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Belgian bishops condemn country's legalisation of euthanasia

Belgium's bishops have condemned a parliamentary vote to legalise euthanasia in the predominantly Catholic country.

Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Mechelen-Brussels said the law sets a dangerous precedent by putting the "extremely subjective" concept of "quality of life" ahead of existence.

"This is a black day for the Belgian parliament, certainly a day marked with a black cross," he told Vatican Radio last week.

The bill, approved last Thursday, allows doctors to help end the lives of patients who have reached the legal adult age of 18 and who have made a specific, voluntary and repeated request. The measure requires that the patient be in a hopeless medical situation and constantly be suffering physically or psychologically.

If the bill is signed into law, Belgium will become the second country to decriminalise assisted suicide in certain circumstances. The Netherlands, where a euthanasia law took effect April 1, was the first.

Belgium legalises euthanasia (Lifesite)


22 May 2002