Catholic Priests Denied Access to Military Medical Center During Holy Week, Rubio Responds

Catholic Priests Denied Access to Military Medical Center During Holy Week, Rubio Responds

Jackson Bakich
Jackson Bakich
April 12, 2023

With Holy Week coming to a conclusion on Easter Sunday, Catholics and Protestants alike, such as Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and James Lankford (R-OK) were surprised to hear that Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C. issued a cease-and-desist letter to the Holy Name College Friary, which has administered pastoral care to veterans and service members at the hospital for almost 20 years.

The cease-and-desist letter came during Holy Week, which meant recovering service members and veterans had trouble receiving the Most Holy Sacrament (the Eucharist).

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Roger Marshall (R-KS), James Lankford (R-OK), and Jerry Moran (R-KS), along with Representatives Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Michael Waltz (R-FL), Cory Mills (R-FL), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Jim Banks (R-IN), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) and Carlos Giménez (R-FL) wrote to the Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to question why this decision was made.

“Holy Week is an important time for all Christians, but for Catholics, the sacred liturgies during this holy time require the presence of validly ordained priests. For example, on Holy Thursday, the Catholic Church celebrates the institution of both the priesthood and the Most Holy Eucharist, which Catholics believe to be the true presence of Jesus Christ in body, blood, soul, and divinity," stated the legislators.

Rubio and others would also mention that to deny those who’ve served the ability to receive the sacrament, especially during most celebrated week in the Catholic faith is "unconscionable."

"Depriving service members and veterans, who are receiving care, of the ability to enter into the Paschal Mystery with priests is utterly unconscionable,” they wrote.

The legislators would also point out the fact that there is a push from Defense Health Agency (DHA) doctors to include “experimental gender transition procedures” while simultaneously barring Priests from administering pastoral care.

“DHA doctors are advocating for minors to receive experimental gender transition procedures, but no one seems to be advocating for the right of our service members and veterans to receive the most important sacraments during this most sacred time of year.”

Archbishop of the Archdiocese of the Military Services, Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, called this decision a violation of the First Amendment.

“It is incomprehensible that essential pastoral care is taken away from the sick and the aged when it was so readily available…I earnestly hope that this disdain for the sick will be remedied at once and their First Amendment rights will be respected.”

The Archdiocese asked for the contract to be extended through Easter. Walter Reed did not respond to their requests.

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Jackson Bakich

Jackson Bakich

Born in Orlando but raised in Lake County, Florida, Jackson Bakich is currently a senior at Florida State University. Growing up in the sunshine state, Bakich co-hosted the political talk radio show "Lake County Roundtable" (WLBE) and was a frequent guest for "Lake County Sports Show" (WQBQ). Currently, he is the Sports Editor of the FSView and the co-host of "Tomahawk Talk" (WVFS), a sports talk radio program covering Florida State athletics in Tallahassee.

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