Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Terminates Catholic Pastoral Care Contract During Holy Week

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center has issued a “cease and desist order” to Holy Name College, a community of Franciscan Catholic priests and brothers, who have provided pastoral care to service members and veterans at Walter Reed for nearly two decades.

The government’s cease and desist order directed the Catholic priests to cease any religious services at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. This order was issued as Catholics entered Holy Week, the most sacred of days in the Christian faith, in which they participate in liturgies remembering Jesus’ passion, and leading the Church to celebrate the Resurrection on Easter morning.

The Franciscans’ contract for Catholic Pastoral Care was terminated on March 31, 2023, and awarded to a secular defense contracting firm that cannot fulfill the statement of work in the contract. As a result, adequate pastoral care is not available for service members and veterans in the United States’ largest Defense Health Agency medical center either during Holy Week or beyond. There is one Catholic Army chaplain assigned to Walter Reed Medical Center, but he is in the process of separating from the Army.

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Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA | “Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Terminates Catholic Pastoral Care Contract During Holy Week” | April 7, 2023


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4 comments

  1. Am I missing something… did the catholic priests lose a competitive bid to provide services at Walter Reed? Were they profiting under their previous services contract?

  2. I have no fondness for the Catholic church, but this is just beyond the pale. How do they get around the plain meaning of the “free exercise” clause of the First–repeat, FIRST–Amendment?

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