Washington D.C., May 7, 2021 / 18:00 pm
Arizona’s five bishops expressed their gratitude at a new law forbidding hospitals from unduly restricting clergy visitations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During the pandemic, too many people have died without the spiritual assistance or sacraments desired at the end of their lives,” said the May 5 letter, which was signed by Bishop Edward Weisenburger of Tucson; Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix; Bishop Eduardo Nevares, auxiliary bishop of Phoenix; Bishop James Wall of Gallup; and Bishop John Pazak, of the Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix.
“Even now, there remain places where clergy are not able to have in-person visits that are requested by dying patients,” said the bishops.
The legislation, HB 2575, was introduced by state Rep. Quang Nguyen (R-Prescott Valley). It amends Arizona law to say that if a hospital is allowing in-person visits of any kind, “the hospital must facilitate the ability of clergy to visit the patient in person for religious purposes.”