What would the martyrs of the Church think about Belgium’s euthanasia law?

Late last week the country of Belgium became the first nation in the world to allow terminally ill persons of any age to be euthanized.

The controversial bill was passed by Belgium’s Parliament 86-44 and is expected to be signed by Catholic King Philippe sometime in the coming days.

Despite 60% of the Belgium population identifying as members of the Roman Catholic Church, the small European country will now have the dubious distinction of being home to the most progressive euthanasia laws on the planet.


There’s little need to discuss how barbaric this law really is. Hiding behind the mask of empathy, fanatical worshippers of the idol of choice will now be able to entice society’s most vulnerable members into making the gravely sinful act of meeting our Lord face to face not according to His terms but according to their own.

Proponents of the law tell us that the euthanasia of minors will only occur in specific circumstances and that it will be carefully regulated. In other words, only during safe, legal and rare occasions will the procedure be carried out on children.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

The truth of the matter is that like abortion, this law will be abused and will encourage other countries to adopt similar reckless attitudes towards end of life care.

However noble supporters of euthanasia laws think their intentions are, they are blinded by the fact that suffering is something we all must endure. It is, in fact, part of the divine plan.

To be sure, some of us are given crosses that are heavier than others. Some less.

But when it comes to death, we have to remind ourselves that no servant is greater than his master. And Jesus Christ, being the savior of all mankind, underwent a brutal death.

Not only was Christ nailed to a piece of wood, he was scourged at a pillar, adorned with a crown of thorns, rejected by mobs of Jews who just days earlier praised his name, and was forced to carry his own cross. What makes us think that we have a “right” to a less painful death? Are we greater than our savior?

The final hours we spend on this earth is a special time in our life that God has prepared for us. According to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, it will be our time to share in the passion of our Lord. This necessarily means that we will be tempted to not go through with it the way God wants us to.

But if we are obedient to God’s will and trust in Him like the martyrs of the Church did, we will be able to endure any suffering He gives us.

St. Lawrence accepted his suffering when he was killed on a gridiron

St. Lawrence accepted his suffering when he was killed on a gridiron

True, the martyrs of the Church, before entering into eternal bliss with God, endured many horrific chastisements. Some were eaten alive. Others were burned at the stake. Others were cooked on iron grills and some were stoned to death.

Yet, for embracing the painful path that was laid before them, these selfless followers of Christ planted the seeds of the Church. Their obedience and suffering won special graces from God that has helped sustain His Church for two thousand years.

Imagine, for a moment, if these saints had listened to the Belgium Parliament and chose to not take up their crosses? Imagine if St. Stephen, the first martyr of the Church, ran away and hid from his accusers instead of accepting being stoned to death. What would the Church be like if he had had not obeyed the will of God? What would the world be like?

The suffering God has planned for us in our final days serves a greater purpose than we know. Many times these sufferings are meant to procure the salvation of others or to lessen the time we ourselves have to spend in purgatory. Euthanasia, by virtue of the fact that it disallows us from suffering, rejects God’s plan. And by partaking in it, we replace the will of the Creator with the will of the creature.

But, as creatures, this is a choice we are not allowed to make. Just like we didn’t get to decide when our life began we don’t get to decide when our life will end. Pray for those lawmakers in Belgium and across the world who think that we do.


Categories:Culture Family Health Care

  • Susan Rabalais

    Speaking for myself and my desire for my loved ones, it is very hard to watch a loved one suffer. But it is God’s will when and how we die. Humans already make too many life ending decisions. Thank you for this beautiful article.

  • Linda Brewer

    We have no right to play God.

  • Cathy Stephenson

    I can’t believe this is actually happening in our world!! PLEASE !! Don’t sign this bill!! Our entire society just as soon kill each other if this is allowed. Our GOD did not create us to kill each other in this fashion.

  • Pauline Reynolds

    My first thought was that a parent can now kill their child after birth, too.

  • Eric Johnson

    Would you allow an animal who is dying to suffer? Would you allow a horse with a severely broken leg and unable to stand up to suffer? Then why would you allow a human being to suffer a painful, long-term death and not give him or her a choice?

    • MaryW

      Please read the entire article before commenting. The why of suffering is explained., and unlike dogs and horses we have immortal souls.

      • Eric Johnson

        The devil loves to see us suffer. God does not.

        • Stephen

          Here is just one of the many statements St Alphonsus made about suffering, Eric. You can find this in “The Way of Salvation and of Perfection.”

          “Many persons are delighted to hear one speak of prayer, of peace, of love of Jesus Christ; but they find little pleasure in hearing one speak of crosses or of suffering. These are satisfied so long as the wind breathes with spiritual delights, but if it ceases, and there comes some adversity or desolation, in which the Lord hides himself in order to prove them, and deprives them of their usual comfort, they leave off prayer, Communion, mortification, and abandon themselves to ill-humor and lukewarmness, seeking their pleasure from earthly things.

          But these souls love themselves more than Jesus Christ; they who do not love him with an interested love, for the sake of consolations, but with a pure love, and only because he is worthy of love, do not leave their usual devout experiences, being content to please God; and they offer themselves to suffer this desolation even til death, and through all eternity, if God so will it.

          Jesus Christ, says St Frances de Sales, is as kind in desolation as in consolation. Souls that love God find their comfort and sweetness in suffering; in recollecting that they suffer for his love and say ‘How sweet it is, O my Lord! to those who love Thee to suffer for Thee! Oh, that I might die for the love of Thee, my Jesus, who hast died for me!’ All this, and still more, is claimed from us by Jesus Christ, who chose a life of pains, and a bitter death, without the slightest relief, for love of us; in order to teach us that if we would love him, we must love him as much as he loved us.

          Oh how dear to Jesus Christ is a soul which suffers and loves! O divine gift! gift, above every other gift, to love in suffering, and to suffer in loving! I do not pray to exempt me from suffering. I only pray Thee to give me strength to suffer with patience and resignation. Deprive me of everything, of every earthly good, of relatives, friends, health of body, of every comfort, deprive me even of life, but not of Thy love.”

          • Eric Johnson

            So now you’re upholding mortification? Sad sad sad

    • Mungbean

      Dear Eric,

      There is a qualitative difference between ending the life of an animal and ending the life of a person. A person is created in the image and likeness of God and is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Animals are not. Taking our life is wrong because our lives do not belong to us; our lives belong to God.

      That isn’t to minimize the very real pain and suffering experienced by individuals who opt for Euthanasia. Unfortunately, much of this is preventable through good, palliative care. Good palliative care, however, is expensive and time consuming making euthanasia the cheaper and easier option.

      Facing the end of one’s life takes a great deal of courage. Is this fair? I think so. We ask single mothers to have courage as they work and sacrifice for their children. We ask those of us who are depressed and considering suicide to have courage and soldier despite what problems they may be facing. We should be helping these people to live courageously, to comfort and help these vulnerable individuals as they face the end of their lives. We should NOT be killing them.

      • Eric Johnson

        Mungbean, our lives do belong to us. God gave us free will and right to choose the life we lead. He gave us full ownership of our bodies. To believe that suffering with long-term pain is what God wants us to do makes the devil very happy. You can choose to suffer with long-term pain. That’s a personal choice but don’t believe that God demands this because he doesn’t.

        • Stephen Kokx

          More of St Alphonsus:

          “How many martyrs have embraced scourges and fiery plates, and the most cruel torments of tyrants, in order to please God…In order to give pleasure to God, the saints have stripped themselves of their possessions, have renounced the greatest earthly dignities, and have accepted as treasures infirmities, persecutions, the loss of property and the most painful and desolate deaths.”

          “‘If any one will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily.’ It will be useful to make a few reflections on these words…The Lord desires that we should come close after him, we must therefore walk in the same road of thorns and sufferings in which he walked. If we love him, we must follow him even to death.”

          “Some persons embrace the cross at the beginning, when it reaches them; but when it lasts long, they say ‘Now I can bear no more.’ Yet God wills that we should go on to endure it with patience, and even that we should bear it continually, even till death. We must deny our self-love, embrace the cross God gives us and follow the footsteps of Christ even to death”

  • Laura

    Please also pray for King Philippe that he would make a stand against this awful bill, like his uncle King Baudouin did against abortion. It’s not law until he signs it. (I’ve gone into this on my blog: http://www.catholiccravings.com/2014/02/15/will-pray-belgium-king/) But FAR more importantly, you can sign the petition here: http://www.citizengo.org/en/4158-not-sign-legalisation-child-euthanasia

    • Del Agda

      Yes. I will pray for him and also for the members of the parliament.



Receive our updates via email.