A 63-year-old heart attack patient and devout Catholic reportedly cursed at a Roman Catholic priest working as a chaplain at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. because he refused to give him last rites and communion after he told him he was gay.
The man, Ronald Plishka, described as a retired travel agent and lifelong Catholic by the Washington Blade, said he was afraid he wouldn't have survived a heart attack on Feb. 7, so he asked a nurse to send in a priest to take his confession before continuing with communion and last rites.
Father Brian Coelho, who was on call at the hospital at the time, offered to facilitate the process. Instead of making his confession, however, Plishka decided to give the priest an earful about his love for Pope Francis and his acceptance of homosexuals.
"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,'" he explained.
After making the revelation, however, Plishka said he was hurt when the priest, who had come armed with holy water, refused to continue with the process but offered to pray for him instead.
"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?" asked Plishka.
"He said what he wanted to do. 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 f**k out of here — excuse me. But that's what I told him," he continued.
Washington Hospital Center declined to comment on the incident in the Washington Blade report but released a statement saying the hospital is taking "our patient's concerns very seriously."
"We want to hold true to this important commitment to the LGBT community and to all of our patients," said media representative So Young Pak. "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," she said.
Chieko Noguchi, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Washington, which has jurisdiction over D.C.-area priests working as hospital chaplains, declined to comment on the issue.