DoD Refuses to Say If It Would Stop Priest from Giving Last Rites to Dying Serviceman—‘We Are Currently Litigating’ Matter

Photo Credit: AP/Carolyn KasterLt. Col. Todd Breasseale, a spokesman in the Office of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, is refusing to say whether the Department of Defense would attempt to stop a civilian Catholic priest, who had been a contract chaplain for the military, from administering the last rites to a serviceman on a U.S. military base.

“I feel no particular compulsion to answer outlandish, hypothetical questions in a yes/no fashion nor does the Department, generally, answer hypotheticals at all,” Breasseale said in an email.

“Further, it is a matter of long standing Department policy to not address matters that are currently under active litigation,” Breasseale continued.

Prior to Breasseale sending this email declining to say whether DOD would try to stop a priest from administering the last rites to a serviceman, a spokesman for the National Security Staff at the White House, had responded to the question, by saying: “We’d refer you to our colleagues at DOD for comment.”

“I’m sorry that the NSS sent you to us, but I suspect they might not have known that we are currently litigating,” said Breasseale. “The Department of Justice handles the litigation for all agencies of the Executive, so my recommendation is that you contact them.”

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