Catholic Priest Reportedly Refused To Give Gay Man Last Rites

A 63-year old retired travel agent who barely survived a heart attack has come forward to claim that he was refused communion and last rites by a Catholic priest. 

On February 7, Ronald Plishka asked a nurse to send a priest to his hospital room. It had been only a day since he was admitted to Washington Hospital Center in D.C. for a heart attack. His odds for survival were unsure at the time, prompting the lifelong Catholic to request last rites. 

Father Brian Coelho from the Department of Spiritual Care was the priest who was assigned to counsel Plishka. He took the patient's final confessions before proceeding with last rites as planned. 

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

When asked how Coelho explained his decision to not proceed with last rites, Plishka admits the priest tip-toed very carefully around the reasoning. "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?”

"He wanted to pray," Plishka continued. "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.”

Both Coelho and the Archdiocese of Washington have not yet commented on the matter. So Young Pak, Washington Hospital Center’s director of media relations, is, however, attempting to salvage the "Leader In LGBT Healthcare Equality" honor given by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

“We want to hold true to this important commitment to the LGBT community and to all of our patients,” Pak said. “It is our expectation that all who offer spiritual care to patients in our hospital adhere to our values and extend excellent care, both physical and spiritual, to all patients regardless of their faith traditions." 

(Source: Washington Blade)





If the man's account is true, there is no excuse, period. However, before we all jump the gun and rip apart the Catholic Church, there are a few things to keep in mind. Many of us believed the story about the homophobic mom who did not allow her son to go to a birthday party of a same sex couple and it was a lie. Also, due to HIPPA regulations, the priest cannot tell his side of the story by law and since a confession was involved, Church law prohibits his talking about it too.

Add new comment