Last Rites at Covid-19 Emergency Room: Governor’s Office and Dept of Justice


The other morning a request for Last Rites came, asking that I meet up at the Emergency Room. A family member was told that zero visitation is allowed because of new rules just then imposed. A security guard made his presence felt. I asked about giving the non-Covid-19 patient an extremely abbreviated form of the Last Rites used in just such circumstances. No way. We were told to move next to the parking lot, about 75 feet away from the entrance.

Not wanting to let this go, I googled the phone number for Governor Cooper’s Office here in North Carolina. He’s notorious for his outrageous discrimination against anything religious. I explained to the nice lady on the phone that I wanted an emergency intervention by the Governor’s Office with the hospital, so that I might provide Last Rites, you know, because bureaucratic red tape doesn’t otherwise hurry up even for death. I mentioned how Vice President Pence said that the rules have exceptions in end-of-life circumstances, allowing both family and ministers to attend to the dying.

“Oh! I’ll put you through to someone who can help with that!” chirped the nice lady at the Governor’s Office ever so joyfully. *Ring* – *Ring* – It was the Department of Justice which picked up.

In other words, the Governor’s Office entrenched in disrespecting religious ministrations, even Last Rites, and wanted me to go ahead and try to get an emergency hearing from the Supreme Court of North Carolina and then, I suppose, the Supreme Court of the United States. But there’s no time even for that. Emergency for the court system is not the same as the emergency of death.

Meanwhile – hahaha – it seems that the Governor’s Office had a quick change of heart and forthwith called the admin at the hospital and told them to just let me do it so that it doesn’t go viral on the media and such. The Governor has already been smacked down by a Federal Judge. The admin guy sent a nurse out to invite me to come in and give the Last Rites. ;-)

The squeaky wheel and all that, right? This turned out good for the patient, this time. But I’m sure this is a new policy. And I’m really not so sure that other ministers would insist on religious rights for whatever the various faith communities do, and that generalized comment might well include quite a number of Catholic priests.

It seems to me that the religious powers that be should get up with the political powers that be and agree together that unalienable rights provided by God such as those enumerated in the first amendment are to be respected. I’d like to see legislation providing criminal penalties to those who disrespect the free exercise of religion.


Filed under Coronavirus, Free exercise of religion, Missionaries of Mercy

10 responses to “Last Rites at Covid-19 Emergency Room: Governor’s Office and Dept of Justice

  1. Paul Maliborski

    That’s what I’m talking about.


  2. sanfelipe007

    Well done, Guardian Angels!

  3. Cathy Shaw

    Touché, Fr George!!!!

  4. Good work on this one. It makes on logical sense that at this stage of the pandemic there cant be hospital policies that enable priests to minister to people in hospitals. That includes COVID patients. Doctors have enough experience at this point to develop adequate protocols. There should no longer be shortages of of PPE, that was the first excuse.

  5. Aussie Mum

    I’m so glad the dying person received the Last Rites; so glad you persevered Father; so glad it was you the family called.

  6. So far, it seems that the bullies usually back down when challenged in the slightest, but almost no one has the guts to do it. At least this worked out for the best this time around.

  7. pelerin

    I see the Vatican has issued a document on the pandemic. It has been pointed out that it makes so mention of the words ‘God, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit, Church, Sacraments, prayer or even the word Christian’. What are we to make of this and where can we turn to find some solace during these worrying times?

    • Aussie Mum

      Pelerin, I used to wonder over Our Lord’s words from the Cross: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me”? Good priests tell us that the Church is now going through crucifixion and so I guess there will be days when we feel deserted by Our Lord, especially when His Vicar on earth lets us down. Even though He knew His Father hadn’t deserted Him and we know Our Lord hasn’t deserted us, it can feel like that just the same. I think faithful Chinese Catholics must be feeling very desolate at the moment – totally abandoned – because Pope Francis has handed them over to the wolves. “Where can we turn to find solace …?” To Our Lord on the Cross. I think we will need to remind each other of this as days grow darker and to remember that Our Lady never left His side in His darkest hour, and she won’t leave ours. In the end her Immaculate Heart will triumph over evil, the Church will be restored with a holy Pope at its head and good days will return, better than they have ever been.

  8. pelerin

    Thanks Aussie mum – your comment is much appreciated.

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