Catholic Church | Discrimination | Religion

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.

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  1. @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.

    Posted by: Bill | Feb 23, 2014 4:09:51 PM

  2. @ 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.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Feb 23, 2014 4:32:04 PM

  3. PS :
    It's spelt "CHRISM"....I Googled the spelling.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Feb 23, 2014 4:34:15 PM

  4. @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.

    Posted by: patrick | Feb 23, 2014 4:54:36 PM

  5. He is not being a very good priest.

    Posted by: jarago | Feb 23, 2014 5:35:53 PM

  6. 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.

    Posted by: BrokebackBob | Feb 23, 2014 6:03:36 PM

  7. 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.

    Posted by: joe colletti | Feb 23, 2014 8:04:11 PM

  8. 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

    Posted by: Moz's | Feb 24, 2014 12:04:15 AM

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