Say 'No' to Euthanasia in Psychiatric Institutions Run By Brothers of Charity
On 24th April, devastating news emerged that the psychiatric institutions of the Brothers of Charity would allow euthanasia in the future. This decision completely contradicts the existing policy which has guided these institutions till now, on the basis of their Christian identity.
According to the policy so far, euthanasia has not been permitted, and, thus, not applied within the institutions of the Brothers of Charity. But, because Belgian law allows for euthanasia, a patient could, in extreme cases, be transferred to another hospital so that his or her life could be terminated.
Under the Brothers' new regime, however, people may also be euthanized within their own institutions.
This volte-face in policy was immediately repudiated by the Head of Order in Rome, Superior General, René Stockman. But, while he stated his vehement opposition, the Belgian Provincialate of the Brothers of Charity, the nonprofit association in which the institutions are housed, chose to disregard Stockman's intervention.
In total, thirteen people sit on the Board of the association, of whom three are brothers of the Order.
From the Provincial Statutes, Art. 2. §1:
"The purpose of the organisation is to provide guidance to people with respect to their human development, regardless of their origin, gender, conviction or financial standing. [We] aim to achieve this goal from a believing and loving attitude, in the Gospel spirit and in the spirit of Peter Joseph Triest, the founder of the congregation -- the congregation of the Brothers of Charity".
In addition, Art 4. §4 on board members says:
"The Members and the candidate members [of the Board] are supposed to help achieve the purpose of the organisation, from a Christian inspiration and from the general mission of the Brothers of Charity".
"As members and employees of the Brothers of Charity, we want to approach fellow believers with a faithful and loving attitude. We find our inspiration in the values of the Gospel and act in imitation of Jesus, our Saviour. "
"In this society, we want to create beacons of hope and be witness to God's love."
"In this way, we want to improve the quality of life and contribute to a more humane society where there is room for both the poor and the feeble."
It is really unbelievable how much the Provincialate of the Brothers of Charity now contradicts its own foundation, by giving a lethal injection to some of their "feeble" patients in the future, instead of loving care.
According to the Leadership Philosophy of the Brothers of Charity, people in positions of leadership, within their affiliated organisations, should also be "bearers of Christian values" and "witness to the message contained in the Gospel."
"In our personal and professional lifes, we witness to the message contained in the Gospel and to the mission of the Brothers of Charity. We also support them [the Gospel message and the mission of the organisation] and take initiatives to further integrate them into our work environment. "
In addition, the Brothers' Leadership Philosophy deals with "taking decisions in an ethically responsible and Christian manner".
But "further integration" of the Gospel message can never be understood to mean actively euthanising patients within its own institutions.
In such psychiatric institutions, patients generally are not, themselves, able - and, in any case, should not be allowed or tacitly encouraged (by making euthansia available) -- to make balanced decisions about such a grave matters as taking their own lives, or actively being killed by a "doctor".
That the Board of the Brothers of Charity has come to its decision in an "ethically responsible and Christian manner" can, thus, be ruled out.
The Head of the Order in Rome, and the Vatican, have indicated their intention to fight this decision. Eventually, however, the Provincialate must decide on such decisions taken within the Order.
Therefore, please sign this petition to the Board of the Provincialate of the Brothers of Charity, asking them to adhere to their declared principles.
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