Priest Giving Last Rites Protests Parking Ticket
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
A Brooklyn priest is protesting a $115 parking ticket he got while tending to a dying hospital patient last month.
“If the sanctity of the law won’t bend for the needs of a dying person, I feel really sad,” said the Reverend Cletus Forson of St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Bay Ridge, according to the Daily News.
Rev. Forson got the ticket on July 26 when he parked in a no-standing zone in front of Maimonides Medical Center in Borough Park.
He told the News in yesterday’s editions that he knew the spot was illegal but he didn’t have time to look for a legal spot because he had just received a call from a parishioner desperate to find a priest to administer last rites to her mother. He placed his clergy parking permit on the dashboard and went in.
“I couldn’t get any parking,” Rev. Forson said. “It is my obligation to get there and administer to the needs of the sick.”
Forson appealed the ticket but Michael Ciaravino, an administrative law judge, refused to overturn it.
St. Andrew the Apostle paid the fine but the head pastor, Monsignor Guy Massie, wrote a letter saying the church was doing so with protest.
City Finance Department spokesman Owen Stone stood by the city’s decision, saying Rev. Forson was parked in an ambulance zone.
“They need to keep those clear,” he said. “Blocking that puts lives at risk, that’s why the ticket got upheld.”
City Councilman Vincent Gentile wrote to Finance Department Commissioner Martha Stark on August 11 demanding that the ticket be dismissed.
“He was rushing to the hospital to administer the Catholic last rites to a dying patient,” Mr. Gentile said yesterday. “To me this is just another episode in the continuing saga of the city out of control with ticketing.”