Catholic Priest Refuses Gay Man Last Rites

Ronald Plishka, a gay Catholic man who suffered a heart attack on February 6, was admitted to the emergency room at Washington Hospital Center in DC for treatment. Unsure if he would survive, he requested a priest give him the last rites. Father Brian Coelho was brought in to perform the ceremony but stopped once he learned that Plishka is gay.

The Washington Blade reports:

Washington“We started talking and I told him I was so happy with this new Pope because of his comments about the gays and his accepting the gays,” Plishka said. “And I mentioned that I was gay. I said it and then I asked him does that bother you? And he said, ‘Oh, no, that does not bother me,’” said Plishka.

“But then he would not proceed with administering the last rites or communion. He couldn’t do it.”

According to Plishka, Coelho, who brought a supply of holy water to his hospital room, never said in so many words that he was refusing to administer communion and last rites.

Asked what Coelho told him, Plishka said, “Well, I mean he stopped. He would not do it. By him not doing it I assumed he would not do it because why was he getting ready to do it and all of a sudden when I say I’m gay he stops?”

Plishka said Coelho gave no reason for not giving him the sacraments he requested but offered instead to pray with him.

“He said what he wanted to do,” said Plishka. “He wanted to pray. That’s what he wanted to do. He said well I could pray with you. And I just told him to get the fuck out of here — excuse me. But that’s what I told him.”

Plishka received further treatment at the hospital and was eventually released. Once home he called to complain about Coelho.

Once at home, Plishka said he called the hospital chaplain’s office to lodge a complaint against Fr. Coelho. He said he also called the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception next to Catholic University, where he has attended Mass nearly every Sunday for years.

“They have a priest on call,” he said. “So he called me back and said he agreed with what the priest at the hospital did. He said unless you’re willing to change and basically become somebody you’re not, then this priest had every right to do that, to refuse you communion and to refuse you the last rites of the church,” Plishka said.

Comments

  1. Mike says

    How very “christian” of the priest. Man, that club is messed up. Some major clean-up needs to be done.

  2. Bryan says

    Sounds dickish, but am I supposed to feel bad for the man? You willingly subject yourself to a religion that largely disregards you and is against the kind of person you are, is it a surprise when things like this happen?

  3. Bryan says

    Sounds dickish, but am I supposed to feel bad for the man? You willingly subject yourself to a religion that largely disregards you and is against the kind of person you are, is it a surprise when things like this happen?

  4. Mike says

    Completely in agreement with Bryan.

    People may think that religion is literally about “love thy neighbour” but that is simply secular post-enlightenment society remaking bronze age mythology. The bible is full of putting the hate on others – “neighbour” is not as heavily generalized. Wishing religion were different is simply wishing that religion was something else.

  5. mickey says

    This type of thing is bound to happen when you continue to support the very organization that works day and night to keep you a second class citizen.

  6. Chrislam says

    Gotta love the Catholic Church—-they’ll send millions of tax-free dollars to protect their pefophic priests but refuse to give a gay man his last rites.

    I wonder if this priest gave the last rites to people who continued to wear poly-cotton blends or bankers who made a living off of usury.

  7. Chrislam says

    Gotta love the Catholic Church—-they’ll spend millions of tax-free dollars to protect their pedophilic priests but refuse to give a gay man his last rites.

    I wonder if this priest gave the last rites to people who continued to wear poly-cotton blends or bankers who made a living off of usury.

  8. Sean says

    Christianity like all other organized religions is simply a tool of oppression. It oppresses and marginalizes anyone that does not comply with its beliefs.

  9. james st. james says

    So the magic shaman refused to perform the superstitious rite?
    If you waved a few twenty dollar bills at him you would have had the complete show.

    That is how it has always worked. Ask anyone who wanted a high mass for a wedding. “The price is… I mean the usual donation is…”

  10. Tigernan says

    Oh no, now you won’t get into that Heaven that doesn’t exist and wouldn’t have you if it did (at least in their version).

  11. bkmn says

    Having been raised Lutheran I gave all that crap up as an adult and only go to churches for weddings/funerals these days. They don’t care about you, only your donations.

    Catholics are the worst of the bunch with all their protection of pedophiles – how about caring for the victims instead of shielding the pedophiles and the church’s money?

  12. steve talbert says

    Why do people continue to be surprised when they find out the Catholic church DOES NOT like gays and thinks women should be only baby machines???!!!. How is thus news it of any interest in 2014!!!! This was obvious in the 1980s with their response to HIV and inif 1890s with child molestation cover ups and 2000s with abortion rights and desalvo case with end of life decisions, and 2010s with birth control

    A religious order is not a democratic organization. Gay Catholics are even mire self delusional and hating than gay republicans at this point..

  13. JackFknTwist says

    And if all these religionists are right, is a little snakeoil at the end of my life going to save me ?

    I will rely on the old rules, live well and have two coins for the Boatman.
    He will get me across to join Hephaistion and Alexander; Achilles and Petroclus. And I will sit down with The Sacred Band of Thebes and hear their stories of defeating the Spartans.

    But your hypocritical priests and your self obsessed evangelicals you can keep……they can quote all the boring Leviticus and Jeremiah and Paul and all the other works they manipulated into their ‘Bible’ (-while leaving out St. Thomas and Mary Magdalen gospels-) but I would prefer to be with all my gay heroes on the banks of the Styx.

  14. Mark says

    I’m sorry about Ronald Plishka’s experience, but stories like this are all too common. A similar situation happened to us in 2013; something we never thought would ever occur.

    In the 1970’s, through business connections, I met a banker by the name of Bill. At that time, I was in a straight marriage and deeply closeted. Bill knew I was gay, and he is gay as well.

    Bill left the business world in 1975 and decided he had “a calling.” He joined a Catholic Brotherhood of some kind and began working with the sick, the elderly and various youth programs. Clearly, he was an asset to the community and our relationship with him continued until 2013.

    I divorced in 1983 and began a life-partnership with my husband. The law changed in California to allow for same sex marriage in August of last year. At that time, we arranged for our wedding.

    When the wedding was being planned, there was no doubt between us that we would contact Bill and ask him to officiate. In fact, we thought it would be an honor if he did do it, and we approached it that way with him when the request was made.

    He denied the request, citing his religious beliefs.

    We reminded him that we’ve known him and been close to him for more than 30 years. In my case it was closer to 40. His response was that it went against his teachings (teachings???) and he wouldn’t cross the line.

    We then asked him if he would at least attend the wedding. He declined that also. He said any participation would be contrary to what is in the scripture.

    We then said that if that was true, then has our entire 30-40 year relationship been a lie? He asked us not to put him in the position of having to answer that question.

    I reminded him that during occasional visits over the years, we gave him a place to stay in our home. We fed him at our table. We corresponded with him regularly and there was never any mistaking our friendship. His answer was “I’m sorry.”

    We know that Bill reads this forum and we also know that to this day, he’s still a gay man. So, here’s hoping he sees this.

    Enjoy your faith, Bill. You broke our heart. The wedding was in August. You didn’t even call to wish us well. When your Christmas Card arrived in December, you got in back in the mail with a note to tell you not to bother contacting us again. We meant it then, and we mean it now.

    Furthermore, you’re a classic hypocrite. When you claim to have gotten the calling, God was telling you to love everyone, not a select few.

  15. steve talbert says

    I need a better phone app spellcheck. Or maybe thinner fingers.

    Hate to type “got a great gift” and it ends “how about a fist”

  16. Akrontru says

    I agree with all the anti-religion statements, but this guy thought he was dying and still believes in that stuff. He should check out the Episcopalians. They don’t despise gays, and have confession, last rites, and the same reference for the eucharist.

  17. Moz's says

    as I have said

    till the catechism changes, nothing has changed no matter what words the new pope says

  18. Brian1 says

    This story is really weird, and I’m pretty sure what the priest did isn’t normal church policy. First off, you’re supposed to be at death’s door when you get last rites, but he seemed quite chatty. Maybe the priest just figured the guy wasn’t going to die, so didn’t need the last rites. But putting that aside, the whole thing about having to be willing to change and obey church doctrine before you can get last rites can’t be right. Almost everyone who gets it is supposed to face imminent death, so there’s no time to change even if you wanted to. And the church regularly gives last rites to prisoners being executed for all kinds of horrible crimes, no questions asked.

    Disclaimer: not a catholic, or religious at all, don’t believe any of it, just find it an interesting relic of medieval times.

  19. Michael says

    I don’t doubt this for a minute. And, as for Francis, well, there isn’t much warmth being show for divorced Catholics. LGBT are far behind on the list. On a personal note, it was difficult to get a RC clergyman to my mother’s funeral service because she wasn’t a “dues paying” member of any parish. Of course, being in her mid-nineties and somewhat confined wasn’t relevant to the issue. The deacon that showed up did a great job referring to “him.” I am a cleric. I’ve been on the other side of the rail. There’s lots of denial. There’s a lot of protecting the investment in power.

  20. woody says

    The hospital was in the right by telling the archdiocese of washington that it expects better patient care from priests. This priest should not be permitted to do hospital calls.
    I’m sure he’s persona non grata at that hospital now and, having been a hospital chaplain, i’m sure there was quite a meeting of the chaplaincy service at that hospital after his actions. Chaplains of any faith are supposed to calm people down, not cause their blood pressure to skyrocket. If this guy’s not going to do that he shouldn’t be doing patient calls.

  21. woody says

    @brian
    the way this sacrament is looked at has changed. it’s called sacrament of the sick now and can be given any time someone feels weak or troubled–psychologically too, it doesn’t have to be a physical illness. you can be depressed and get it. so, it’s an expanded sense now. it’s supposed to make you feel calmer and stronger–which helps a lot of people out if they’re going into an operating room.
    that priest shouldn’t be in hospitals.

  22. woodroad34d says

    What a shock this “priest” will find when he’s waiting in the ante-chamber expecting the elevator to take him to Heaven, but the bell rings “down”.

  23. JackFknTwist says

    I’m still amazed that any gay has any attachment to religion; we are virtually hated by the vast majority of religions.

    Even the pretense of ‘loving the sinner/hating the sin has gone’.
    We are defined as ‘intrinsically defective’ ….violence is encouraged by religions which keep silent about prejudice against us……..just as they kept silent about what was happening to the Jews.

    Forget Francis; he is a Jesuit…….they were implicit in the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes……in other words they encouraged the revocation the toleration of the Huguenots which was granted by Henry of Navarre. They are traditionally two faced.” We say we will tolerate you, but we will do nothing active about that.”

    As i said I put my trust in the Boatman; it is just as valid as Christianity and a hell of a lot less hypocritical.

  24. Critifur says

    Whenever I see a “story” like this, my reaction is always, And…?

    This is not slightly shocking behaviour. We all know the only thing that is shocking is that the patient and/or and believer thinks that something else (something appropriate) was going to occur.

    Don’t get me wrong. I think it is terrible and sad, but wholly expected. You get what you pay for. He should have maybe called someone from the MCC to give last rites.

  25. truthsayer says

    every gay catholic I’ve ever met is so screwed up from the deep self-loathing this religion has instilled in them. and few of them has been smart enough to figure out that they are supporting and contributing to their own internal death by being a member of it.

  26. Mark Twain says

    Many people including all journalists got fooled by the ambiguous words from this new pope when he said : who am I to judge (a gay person)… Well this wasn’t anything new at all: he is not allowed to JUDGE but we are still condemned by the dogma. He doesn’t judge you, but your not better for it. The doctrine excludes you anyway. In the end he looks better and you’re left to believe what you think you heard. But you’re mistaken and he laughs at your back. Jesuists are masters of rhetorics, ambiguity, misleading, and verbal manipulation, especially by omitting specific words or using one for another. All superficial and hopeful minds (including many many journalists) fell for it and said oh the vatican changes its stance on gays. Not at all: look at the bishops in recent weeks. The same bullying continues. In most public demonstrations against progressive laws you find the the catholic church in cahoots with muslims and jewish clerics. In France last year you saw bishops demonstrating in the streets against the government along with imams and rabbins. You don’t need reassurance from superstitions to live a great life. All you need is true friends.

  27. Matteo says

    The man deserved his last rites. It was his wish gay/straight whatever. Where is the Christian love in refusing a dying man his rites?
    Maybe if it was a young boy, there would be no questions to a “hands on” last rites ritual.

  28. JackFknTwist says

    What is saddest of ll is reading all of you expecting more from these people.

    Have we learned nothing at all from the AIDS tragedy ?
    Have you all forgotten ?
    Where were the ‘last rites’ then ?
    When they put the dead into trash bags where was the compassion ?
    Where was the Cardinal of New York when the dying demonstrated on and were dragged from the floor of St. Patrick’s Cathedral ?
    Where was the compassion then ?

    Get up off your knees and denounce every religion for what it is…..an empty promise of eternity…..”a chicken in every pot” !!!

  29. patrick says

    The priest did the right thing. Do you think a muslim cleric would offer the equivalent if the man in the bed said, “oh, yes, i eat pork screw around and i never pray and i’m not sorry about any of it and if i was healed in a second i wouldnt change the way i live.”

    religions are allowed to run their rites and sacraments How is this a news story? if anything the anti marriage equality crows should be smart enough to seize upon this and argue “see, they gays are steps away from demanding marriage at our altars.”

    Plishka is a selfish, entitled dope, who needs to better educated about his chosen religion, and the difference between a right and a rite. And that he has no right to a rite.

  30. Walter says

    I really don’t understand why LGBT folks would want to be part of a church that hates them.

    Moreover, I don’t see why anyone else would want to be part of a church that for decades had a GLOBAL conspiracy to cover up the rape and psychological torture of children.

    Stop. Think about this: The Catholic Church had a global problem of priests raping children. This was known through the Church hierarchy. The Church protected these priests and bullied victims who came forward. This happened in virtually every country on the planet.

    How is that not the epitome of all that is corrupt and sick? Why would any sane person want to be part of such an organization?

    I respect the fact that there are good Catholic priests but I certainly wouldn’t let my kid anywhere near that place for another decade or two to ensure that all the bad actors are dead. There are other Christian churches.

  31. John says

    I was raised catholic. This does not surprise me at all. What does surprise me is that any gay person would profess to be catholic? They truly despise us.

  32. Fred Lanns says

    As nearly as big a question, though,

    “Coelho… brought a supply of holy water to his hospital room… to administer communion.”

    WHY THE F*CK does anybody care about this voodoo crap? “Holy water”? Seriously??

  33. Leroy Laflamme says

    …a supply of holy water…sacraments…He wanted to pray…Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception…Catholic University…communion…last rites…*brainfeeze headache*

  34. Donald says

    You actively support an organization whose policies are widely known to be extremely intolerant and then are shocked with the organization acts with extreme intolerance? Oh, I think I understand, you supported their intolerance when it was directed at others, but when it finally was directed towards you, now you have a problem. Nice.

  35. ny2.0 says

    Sometimes I wonder why gay men even bother with issues like this. I grew up Catholic and know what the church is all about, as a child its understandable to be a part of because you’re still under the control of your parents, but as an adult? Why is this man even surprised?

  36. Ted says

    They give last rights to a f’ing murderer in prison, but draw a line in the sand because your gay. Interesting.

  37. Dearcomrade says

    Papist swine!

    Don’t expect the empty words of the new goon that runs this racket in Rome to change a single thing.

  38. Joel says

    All I can say is “Stay away from the Roman Catholic Church for the sake of your mental and spiritual health.”

  39. Profe Sancho Panza says

    “So he called me back and said he agreed with what the priest at the hospital did. He said unless you’re willing to change and basically become somebody you’re not, then this priest had every right to do that, to refuse you communion and to refuse you the last rites of the church,” Plishka said.

    He seems surprised to learn that being in union with the church (which is why it’s called “communion”) requires sharing the church’s definitions of sin. No one is entitled to either communion or the last rites; they’re not a civil right. They’re contingent on accepting the doctrines of sin and repentance that they give form to, which he’d indicated to the priest that he doesn’t accept. He needs to find a church with doctrines he can actually believe in, so he can truly be in communion with it.

    The priest, on the other hand, might have been theologically in the right, but he proved himself to be a terrible chaplain by handling this so awkwardly and insensitively. He needs to be reassigned.

  40. Moz's says

    brian1

    if one is conscious then pat of last rites is full renunciation and repentance of any and all sins, active gay sex is still a mortal sin per the catechism

  41. Bigun says

    How is this news? This bigotry and hate is well known…..DUH!

    Any gay catholic knows that a priest
    can not and will not give sacraments
    to a gay catholic. Retaliation? DUH!

    Why is anyone surprised?

    Sad, but all this is just already known facts from the catholic churches teachings.

    It is nieve to expect anything different.

  42. Casey says

    Yet another reminder that I feel so fortunate to have never stepped inside a church other than for a couple of weddings.

  43. Randy says

    How long is it going to take for reasonably intelligent people to renounce these stupid cults and quit supporting discrimination against themselves? All religions are shams!

  44. Dan Cobb says

    As far as I am concerned, the real idiot here is the guy who continues to be a Catholic despite the incessant denigrating of gay people by the Catholic church! Catholics are the most passive and most credulous of people. I know, I used to be one (albeit MANY years ago!). Catholics are expected to suffer every indignity without complaint… priests piddling their little boys? No, that won’t make them leave the church. Piddling their little girls…? Well, what can they do? Murdering women in Texas to cover up affairs…? well, no one’s perfect… spending lavishly on the personal homes of clerics/bishops and the like… Catholics just keep ponying up the money. Why should the church care what the parishioners think? They’re never going to leave the church no matter what the church clerics do. Through centuries, Europeans who could think critically and who were not afraid to act on their moral convictions became Protestants, or left the church all together. The genetic pool that remains in the church is a pool of completely passive and obedient cowards. And the church knows this, and LOVES it!

  45. Bill says

    @patrick: the priest did the wrong thing. If he didn’t want to treat patients equally, he shouldn’t be in a hospital.

    BTW, the last rights is a form of the communion ceremony and apparently to be denied it you have to be ex-communicated, which requires some sort of formal process. You don’t just have a bouncer toss someone out the door.

  46. JackFknTwist says

    @ BILL :
    The Last Rites are what was formerly called “Extreme Unction”.

    It is the annointing of the body at the points of the senses with Holy Oil; I believe the oil is “crisom”.

    But I don’t know what that is.

  47. patrick says

    @BILL,

    You couldn’t be more wrong about the basics here. It is not a RC priest’s job to treat all patients equally. What makes you think it is? Frankly, he’s expressly NOT supposed to treat all patient’s equally when it comes to his religion. he doesnt have to administer his church’s sacraments to anyone and everyone who asks for them, even if that person claims to be a lifelong RC.

    A RC priest in a hospital is not your elected official. If he determines that you or i qualify to participate in his religion’s holy rites, but that the lady in the next bed doesn’t, then its tough darts on that lady.

    The priest gets to exercise his judgment here. You dont get to exercise it for him.

  48. BrokebackBob says

    Yes, he refused the gay man his last rites and then he left and went to molest a choir boy he is “mentoring”. This is all you need to know about the Catholic church.

  49. joe colletti says

    priest had an obligation to administer the Last Rites since this man had a attack and that to me means he was in danger of death.
    That individual could have died as soon as the refused priest left the room, and then what?
    egg is on his face and a disgrace of the Catholic Church not to have come to the aid of one in danger of death.

  50. Moz's says

    Bill

    no, last rites which if your conscious will also cover the eucharist and that can not be taken by a CATHOLIC ONLY who does not confess. The man basically informed the priest he was living in mortal sin as an active gay man and thus the priest would be committing a mortal sin himself if he gave last rights and the eucharost to him

    the deluded guy needs to get a clue and realize the new pope’s mice words mean nothing without the catechism changing