In Belgium, the hospitals of the Brothers of Charity want to continue the euthanasia

The Belgian organization of the Brothers of Charity has been preached by the Vatican, which has deprived it of the right to present itself as “Catholic”, and intends to continue to carry out euthanasia in its psychiatric hospitals.

“We do not see the need to adjust our operations on a practical level (…) because we are convinced that we are acting correctly”, affirms, in a press release, this association which manages, in Belgium, the works of the religious congregation of Brothers of Charity.

→ READ. In Belgium, the works of the Brothers of Charity will no longer be “Catholic”

In 2017, she had indeed decided to admit euthanasia for her psychiatric patients, justifying her decision by the desire to comply with Belgian law after a Flemish Catholic retirement home was forced to pay a fine for refusing euthanasia to a 74-year-old patient with lung cancer.

“We think we act with maximum respect for life”

According to Mattias Devriendt, head of communications for the association, the 20-odd euthanasia practiced since then in their 12 psychiatric hospitals (1) nevertheless testifies to “a vision more strict than that indicated by Belgian law, very flexible “

But it is obviously already too much in the eyes of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which recalled “the moral unacceptability of euthanasia” and “the impossibility of introducing this practice in Catholic hospitals”.

For Raf De Rycke, president of the Brothers of Charity association, this is a ” point of view ” which can evolve over time and take better account of the context. “On this complex issue, we believe we act with maximum respect for life, he explains to The cross. We remain convinced that our vision of euthanasia has a pastoral content which is fully in line with Christian personalism. “

“It’s euthanasia that it’s about”

He also believes that Brother René Stockman, superior general of the Brothers of Charity, who sits in Rome, would use the pretext of euthanasia to settle his accounts with the Belgian branch of his congregation, of which he was provincial from 1994 to 2000, after being responsible for his mental hospitals.

In doing so, said Raf De Rycke, the superior general would be acting in violation of the principle of subsidiarity when the Belgian religious members of the association’s board of directors had approved the orientation text allowing euthanasia.

An accusation rejected by Brother Stockman, of which Raf De Rycke was the assistant in the 1990s before succeeding him as head of psychiatric care for the organization. “It’s euthanasia it’s all about, he corrects. It is this subject which, for three years, has been at the heart of the meetings that we have had with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Secretary of State. “

“You can’t touch life”

He also recalls that, in 2018, the general chapter which re-elected him for a fourth term as head of the Brothers of Charity had “clearly confirmed that one cannot touch life”. “This is not my personal vision but that of the whole chapter”, he insisted, while recognizing that all religious may not agree.

In October 2018, following this chapter, he had not renewed the terms of directors of two religious who had approved the organization’s decision to practice euthanasia. Which makes the organization say that it would not have the support of the Belgian province. “In religious life, a province cannot say that the decisions of a general chapter are not for it”, nevertheless recalls the religious.

In this story, it is not impossible that the will to settle scores is hidden with a figure labeled as “conservative” after having engaged in the Belgian debate on euthanasia, especially when it was a question of open this possibility to psychiatric patients, of whom Brother Stockman is a recognized specialist.

A very secularized Flemish Catholicism

“We cannot exclude the will to attack a personality opposed to what is seen, by large swathes of a liberal and very secularized Flemish Catholicism, as a normal evolution of society”, says an observer of Belgian Catholicism.

Not imagining this drift of Flemish Catholicism at the time of forming the association to which they entrusted their works, the Brothers of Charity were undoubtedly careless in not foreseeing that the decision could one day escape them.

The decisions are now taken within a board of directors where they are a minority, they know today that they will have to give up works yet at the heart of the action of the congregation from its foundation in the early nineteenth century in Ghent. Works that also enabled the Belgian province to finance numerous solidarity projects around the world.

The battle will move on the judicial front

Raf De Ryke said the superior general feared that this important source of funding for the work of his congregation around the world would disappear. Except that solidarity within an international religious congregation cannot be limited by secular borders.

Theological and moral, the battle is therefore likely to move on the legal front, and in particular on the key question of the ownership of psychiatric hospitals.

For Brother Stockman, these are the property of another association under Belgian law still controlled by the religious and separate from the organization now breaking with the congregation. For Raf De Rycke, the situation is more complex, the goods belonging to the Belgian region of the Brothers of Charity which makes them available to the organization thanks to long-term leases which are difficult to question.

“Brothers of Charity”: “a name we have the right to use”

“We are currently consulting lawyers. A solution through open and constructive dialogue seems difficult to me, even if we will make every effort possible “, he said, recalling that “Belgian civil law must prevail over Church law”.

He also said that there was no question of questioning the name of the organization Brothers of Charity, which was a source of confusion with the eponymous religious congregation. “We explicitly chose to keep it last year, he explains. It is a known name in Belgium that we believe we have the right to use. “


The Foyers de Charité shed light on their co-founder, Father Georges Finet

They themselves, still crushed by the weight of the revelations, expect a “shock wave” in their community and, more generally. Only a few weeks after the revelations about Jean Vanier, the heads of the Foyers de charité, born in 1936 under the inspiration of the mystic Marthe Robin and which today bring together nearly 1,000 members in 40 countries, must in turn recognize that their co-founder, Father Georges Finet (1898-1990), was guilty of “seriously deviant acts” on minors and young women as part of the sacrament of confession. And that other fathers and household members have also turned out to be abusers.

A first indirect testimony had been addressed to them, then had been diffused in February 2019 on France Culture: that of a man whose companion, before committing suicide, had confided to be traumatized by the confessions with father Finet when she was a boarder from the Foyers school in Châteauneuf-de-Galaure (Drôme).

This testimony, and a few others that had followed (sometimes in defense of Father Finet), added to rumors, had led the moderator general of the Foyers to mandate an independent commission in September 2019, in connection with Rome and the French episcopate, to shed light on the figure of this charismatic priest.

Concordant testimonies

After six months of investigation, this commission, led by Françoise Gaussen, former director of Catholic education, surrounded by independent experts (canonist, psychoclinician, historian, theologian, etc.), published its report, which the Foyers publish today a 23-page summary. “I did not imagine the magnitude in advance … But after reading the commission’s report, I am stunned and overwhelmed by the seriousness of the facts, by the suffering of the victims after so many years”, notes the moderator, Father Moïse N’Dione.

→ READ. The co-founder of the Foyers de charité is the subject of a research commission

The commission has indeed received concordant testimony, covering the period 1945-1983, of twenty-six women. Former students of Châteauneuf, mostly aged at the time of the events from 10 to 14 years old, but also former retreatants (major) (1), report deviant gestures during confessions, and “Intrusive and insistent questions” dealing with sexuality.

Sexual assaults

If the frequency and the duration of these abuses are not specified nor their direct testimonies quoted, the operating mode of the priest is, according to the synthesis, roughly the same: he often confesses late at night, after 10 p.m., in his room- desk, sitting or lying on the sofa bed or the deckchair. The teenager is on her knees very close to him, even on her knees. He then practices “Body touch”, sometimes even on the skin after unbuttoning clothes, on “Neck, breasts, arms, buttocks, thighs” …

The confessor has a list of specific questions, insistently suggests such a “fault” and persists until the confession. And this, while the youngest schoolgirls were still unaware of the very existence of sexual realities. Some admit having sometimes invented a fault to be released as soon as possible from this “Particularly strenuous sequence”. The priest, him, by listening to them, sometimes has the congested face or stammers.

At the time, the report notes, new approaches were being developed on the emotional and sexual education of young people, to which Father Finet took great interest and devoted part of his lessons. The fact remains that the detail of his gestures – with unbuttoning, under clothing, during confession and therefore by surprise, on the part of a person having authority, in relations of “grip” – would allow today If he were not dead, to qualify them legally as sexual assault.

“Lasting suffering”

The commission does not go so far but emphasizes the extremely serious consequences in the personal, professional and ecclesial life of the victims and their “Lasting suffering”, “physical, psychological, spiritual”. Some had to undergo psychological follow-up, others rejected the Church. Beyond the physical gestures, the abuse of authority and the spiritual abuse were all the more strong since the confession was presented to them as compulsory, the priest even making wake up pupils in the evening to make them go up to his home.

“In the end, Father Finet seems to be an emblematic figure of abuse of power over people who can be influenced, in a problematic system”, summarizes the report. “These acts are very serious and we condemn them without reservation, says Father N’Dione. We wish to seek with them a suitable path so that we can ask their forgiveness for the trauma they have suffered. “

→ PODCAST. “Abused religious, I investigated my community”

This dossier is all the more complex since this charismatic man elicits very contradictory reactions, even thirty years after his death in 1990. If some describe him as having a cult of personality and a little “Fabricator”, “Good father Finet”, as others called him, was also admired for his building dynamism, his “Paternal authority” an educator, even adulated, long after his disappearance. And when the Gaussen commission called for witnesses, a good number immediately asked to be heard to show their recognition and defend his memory.

According to the report, the majority of the 143 testimonies received in the six-month investigation came from people who did not “Never encountered any problems” with him, in confession, “Otherwise possible blunders in the questions asked”. The idea of ​​a deviance would be for them “Inconceivable, inadmissible”. Especially since it is often recalled in the Foyers that Father Finet was chosen by Marthe Robin herself, in 1936, inspired by a vision of Christ, to found the Foyers and to be his spiritual director.

An “enlarged” figure of the “father”

So how is it possible? Has anyone seen anything? The commission recalls the context of the time: with dechristianization, many Catholics clung to charismatic figures of adulated priests, whose success tended to anesthetize the critical spirit of the members of their works.

It calls into question the lack of systematic training for lay members of the community. And above all, an “enlargement” of the figure of the “father”, “sole master on board” in the Foyers, which gradually imposed itself under the impulse of father Finet and from which they are still heirs today. Until 2016, the internal and external forums were not separated in the community, the priest at the head of the household also being the confessor of its members.

Furthermore, according to testimony, ” lay members are relegated to maintenance or service tasks; it all depends on the father’s good will “, in a system where “The figure of the priest, starting with that of the founding father, appears to be sacred”. ” Obedience to God becomes obedience to the father of Foyer “, the authors of the report also note, affirming at the end of their research that Father Finet cannot be considered today as a spiritual reference for the community.

“A work of personal and collective awareness”

Could this enlargement have led to a culture of systemic abuse and drifts? ” The figure and the role of Foyer’s father, and the obedience due to him, favored abuses, recognizes the commission. Unregulated systems carry these risks. “ It already appears that a dozen priests and members of households were the subject of reports during the open commission for Father Finet. A certain number belong to the first generation of fathers of hearths, that of Father Finet – Father Van der Borght, in Tressaint, for whom already more than 50 complaints have been raised since the first revelations two years ago, Father Blard, in Baye, Father Tierny, in Courset (all deceased)… Some abuses were also committed after the year 2000 and, according to the Foyers, were the subject of sanctions.

Many questions arise and those responsible for the Homes admit that they do not know how to answer them today. A theological commission will be set up to investigate them, a person outside the community appointed to the listening cell for the victims, as well as an audit launched in all the homes.

“We are at the beginning of a work of personal awareness, for those who were contemporaries of this period, and collective, affirms the secretary general of the Foyers, Thierry Coustenoble. We must dare to hear the victims’ words to question us, to analyze what may have been the perhaps structural, cultural, implicit or explicit causes which allowed these acts. By speaking today, the victims allow us to realize the depth and breadth of all the reform work before us. “

“We are not afraid of the truth because it sets us free”, abounds Father N’Dione, who intends to continue the governance reform initiated in 2016. This one aroused tensions and resistances, some living in the “nostalgia” of the time of Father Finet, notes the commission, which encourages them today to move forward: The Homes could then become one of the laboratories of initiatives to fight against clericalism in the Church, and participate actively in the fight against abuse and control. “


Charity is not confined to the bedside of patients admitted to hospitals

If I understand the price that the presence of spiritual support can have for a dying person, I nevertheless feel that I disagree with the reader who is indignant that priests and chaplains are at this moment removed from the bedside of the sick (letters to readers of the March 26). How many of us, how many around the world will die, if we let it happen?

Charity commands, it is a fact, but charity is not confined to the bedside of the sick admitted to hospitals, and the apostolate of priests is exercised on all fronts with equal importance. Let us wish the sick a distance assistance but do not demand from the priests that they risk a precious life for all the faithful.

Claude Malherbe


The “devastating” arsonists new apartments built for people with learning difficulties

An important investigation has been launched to find an arsonist who set fire to the block of newly built housing on Hamilton Street in Grimsby.

A number of fires were deliberately started around 5:00 pm on Thursday, when a man entered the block of 24 apartments.

The fire came simultaneously with a large number of emergency service personnel and the Royal Logistics Corps army was investigating a suspicious device found in an apartment above the main store on Wellington Street. The police also had to maintain a large cordon around several roads in the eastern swamp.

A large plume of black smoke came from the apartment building while that operation was underway.

Police and fire investigators at the fire scene on Hamilton Street in Grimsby
Police and fire investigators at the fire scene on Hamilton Street in Grimsby

A window was turned off due to the force of the heat.

Three apartments were disemboweled and severe fire and smoke damage caused the rest of the £ 1 million facility for people with learning difficulties.

The apartments were built on the site of the former Excelsior Club.

Paul Silvester, CEO of Foresight.
Police and fire investigators at the fire scene on Hamilton Street in Grimsby
Paul Silvester, CEO of Foresight at the fire scene on Hamilton Street in Grimsby

Retirement planning director Paul Silvester described the arson attack as “devastating”.

Yesterday, investigators from the Humberside fire and rescue service and the Humberside police scene of crime officers were present yesterday to gather evidence.

A nearby camera’s CCTV is also being examined to find the suspect.

Silvester said: “It is devastating for us and for all the people who had to move into the apartments. This delayed us by at least three or four months. It will take that time to make it work.

“The impact is enormous because many people with learning disabilities had to move. Some had been in the apartments to choose which one they wanted and couldn’t wait to move.”

Firefighters on the scene in Hamilton Street

He said: “There is a great shortage of independent housing in North East Lincolnshire and here we had 24 ready to open their doors. It is a great opportunity for many people.”

The charity has taken out a £ 1 million loan to do the job and will now be without income for tenants for several months following the fire.

He thanked the North East Lincolnshire Council for erecting barriers to create better security and maintain a path from Hamilton Street to Cleethorpe Road.

Silvester said there were two burglaries on the site this year.

He said the contractors were still responsible for securing the site until the formal delivery of the condominium to Foresight.

Anyone who was informed was invited to call the Humberside police citing the accident number 394 on March 19.


Stevenage 24 hour Xbox Marathon for TRACKS (Autism) | News from Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth, Biggleswade

PUBLISHED: 08:30 March 15, 2020

Matt Clarke says his son Tristan is receiving incredible support from TRACKS Autism in Stevenage. Image: courtesy of TRACKS (autism)

Matt Clarke says his son Tristan is receiving incredible support from TRACKS Autism in Stevenage. Image: courtesy of TRACKS (autism)


A devoted dad is preparing to play Xbox games continuously for 24 hours to raise money for a charity that has provided life-changing support for his autistic son.

So far Matt Clarke has raised over £ 600 in sponsorships, all of which will be donated to TRACKS (Autism) in Stevenage, a specialized center for early years for children with an autism spectrum condition.

Matt’s son, three-year-old Tristan, has autism and has attended TRACKS since September last year.

Matt, who lives in Stevenage, said: ‘We cannot thank the staff enough for the dedication and hard work they have put into each session.

‘Autism is a permanent and developmental disability that affects the way a person communicates and relates to other people and how they live the world around them.


The people of Grimsby put on their dancing shoes for the 12-hour dancer from St Andrew’s Hospice

Over 100 people danced all night for Sant’Andrea Hospital on Saturday as part of their first ever charity ball.

The event ended a week of dance events in north east Lincolnshire when the community came together to raise funds for the hospice.

This includes the Clifton Glitterball Tour, where Keith and Judy Clifton – Kevin’s parents of Strictly – toured a Strictly Come Dancing glitterball trophy delivered to the winners of the competition around Grimsby.

Local activities and emergency services were also involved in the fun week, including Humberside Fire and Rescue Service which organized its #DanceForAndy during the celebrations.

Other Cliftons were also involved, with Joanne Clifton also dancing as part of the week-long Danceathon fundraiser.

Some dancers danced for the full 12 hours, including, from left, Ceri Vickery, Caroline Scott, Tilly Clifton MBE and Margaret Wells

The week culminated in the 12-hour danceathon, which started at 12 on Saturday and ended at 12 on Sunday morning.

Many dancers got out and got involved during the day, but some got involved for the whole 12 hour session.

This included a small group of Caistor Clodhoppers dancers, who had a combined age of 377 years, the oldest being 69 years old.

Caroline Scott, one of the dancers, said: “We came to show our support for the Sant’Andrea Hospital and raise funds for them, but we decided to make the whole 12 hours as a challenge.

“It is such a privilege to do dance for such an adorable charity as also the Sant’Andrea Hospital.

Aileen Johnson, left, and Mariechar Hilling were raising money for St. Andrew’s Hospice for the first time

“There were six of us in total, but unfortunately two had to leave at around 17:00, but we are waiting until the end.

“Usually we dance at the Cliftons Dance Academy for Latin and when we heard about them involved in this, we thought we would all come down.”

Another pair of dancers was first involved in the Sant’Andrea Hospice, with Aileen Johnson and Mariechar Hilling wanting to do their part.

Aileen said, “We got involved because we wanted to help the hospice. I am a teaching assistant and Mariechar works nearby, so when we heard about it we decided to come down.

“It is our first time ever to get involved with the Sant’Andrea Hospital, and we will definitely be involved again!”

John Stobart, left, Jennifer Layton, center and Sean Stanfield looking for the part for Danceathon

Becky Darnell, responsible for hospice funding and charity campaigns, said: “The event happened while the hospice organizes signed events throughout the year, and our neighbor is the Sparkle Walk in June.

“So we wanted to do something between now and then, besides keeping people active, and who doesn’t love good boogie?

“We hope to raise £ 5k for the hospice with everything we’ve done. Cliftons have been instrumental in organizing the entire event throughout the week, as has Ultimate Packaging, who are always excellent supporters for us.

“We have had many people on the ground and they have shown their support and this is only the first one, so we hope that the next one will be even bigger and better.

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“During the day we had about 100 dancers, with some doing a few hours and others still here and they will be all day.

“If you want to make a donation to the hospice, simply write the word” hospice “and the amount at 70004.”


Spirit Airlines Charity Foundation Hits Donation Hole-In-One, Exceeds $ 1 Million at Spirit Open Golf NYSE: SAVE

The open spirit


The Spirit Airlines Charity Foundation raised $ 1 million for charities and nonprofits at the annual Spirit Open golf event.

PARKLAND, Fla., February 27, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Aviation professionals have ties to community leaders at the Spirit Airlines Charitable Foundation’s fourth annual golf event. Together, they raised a record $ 1 million for nonprofits, almost corresponding to the total raised in the last three Spirit Open tournaments put together.

More than 200 partners and team members attended the welcome and event at the Parkland Golf & Country Club, supported by over 100 companies that sponsor the event. This year’s sponsors are NextGen Aeronautics, Everise is Airbus.

“We are extremely grateful to our partners across our international network who have gathered generously this year to offer their support to the Foundation,” said Laurie Villa, President of The Spirit Airlines and SVP Charitable Foundation and Chief Human Resources Officer. of Spirit Airlines. “With this year’s donations, we look forward to stepping up our long-term commitments for the benefit of children and families, education, military veterans and the environment.”

At the event, the Foundation presented the first round of its 2020 charity commitments to representatives of the following organizations.

Quotes for partners

“We extend our thanks to the Spirit Airlines Charitable Foundation for ongoing support. Our school’s mission is to provide education to children and young adolescents from low-income families in Zipaquirá county. The spirit understands that quality education helps people overcome the challenges they face when trying to break the circle of poverty. With this money, we will be able to bring many benefits to 200 other students. I share this joy with all members of our community and all our students, teachers and administrative team. “- Andrea Piñeres, director, Mano Amiga Zipaquirá

“Since 2017, the Spirit Airlines Charitable Foundation has been an outstanding philanthropic partner with Broward College, offering merit-based and financial needs-based scholarships for 34 aviation students seeking industry titles and certifications at Emil Buehler Aviation Institute. ” – Jim DeChant, Broward College Advance Office, Chief Gift Officer

In addition to the event presentation sponsors – NextGen Aeronautics, Everise and Airbus – other main sponsors include:

Travel insurance AIG Aerospace composites of Atlanta
Avolon Delta Global Services (DGS)
Ground handling of the airline GAT Hotel connections
MedAire Global perimeter logistics
Pratt & Whitney Safran Landing Systems
Spirit Airlines Total Airport Services, LLC
Swissport International AG USI insurance services

The Spirit Airlines Charitable Foundation is committed to inspiring positive change in the communities in which we live and work. Investments are made in organizations that have a significant impact on the lives of children and families, education, the environment and military veterans through volunteer team members, monetary and in-kind donations. One hundred percent of the event’s proceeds go directly to charities and nonprofits. Email if you have questions about The Spirit Airlines Charitable Foundation.

In addition to the Foundation, Spirit Airlines continues to invest in South Florida through the construction of a new $ 250 million venue close to Fort Lauderdale international airport and adding corporate partnerships to support key initiatives such as Flight of honor in South Florida and the 2020 Pride of the Americas.

About Spirit Airlines:
Spirit Airlines(NYSE: SAVE) is committed to providing the best value in the sky. We are leaders in providing customizable travel options starting at a non-combined rate. This allows our guests to pay only for the options they choose – such as scholarships, seat assignments and refreshments – something we call À La Smarte. We offer our guests the opportunity to venture further and discover more than ever. Our Fit Fleet® is one of the youngest and most fuel efficient in the United States. We operate more than 650 daily flights to 77 destinations in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and are committed to returning and improving the communities we serve. Come save with us Let’s go to Spirit Airlines. Let’s go for you

A photo accompanying this announcement is available on