(DAILY CALLER) — Pope Francis has ordered a Catholic charity in Belgium to cease euthanizations of mentally ill patients in their psychiatric centers by the end of August, or face excommunication.
The Brothers of Charity announced in May that doctors in their 15 psychiatric hospitals were free to euthanize non-terminal mentally ill patients upon request, according to the Associated Press. Francis personally approved a demand from the Vatican that the charity rescind that policy by the end of August or get expelled from the Catholic Church, according to Brother Rene Stockman, superior general of the order that runs the charity.
Stockman decried the charity’s decision to allow doctors to euthanize mentally ill patients, saying that doing so pushed them toward destruction rather than helping them away from it.
“To use euthanasia as a kind of ultimate therapy would be utterly unworthy of us,” Stockman said of his order. “It would be as if we were helping a patient who is on the verge of the abyss to take the leap of death, by giving him a little push. As far as I know, this is the very first time a Christian organization has classed euthanasia as ordinary medical practice.”