Pope Francis to Belgian Catholics: Stop offering euthanasia

LONDON (AP) — The Vatican says Pope Francis has ordered a Belgian Catholic charity to stop offering euthanasia in its psychiatric hospitals.

In May, the Brothers of Charity group announced it would allow doctors to perform euthanasia at its 15 psychiatric hospitals in Belgium, one of only two countries — along with the Netherlands — where doctors are legally allowed to kill people with mental health problems, at their request.

The charity said in a statement that euthanasia would only be performed if there were "no reasonable treatment alternatives."

The Vatican press office said this week that the pope had asked the Belgians not to perform euthanasia.

The Catholic Church opposes euthanasia and the Holy See has begun investigating the decision to allow euthanasia, which was made by the group's lay board of directors.