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Monday, October 7, 2013

Priests Threatened with Arrest for Celebrating Mass

Priests Threatened with Arrest for Celebrating Mass

The military has a shortage of Catholic chaplains.  While 25% of the armed forces are Catholic, only 8% of the chaplains are.  To bridge the gap, the military has contracted with Catholic priests to serve the enlisted men and women.  This has become a problem with the government shutdown, however.

Yesterday was the first Sunday since the shutdown and contracted priests were told they may not administer the sacraments (the Mass, Confession, Weddings, Baptisms, etc.) because their pay had not been funded.  Naturally, the priests offered to perform their duties for free, on a voluntary basis, but were told that if they tried to do so, they faced arrest.

Why this unreasonable and uncharitable position by our government?  I will not speculate on the why, but that the policy is unreasonable seems clear. 

Active duty priests are scrambling as much as possible to fill the gaps, and parishes near military bases are opening their doors to service men and women to ensure their spiritual needs are met.  But the situation has caused plenty of strain, and this article from Catholic Vote details.

It is important that we Catholics contact our members of the Senate (see below) and ask them to put an end to this madness.  It is not even necessary that the activities of the contract priests be funded, only that they be allowed to serve their flock voluntarily without threat of arrest.  Please support our men and women in the military with this simple act of charity.

Update: The House of Representatives has voted (400-1) to allow the priests to celebrate Mass; we await a vote in the Senate.