THE ROMISH MASS AND US POLITICS
By Al Hembd
ALL of the US Presidents have attended Mass since Dwight Eisenhower (see excerpt below from "Phototour" at http://www.stmatthewscathedral.org/phototour.html ):
“The Cathedral honors the patron saint of civil servants. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Washington. Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass here on October 6, 1979. President John F. Kennedy's funeral Mass was November 25, 1963 The "Red Mass," celebrated annually on the Sunday before the first Monday of October, requests guidance from the Holy Spirit for the conduct of the legal profession. This Mass is attended by Supreme Court justices and members of Congress, the Cabinet, diplomatic corps, and other government departments, sometimes including the President of the United States. All presidents since Dwight Eisenhower have attended services at St. Matthew's.”
Rehnquist and Janet
Reno have attended a Red Mass according to http://www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=5977
Top US Officials Attend Annual Red Mass
WASHINGTON, DC (CWN) - US Supreme Court justices, the attorney general, the director of the FBI, and other top government officials attended the traditional Red Mass on Sunday presided over by James Cardinal Hickey of Washington, DC.
Chief Justice William Rehnquist, justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas, as well as Attorney General Janet Reno, FBI Director Louis Freeh, Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, and Mayor Marion Barry were among the congregation. Also present was Lindy Boggs, the Louisiana congressman nominated by President Clinton to be the next ambassador to the Vatican.
The Red Mass is an ancient tradition in which government officials pray for guidance in administering laws and justice. Cardinal Hickey specifically addressed the justices, saying: "Yours is a magnificent service to a society in need. This power is not aimed at domination or manipulation. It is power given to you for the service of truth and freedom."
Sandra Day O'Conner, Stephen Breyer and many other high US officials have attended a Red Mass. Notice carefully how the speaking bishop actually politically lobbies the government officials in attendance of the "worship of the wafer god."
Supreme Court Should Allow Church And State
To Cooperate, Says Bishop
A Roman Catholic bishop has urged six members of the U.S. Supreme Court and top government officials to allow greater cooperation between church and state.
Speaking at the annual "Red Mass" at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, D.C., Oct. 3, Bishop Raymond Boland of Kansas City, said both church and state seek similar goals in areas like education, social services and health care and Awe have much to learn from each other."
Continued Boland, "Church and state have a lot in common in their mutual search for justice, in promoting respect for all laws, in their concern for the common good." He added that "In the enactment and administration of civil laws, people of faith do not expect privileges, but they do expect fairness....Is it possible to hope that, as we enter a new millennium, church and state in our land, and even the international world, may subscribe to a synthesis of basic principles which guarantee freedom for all while equally protecting the rights of believers and unbelievers?"
Elsewhere in his remarks, Boland, a native of Ireland, implied that American society is too secular, asking, "Is there a danger that devotees of secularism are >more equal' than those of us who are proud of the faith they profess? Do secular symbols enjoy more protection than religious symbols?"
The First Amendment, Boland asserted, was adopted by Congress "as protection for religion not protection from religion." He went on to say, "English teachers constantly warn their students that analogies and metaphors should not be pushed too far. Thomas Jefferson's famous >wall of separation' metaphor may have suffered this over extension, something certainly not supported by a complete examination of his legal philosophy nor the Constitution itself. The phrase has become a mantra. How high the wall? How impenetrable? Nobody denies the need for separation, but such does not exclude cooperation."
Continued Boland, "Maybe we need the equivalent of what manufacturers call R and D, research and development, to discover where we've been and to propose new ways of legally facilitating those who work with Caesar and walk with God."
Six Supreme Court justices attended the mass, among them Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. Also attending were Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer. Government officials in attendance included Attorney General Janet Reno, Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala and Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams.
The Supreme Court will consider an important case dealing with parochial school aid this year. Although Boland insisted after the mass that he was unaware of the case, Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn criticized his sermon as an obvious attempt to apply pressure to the court.
"The judges are lured in, and then they are lobbied on the church's view of the Constitution," Lynn told USA Today. "It's a blatant effort to influence the court."
Washington's Red Mass occurs every year the Sunday before the Supreme Court reconvenes on the first Monday in October. The worship service is named for the red vestments traditionally worn by the officiating clergy.
Many other dignitaries of years’ past have attended a Red Mass--Vice Presidents, Senators, etc. per http://www.nationalshrineinteractive.com/Home/Home.cfm?ID=804&c=30 :
“Protestants” like Attorney General John Ashcroft have attended a Red
Mass per http://www.peaknet.net/~messengr/archive/021011/bishop2.html
What I have seen and heard
I never cease to be amazed that people are really the same the world over. Title, education, race, gender, profession, and age obviously distinguish us, but these qualities often do not make us that much different from one another.
Last Sunday I was privileged to be the homilist at the Red Mass in Washington, D.C. The tradition of beginning the new judicial term with a Mass of the Holy Spirit is centuries old. The Washington, D.C. Red Mass typically has many people from the Federal Government in attendance, so last Sunday I preached to Chief Justice Rehnquist, Justices Scalia and Kennedy, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and a host of other officials whose names and titles are identified with the leadership of our nation. Nevertheless, in spite of their titles they were very much like the people who fill St. Peter Cathedral here in Belleville or any of the more than the six score parishes in southern Illinois.
After Mass, these famous people were just as kind as our folks are standing at the back of church. One of the young Federal judges asked me to bless his rosary. Yes, a young judge still felt it important to have his rosary blessed. I did not ask him how many times this particular rosary had been blessed before, but gladly accommodated his request. October is a time when Catholics the world over are encouraged to pray the rosary.
I like to pray the rosary while I am driving — and some of you whom I may have passed on one of our interstates well might suggest that I ought to pray it even more frequently. It is a prayer that lends itself to such activity.
The repetition of the Hail Marys allows one to get lost in the words uttered over and over again. Those words remind us of Mary's unique privilege of having been chosen by God to be the mother of His Son. I was impressed that a young judge found those words important to him as well. There was no need for him to try to impress me with false piety. He could have simply passed me by — but not before asking me to bless that devotional item that obviously meant something to him.
We are all so much alike! The Supreme Court Justices thanked me for my homily and for coming to pray with them. They said many of the same kind things that you say to me when I visit your parishes — almost word for word.
It is comforting to know that many of our public officials do find time for prayer, do find time to ask God to be present in their lives and to support them in their work.
Of course, there were many obvious differences to be sure. The security at the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington was incredible. The scores of armed guards that made their presence known, the police officers that directed traffic and made sure that the officials' cars received proper protection are absent from our own parishes. However, the people were very much the same. Moreover, our Catholic Faith was exactly the same.
The young attorney who drove me to the airport brought along his 11-year-old daughter and she was very much like all of our kids — complete with giggles and pigtails and lively tales of her most recent soccer triumphs and the visible sheer delight of spending Sunday with her dad. There are many more things that unite us than divide us. If only we take the time to notice them.”
Our current compromised situation with Rome is directly related to the voluntary principle. Had we stayed by our Protestant king, it would to this day be the honor of Presidents to stay away from the Mass, just as Elizabeth I walked out of her own coronation as soon as they began the Mass.