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Catholic religious services suspended at some US military bases during government shutdown

October 04, 2013

The shutdown of the US federal government, due to a budgetary impasse in Congress, is threatening to make it impossible for Catholics to receive the sacraments on many military bases.

The Archdiocese of the Military Services has called attention to the fact that on many US military bases, the sacraments are administered by priests who are not active-duty members of the armed forces. Because of a shortage of active-duty chaplains, many military bases make arrangements for priests to celebrate Mass and administer the sacraments on a contract basis. But all such contracts are suspended while the government is shut down.

“With the government shutdown, many GS and contract priests who minister to Catholics on military bases worldwide are not permitted to work – not even to volunteer,” the military archdiocese explains. “During the shutdown, it is illegal for them to minister on base and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so.”

John Schlageter, the general counsel for the military archdiocese, called upon federal officials to find creative solutions that would allow priests to minister to the faithful on military bases, protecting the religious rights of the American military during the shutdown.


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  • Posted by: Gregory108 - Oct. 05, 2013 7:55 PM ET USA

    To inflict pain is the President/Commander-in-Chief's sole reason for this. That's also why barricades went up on sidewalks at the WWII Memorial, free sidewalks, always open to the public, blocked, at police expense, so that old and weak WWII vets, making their once-in-a-lifetime visit, could not visit. The Capital Police were told to block Mt. Vernon til someone told them this was a privately funded tourist attraction! What next? A huge drape over the Statue of Liberty to cause inconvenience?

  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Oct. 05, 2013 1:59 PM ET USA

    Until all the juveniles in Congress put aside their special interests and think of the common good,this will continue until our government is in tatters.

  • Posted by: impossible - Oct. 04, 2013 10:31 PM ET USA

    For this and other reasons perhaps the clergy who routinely vote for liberal pro-intrinsic evils politicians, including Obama, will wise up and vote "Catholic." I've heard that approximately 80% of our clergy voted for Obama and regularly vote for liberal candidates. Perhaps they might want to take it to the Confessional.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Oct. 04, 2013 10:24 PM ET USA

    "Never waste a "good" crisis..." or so the saying goes... The President is already following a predicted pattern... He is using this social disruption as an opportunity to arbitrarily empower himself.. It would appear that Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech are the first tenants of our Constutional rights to go.

  • Posted by: Ken - Oct. 04, 2013 9:22 PM ET USA

    This is nothing short of an OUTRAGE. This president finds new ways each day to scrape the bottom of the barrel.

  • Posted by: JimK01 - Oct. 04, 2013 6:44 PM ET USA

    Perhaps the "contracted" priest could fill in at a local parish while the "non-contracted"parish priest could then volunteer at the military base. This might work for Sunday Mass but probably not for every need.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2013 6:17 PM ET USA

    I hope that, wherever possible, our military Catholics are seeking the sacraments off base at the closest church. It will send a powerful message that (1) the gov't can't stop us from practicing our faith and (2) we don't need the government to practice our faith!

  • Posted by: rpp - Oct. 04, 2013 3:40 PM ET USA

    This really does seem like an unnecessary restriction, an over-reach. It is almost as if the "shutdown", which according to some reports represents less than 20% of the government, is being used by the President as an excuse to make this more painful for those groups who generally do not side him.