Physician-assisted suicide in CATHOLIC-run PSYCHIATRIC hospitals

There are no words. I direct our readers to this post from last weekend by Wesley Smith on the National Review’s website describing the decision of a religious order in Belgium that operates 15 psychiatric hospitals with a combined 5,000 beds to permit physician-assisted suicide within their facilities.

From the Catholic News Agency

Raf De Ryce, chairman of the board overseeing the institutions, contended that the new policy was not a major change, the bioethics site BioEdge reports, citing Belgian newspapers.

“It is not that we used to be against euthanasia and now suddenly are for it. This is consistent with our existing criteria,” he said. “We are making both possible routes for our patients: both a pro-life perspective and euthanasia.”

De Ryce said the inviolability of life is “an important foundation” but for the board it is not an absolute.

“This is where we are on a different wavelength from Rome.”

I have some questions…

What responsibility do individuals and organizations identifying as “Christian” have to protect the vulnerable and the suffering? There are few institutions within Western culture where individuals experience greater vulnerability than in psychiatric hospitals.

While this episode took place in Belgium, what safeguards and protections are in place to prevent a similar action in California, Massachusetts, Vermont or New York in the next 5-10 years, or any other state that supports physician assisted suicide?

If the “inviolability of life” is not an absolute for Christians or Christian-led organizations, what is?

What’s the point in being affiliated with a religion or church that doesn’t believe in any absolute truths? Is the absence of religious leaders living out a clear, consistent and immutable faith one reason that so many people in the U.S. and Europe identify themselves culturally as “Christian” but don’t live in a way that reflects traditional doctrine and beliefs?

What will happen to the sick and the disabled if Christians cease to be the salt and light to society? 

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that  they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 5:13-16 (ESV)



May is Mental Health Month. Kay Warren has developed a webpage for #MHM2017 where she shares mental health resources for Christians and church leaders, including videos, testimonies, live interviews, Bible verses, quotes and links to support groups offered by our friends at The Grace Alliance and Fresh Hope. Check out Kay’s resources and share with your friends.

About Dr. G

Dr. Stephen Grcevich serves as President and Founder of Key Ministry, a non-profit organization providing free training, consultation, resources and support to help churches serve families of children with disabilities. Dr. Grcevich is a graduate of Northeastern Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), trained in General Psychiatry at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at University Hospitals of Cleveland/Case Western Reserve University. He is a faculty member in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at two medical schools, leads a group practice in suburban Cleveland (Family Center by the Falls), and continues to be involved in research evaluating the safety and effectiveness of medications prescribed to children for ADHD, anxiety and depression. He is a past recipient of the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Dr. Grcevich was recently recognized by Sharecare as one of the top ten online influencers in children’s mental health. His blog for Key Ministry, was ranked fourth among the top 100 children's ministry blogs in 2015 by Ministry to Children.
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