Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Oct 20, 2020 / 12:00 pm
The Diocese of Arlington helped intervene on behalf of a dying COVID patient when he needed a priest to offer him the sacraments, the Department of Health and Human Services said on Tuesday.
In a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Roger Severino-director of the Office for Civil Rights at HHS-announced that the office had resolved two religious discrimination complaints concerning lack of access to Catholic priests at hospitals during the pandemic.
One of the two cases was at Mary Washington Healthcare hospital in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in the Arlington diocese. Family of a COVID-positive patient who was dying requested a Catholic priest to visit and administer the Last Rites, which usually include the sacraments of anointing and confession, and receiving the viaticum, but the hospital allegedly denied the request due to its coronavirus visitation policies.
In August, the Arlington diocese notified the OCR's Conscience and Religious Freedom Division (CRFD), which in turn contacted the hospital.