Incompetent Superior General dismissed

The Vatican has deemed incompetent Br René Stockman, (68), the Superior General of the Brothers of Charity in Rome and has removed him from all his administrative functions.

Stockman is accused of not managing the Religious Congregation properly, of a lack of financial transparency and long-term vision.

While Stockman remains Superior General of the Brothers of Charity, an apostolic administrator has taken over his administrative, day-to-day role.

Stockman refused to comment on the move.

However, the move is welcomed by the Belgian branch of the Religious Congregation.

Its president, Raf De Rycke expressed relief at the announcement saying that he hoped Stockman’s removal will restore the Vatican’s confidence in the Congregation.

Stockman’s successor as Superior General of the Brothers of Charity will be elected next year.

Stockman is well known for his opposition to Belgium’s liberal laws that allow for patients who suffer unbearably psychologically to be euthanised.

The Brothers of Charity manage several schools and psychiatric hospitals in Belgium.

In May 2018, Stockman sued two of its Belgian members for misuse of one million euros over the Belgian province’s decision to allow euthanasia at its psychiatric hospitals there.

Then later in November, the Brothers of Charity did not reappoint two pro-euthanasia board members who allowed a protocol that permitted hospitals owned by the religious congregation to perform euthanasia in limited circumstances.

In 2020, the Vatican stripped 15 of the Belgian Brothers of Charity’s psychiatric institutions of their Catholic status because euthanasia was permitted on their premises.

Stockman, says the brothers had “no choice but to remain faithful” to their “charism of charity, which cannot be reconciled with the practice of euthanasia on psychiatric patients”.

The Vatican decided to remove the Catholic status of these psychiatric institutions after the Brothers of Charity board decided to allow euthanasia for its patients, which is legal in Belgium.

“The loss of Catholic identity for our psychiatric centres in Belgium is a painful situation for the congregation (of brothers),” Stockman said. “With a heavy heart, the congregation has to let go of its psychiatric centres in Belgium.”


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