Tag Archives: Last Rites

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

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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.

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

Obstreperous, cantankerous, crotchety old man in the throws of death. Then…

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A good friend, an 82nd Airborne Fireman EMT Scots-Irish disaffected Baptist mentioned to me that he just ambulance-delivered an elderly friend of his to a hospital (a new one to me). “He’s Catholic,” he said, adding, “He’s pretty near death.” He told me more about him: “Everything for him is trucks, that was his whole life. He’s pretty crotchety. His parish is […] but we couldn’t get hold of the priest there.” “Just tell me about all those cases,” I requested. “O.K. I sure will,” he said, sorry that he didn’t tell me some hours earlier.

Thinking he might just still be alive, I took off and met this fellow in his hospital room. He was awake, but utterly non-communicative, other than fierce growling noises. He made it clear that he was the most obstreperous, cantankerous, crotchety old man in the throws of death that anyone would ever meet in this world.

There being a chair in the room, I plopped myself down and told him about our common friend. The reaction was for him to be as obstreperous, cantankerous and crotchety as ever, though this new information seemed to make him a bit curious. That was my invitation to continue.

Here’s the deal: Never believe obstreperous, cantankerous and crotchety. That’s just a test to see if someone can respond in kind (that’s some people’s preferred method of communication and there’s no harm in it), a birds-of-a-feather kind of thing. Anyway…

I told him that Jesus wants him in heaven, that Jesus is just that good and kind, even for him, even for me. Always include yourself in making such statements. It’s a birds-of-a-feather kind of thing.

I walked him through how we would go about him receiving the Sacraments and blessings in the present circumstances, interspersing this with how it is that Jesus wound up on the Cross, taking our place, so that Jesus is deadly serious about getting us to heaven, that He didn’t do that so we could just go to hell. He gave a nod of agreement. So, off we went through a flood of sanctifying grace and hope and being pointed to heaven. Was that just about a tear in his eye that I saw?

As a thanks he tried to express his gratitude, but his impossible voice box and weakened state only made it all sound like more obstreperous, cantankerous, crotchety sounds. And yet, these were polite, as it were. And the eyes told the whole story.

My one-time Baptist friend is the best for alerting me for needs for Last Rites. Don’t think that the angels are not at work.

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Filed under Death, Missionaries of Mercy