Monday, 7 January 2013

Don't count on your 'I am a Catholic' card

A sad account related to me by a priest from a religious order (that is, not a parish priest).

When he was in charge of a parish in a major English citiy a senior police officer told him that, at one time, in the event of a road traffic accident or some other tragedy, they would make efforts to determine whether the victims were Catholic.

If they found evidence that they were, indeed, Catholic, they would phone the local priest so that the Last Rites could be administered.

But, now the police no longer follow this procedure.


Because the priests no longer respond; they stay put.

I cannot imagine any priest with traditional views ever refusing a sick or emergency call but, having just been on the receiving end of a priest who wishes to send an Extraordinary Minister to an elderly relative who wishes to receive the Sacraments from a priest, it would seem that liberal priests cannot be relied upon.

The Catholic id card in your wallet may turn out to be the Joker.


  1. A priest refusing to come to the aid of a dying person and give him the Last Rites is surely a most grave mortal sin.

  2. I remember those ID cards when I was young. There are some things that only a priest can do. Unless the priest was called to another accident on the other side of town just moments before, then the priest should go. What is more important?

  3. The only rationale for Extraordinary Monsters was to give women a visible 'ministry'. That's why Westminster Cathedral employs them as a matter of routine in flagrant defiance of Redemptionis Sacramentum, which is a good reason for avoiding the place and attending the Oratory instead. The sick and housebound, and more especially the dying, need the Sacrament of Penance, and therefore a priest.

  4. Richard:
    I can -would that I could not ! - see where you're coming from, and the warning is appropriate - we and ours DO need to know , not for our own unconscious case, but for ours, and for ours to know, wishes aforehand - lapsed and noncatholic relatives and friends often ARE conscientious in this regard in emergencies and life's end. It's easy enough to make our wishes known beforehand.
    If we or they, then, thanks to you, take steps they would otherwise not have , we 'll have gained when necessary and lost nothing if fussing were to be redundant.
    That said , re police ,tho' I am pace Orwell of the experienced opinion that even a bad police force gives the innocent SOME protection, better than NO such force,and in no wise allied to the fascist--foresworn-thugs-persuing-evil-tory-ends opinion, as an arm of a secular society anyway I wouldn't give their word much credit - it may well be that in a few instances Priests have dismissed formal Police requests in emergencies with cardcarrying catholics- the once unheard-of now exists - yet I wonder just how general this is.
    My uk experience is of priests traddie and otherwise being ALL orthodox with regard to visiting the sick, which is NOT denying your, and commenters,scandalous experience, merely limiting its UNIVERSAL E&W application.
    Curiously , however, this has led me to know of something regarding the boys in blue : harrassment and obstruction of priests on the streets visting the sick! Yes!
    Not brandof priests, just priests, catholic, period.Perhaps purely anecdotal and occassional, perhaps more frequent, and more widespread, but , mutatis mutandis regarding visiting the sick, the once-unthinkable is no longer unheard-of.
    I have a half memory of this including VERY time consuming, at the very least, obstruction re catholics in emergencies, coming under hinted protection of the vulnerable from possible abusers, mayhap.

    There may or may not be instances supporting the police case, but priests, any priests, have less chance than cycling ministers of the full truth ever coming out.

    Be that as it may, I repeat, thanks for the practical warning! It will be passed on!

    God bless!

  5. as a young priest i was driving a few days ago in a major city in the north of england and before me some quarter of a mile, there was an horrific traffic accident which involved a bus and three cars - i stopped the car, got out and walked over to see if there was anything they needed a priest for - i was happy to hear that nothing was fatal and the hosptial chaplain had been not all police forces have given up

    with prayers

    Fr JR

  6. When in the middle of the night my dying mother was taken to the emergency room, Rev. Ron Foshage, a missionary of Our Lady of LaSalette, and the only priest for fifty miles, came instantly. God and Our Lady be praised.

    - Mack in Texas

  7. I sadly suppose these unprofitable servants fail to realize they will be gathered up and thrown into the darkness. What good is salt if it has lost its flavor? We are in the days of the apostasy indeed.

  8. A priest friend who died at the age 92, was persuaded not to travel to Mass Centres and he agreed. It was then found out, he was travelling even further to take the sacraments to individuals who were in isolated locations - he was then 90.

    I am reminded of the story of the man who collapsed in the street. An householder witnessing the same called for a Catholic priest. When it was enquired, off the householder, how they knew the man was a Catholic, it was stated that everytime the man passed the nearby Catholic Church, he raised his trilby hat. The man was a lapsed Catholic.

  9. Some years ago a priest in a northern diocese told me about a fellow priest who had berated his parishioners from the pulpit because someone had made a sick call in the middle of the night. He said if it happened again he would take his phone off the cradle.
    My priest friend also told me about another priest who had received a sick call from the local hospital. In the course of the conversation the priest had exclaimed: "So the person has just died?" When the answer given was 'yes' he said he would pop around in the morning. The family of the recently deceased were appalled.

  10. Thirty years ago , my beloved father died in a hospice .It was before 7.0am , on a freezing cold very windy Sunday morning, just a few days before Christmas .I am the only Catholic member of the family , and my husband suggested that it might be possible for a priest to come , but I said that we couldn't really ask , as my father was not Catholic .My husband decided to speak to one of the nurses ,and in less than half an hour , this lovely priest travelled from another parish to be with us .
    He even appologised for the time that it took him to drive to the hospice . I have never forgotten this man , although a few years after my father's death , I heard that this man had left the priesthood .What a dreadful loss , and are there any more priests like him ?

    1. Yes, praise the Lord, there still are!
      Worldwide, Anglosphere, even E&W!
      Richard's post here and our comments paint a curate's egg picture do they not?
      Hafter keep praying for priests, for holy priests, and for vocations,for their Bishops and seminaries, with mountainmovingfaith.