- Dec 14, 2019
Between 2003 and 2013, the Catholic population of the Netherlands declined by 589,500. Catholics now represent just 22.9 percent of the country according to 2015 data. Cardinal Wilhelm Jacobus Eijk, archbishop of Utrecht, says the solution to growing secularism is for faithful Catholics to build a culture of life by becoming a “creative minority.”
The head of the Brothers of Charity said the order may withdraw its sponsorship of 15 hospitals in Belgium after the board voted to ignore a Vatican demand not to perform euthanasia at the facilities. Brother René Stockman said the Brothers of Charity would remain faithful to the Church’s teaching, despite serious civil pressure to the contrary.
In a September 12 statement, the board of the Belgian Brothers of Charity defied a Vatican request to end euthanizing patients, and said it “continues to stand by its vision statement on euthanasia for mental suffering in a non-terminal situation.” The Brothers of Charity in Belgium run 15 psychiatric hospitals with 5,000 patients.
Herman Van Rompuy, who has formerly served as the President of the European Council and Prime Minister of Belgium, has tweeted a message implying Pope Francis cannot tell a Belgian religious order to stop performing euthanasia at its medical clinics. Van Rompuy serves on the board of the Brothers of Charity Group.
The Brothers of Charity, which runs 15 centers for psychiatric patients across Belgium, formally implemented its euthanasia policy in June, just weeks after the bishops declared they would not accept euthanasia in Catholic institutions. About 12 psychiatric patients in their care are believed to have asked for euthanasia over the past year, with two transferred elsewhere to receive the injections to end their lives.
The Vatican is formally investigating a group of psychiatric care centers in Belgium run by a Catholic religious order which has enforced that doctors in the facilities perform euthanasia. Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, will be overseeing the situation himself.