The Belgian parliament has passed its Child Euthanasia law — but it’s not law yet.
It won’t be law until the King of the Belgians signs it.
By all accounts, King Philippe of the Belgians is a faithful Catholic. The king is a shy, hard-working, and modest man. Among many Belgians, he is regarded as ridiculously old-fashioned. He is married to Queen Mathilde, née Comtesse d’Udekem d’Acoz, and they have four beautiful children: Elisabeth, Gabriel, Emmanuel, and Eléonore.
(To give you an idea how awesome this family is, his sister is a member of Opus Dei and married the grandson of Blessed Karl of Austria, the last Emperor of Austria. That’s some Catholic cred there, people!)
King Philippe could refuse to sign the bill. There is some precedent for this. In 1990, his uncle King Baudouin abdicated the throne for a day because he refused to sign into law Belgium’s liberal abortion laws. He was widely criticised for this but there was some understanding. King Baudouin was an elderly gentleman, a devout Catholic, and he and his wife Queen Fabiola had lost five precious children in miscarriages.
King Philippe is capable of the same sort thing. When he was just a prince and serving time in the senate, he introduced a law against pornography. He was laughed off the floor by his more worldly-wise countrymen.1 But today’s climate is very different from even 1990.
Will you pray that the king will do something — however small — to act according to his faith and make known his horror at this cruel law? You can sign a petition here.
It’s easy for us private citizens to talk about making a grand-stand for our faith, but King Philippe is a constitutional monarch. Unlike the rest of us, he isn’t allowed political opinions.
If he does act against this law, he will cause outrage and probably a constitutional crisis. That is the last thing Belgium needs right now. The country is already wrought with massive political tension. It is heavily divided between the French-speaking Walloons in the south and the Dutch-speaking Flemish in the north. And boy, they really don’t get on very well.
This is not a happy country. For example, Belgium’s latest political crisis ended in 2011 when, 541 days after the election, the politicians elected finally managed to form a government. It has been said that the only true Belgian is the King of the Belgians himself. He really is the only one holding the country together.
Will you pray for him now?
Pray for wisdom and prudence, pray for his family, and pray for Belgium. Pray that like King Baudouin, King Philippe would be a true father to his people.