country considering a retreat from politics on the grounds we have “lost the culture” had better take heed: We may still be losing ground instead of “winning.” But in war, it is when you fling down your weapons and run away that the slaughter really begins.