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‘Gay patient says Catholic chaplain refused him last rites’

Catholic World News - February 20, 2014

A homosexual patient at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington alleged that an archdiocesan priest refused to administer the last rites to him.

Father Brian Coelho, who declined comment for the Washington Post article, reportedly was in the midst of hearing the patient’s confession when they were interrupted. He reportedly told the man that he was willing to pray with him but could not administer the sacraments to him.

One of the paragraphs in the article implies that the patient is an “active participant” in the homosexual lifestyle.

The hospital has “taken our patient’s concerns very seriously,” it said in a statement. While the priest is not an employee but rather is assigned by the Archdiocese to provide spiritual care at our hospital, it is our expectation that all who support our patients adhere to our values.”

“Our hospital was recognized last year as a ‘Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality’ by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation,” the statement continued. “We want to hold true to this important commitment to the LGBT community and to all of our patients. Our Department of Spiritual Care has reinforced our expectations with this particular priest and his superiors.”

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Show 8 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: mateskub8508 - Feb. 21, 2014 6:50 AM ET USA

    Once again, it is an occasion to make it look like the Church discriminates against homosexuals. The guy could've confessed sleeping with his friends wife; we don't know what he confessed and will never know, 'cause the priest is bound by the seal. If the penitent is not repented and that becomes obvious for the priest during confession, he simply can't absolve him. If the same thing had happened to a womanizer, no one would go to the Washington Post.

  • Posted by: GymK - Feb. 20, 2014 11:19 PM ET USA

    Why can't homosexuals and others, understand that this type of situation has little to do with homosexuality. E.g., if the exact same scenario had involved a heterosexual person who told the priest that he (or she) was an "active participant" with another in a sexual relationship outside of marriage, the priest would had to made the exact same decision. Mortal sin, unrepented, excludes one from the sacraments regardless of the type of sin (theft, murder) or the sexual orientation of the sinner.

  • Posted by: Margaret - Feb. 20, 2014 8:22 PM ET USA

    Failed to administer Last Rites or absolution after confession? The whole story is confusing but the blatant statement "Dept. of Spiritual Care has reinforced our expectations with this particular priest and his superiors" is beyond the pale.

  • Posted by: fenton1015153 - Feb. 20, 2014 6:57 PM ET USA

    It seems that Father Brian did extend care to the man. He offered to pray with him. That is what any other chaplain would do for that person. The hospital is trying to make the Catholic Church feel shame for following our own teachings. This is the beginning of more trouble for the Church.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Feb. 20, 2014 6:57 PM ET USA

    Keep in mind that the culture's objective is to destroy the Catholic Church by whatever means they can use.

  • Posted by: ElizabethD - Feb. 20, 2014 3:56 PM ET USA

    If this involves the seal of confession (applicable also in the instance of a confession where absolution cannot be given, for instance because the person expresses no contrition) the priest presumably cannot comment on it, period, even to defend himself. Saying that a clergyman who is no employee of theirs has to adhere to the hospital's "values" over his own religious beliefs and Catholic Church discipline to which he is obliged by his vocation, is entirely offensive.

  • Posted by: shrink - Feb. 20, 2014 9:47 AM ET USA

    In the City of Man, which is steeped in the therapeutic mentality, the mortal sin resides in violating the gay guy's self esteem. Since pastors don't preach much about the difference between morals and self-esteem, it's to be expected that some gay guys will get confused, and want to seek revenge when their life-style is not affirmed.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Feb. 20, 2014 7:06 AM ET USA

    That he "adhere to OUR values"?!? Shouldn't a Catholic priest do as Fr Coehlo seems to have done and adhere to Catholic values? If the man persists in his sin and makes it clear to the priest that this is what he intends, the priest clearly cannot give him absolution. The archdiocese should tell hospital representatives to stick to medicine, a subject they may know something about.

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