- May 25, 2020
Dutch Catholics are criticizing the Netherland’s Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday that doctors may carry out euthanasia on people with severe dementia, provided they had previously prepared an advance directive.
Dutch Cardinal Wim Eijk gave an official reaction to the verdict in a landmark euthanasia case, in which a doctor who performed euthanasia on a woman suffering from severe dementia has been acquitted of murder. Last week prosecutors announced their decision to take the case to the Dutch Supreme Court.
The Netherlands is known for being one of the most secular countries in Europe. The cities went first, but now the often traditionally catholic rural areas of the country are also secularizing fast.
Cardinal Willem Eijk of Utrecht has rejected a plan by the parish board of St. Catherine’s Cathedral to sell the building, to save on maintenance costs.
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 Netherlands became the world’s first country to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in 2002 and has since witnessed a rapid increase in related deaths, with 20 now occurring daily, according to a May report by the Regional Euthanasia Commission. A new assisted suicide bill, introduced in 2016, would allow healthy people suffering nonmedical conditions such as “loneliness, bereavement, limited mobility and decline from old age” to be helped to die by a nonprofessional “assistant-in-suicide.”