Pope orders end to euthanasia offer
LONDON — Pope Francis has ordered a Belgian Catholic charity to stop offering euthanasia in its psychiatric hospitals.
In May, the Brothers of Charity group announced it would allow doctors to perform euthanasia at its 15 psychiatric hospitals in Belgium, one of only two countries — along with the Netherlands — where doctors are legally allowed to kill people with mental-health problems, at their request.
To qualify, people must be in a state of “unbearable suffering” and at least three doctors, including one psychiatrist, must be consulted.
The charity said in a statement that euthanasia would be performed only if there were “no reasonable treatment alternatives” and that such requests would be considered with “the greatest caution.”
“We respect the freedom of doctors to carry out euthanasia or not,” the group said, noting that this freedom was “guaranteed by law.”
The Vatican press office said this week that the pope had asked the Belgians not to perform euthanasia.
People flee a wildfire approaching a village Friday in central Portugal after winds and warmer weather Thursday rekindled blazes in the country. One fire in June killed 64 people.