Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Red Mass

Each year, US justices, government officials and legal professionals are welcomed to pray for the upcoming year at the annual Red Mass, celebrated this past Sunday at St. Matthew the Apostle Cathedral in Washington, DC. Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia's sermon summarized the over-700-year history of the Red Mass throughout Europe and America, discussed divine law as our legal system's true foundation, and, using the Golden Sequence of Pentecost as his anchor, invoked the Holy Spirit to guide our nation's courts and the legal profession this year.

This excerpt of his sermon really caught my attention:
The words of the prophet Ezekiel recall another important element in our invocation of the Holy Spirit today. “I will put my Spirit within you,” he says, “and make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees.” Positive law rests on certain principles the knowledge of which constitutes nothing less than a participation in the divine law itself: the pursuit of the common good through respect for the natural law, the dignity of the human person, the inviolability of innocent life from conception to natural death, the sanctity of marriage, justice for the poor, protection of minors, and so on. The legal profession is entrusted with the discernment and administration of justice and the rule of law according to an objective measure—in effect, according to principles—not of our own making.
This is the kind of preaching Catholics need to hear. The most volatile and controversial issues of the day, because they directly involve the sanctity of human life, are not subject to relative ideals, and neither is the law. Take a few minutes and read his whole sermon.

All day I've been thinking about this, particularly after reading some of the media "coverage" of Sunday's Red Mass. I of course expected to read little about the Mass itself, or about what Archbishop Di Noia preached.  I read much more about separation of Church and State, religious apathy, opinions about the Church, etc. No, the secular media has not surprised me.

Washington archdiocese spokeswoman Susan Gibbs, however, did. The Archbishop stated the following near the end of his sermon: "That innocent human life is now so broadly under threat has seemed to many of us one of the signs of this growing peril." Susan's comment to Tony Mauro at Legal Times (read his entire blog post here)? "Di Noia told her this reference to "innocent life" was not an allusion to abortion."


I urge the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. to find a new spokesperson.


Angela M. said...

I second that!

Gina said...

Let's protest, Angela.

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