Six of the U.S. Supreme Court members spent the day attending Red Mass — a special service for law professionals that has been held since 1953.
The Mass requests guidance from the Holy Spirit for all who seek justice, and offers the opportunity to reflect on what Catholics believe is the God-given power and responsibility of all in the legal profession.
Chief Justice John Roberts, Sonia Sotomayor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Stephen Breyer, and Samuel Alito.
Breye, who is Jewish, has attended this service before.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is also Jewish, has her reasons for not attending:
… Ginsberg said she grew tired of being lectured to by Catholic officials.
“I went one year, and I will never go again, because this sermon was outrageously anti-abortion,” Ginsburg said in the book “Stars of David: Prominent Jews talk About Being Jewish” by author Abigail Pogrebin.
Clarence Thomas, the sixth Roman Catholic on the court, didn’t attend. I’m not sure why…
It’s not illegal for the justices to attend church, but I am troubled by this special outreach to politicians and judges. It sounds like an easy way to curry favor toward Catholic issues.
Critics of the service, however, find the attendance of leading decision-makers, including members of the highest court in the land, to be inappropriate.
“The truth is, this was set up as a way to basically lecture and give information to the justices,” said the Rev. Barry Lynn, president of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. “There is no other institution that has this special way to talk to the justices on the Supreme Court.”
Lynn, an ordained minister with the United Church of Christ, noted the Mass was begun after several high court decisions that were disapproved of by the archdiocese.
“They figured if they got all the justices together and chatted them up in a worship service, they might be able to convince them to see the law their way,” he said.
This is influence no other religious group (or non-religious group) has — it’s influence none of those groups should have — and it’s very disturbing that more justices don’t take the hard-lined stance of Justice Ginsberg.
(Thanks to Loyal for the link!)