Friday, October 4, 2013

Some Mass Disruption Due to Partial Government Shutdown

Military Chaplain Fr. Tyson Wood celebrating Mass in Iraq in 2011

Chapel at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Woodbridge, VA
Military members stationed at  Marine Corps Base Quantico near Woodbridge, Virginia will not be able to celebrate Mass on base on Sunday due to the partial Federal government shutdown.  Due to the shortage of active duty military chaplains , the Quantico chaplain has on outside priest who presides over the weekly Mass, which creates a dilemma.

 John Schageter, an attorney  for the Archiocese of the Military warned that contract priests on military bases are not permitted to work, or even to volunteer during the shut down.  This furlough affects 234 non active duty and contract priests.  Schlageter warned: "During the shutdown, it is illegal for them to minister on base and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so."

Interpretation of the partial Shutdown and enforcement of its provisions forces affected faithful to scramble to find non GS priest or go off base to practice their Fundamental Freedom of the Free Exercise of Religion. 

The Deparment of Defense is making it more and more difficult for traditional faith Chaplains to minister to the troops.  Chaplains were told to accept same sex so called marriage or get out of the service.  Last year, there was controvery when US Military Archbishop Timothy Broglio wrote an open letter to be read at all Masses indicating that "[w]e cannot -- we will not-- comply with this unjust law" in reference to Obamacare.   Now, they can not licitly minister unless they are paid by the government. 

It is sad to see how the shutdown is being applied to punish people.  Those serving in the military may be more in need of ministers than most.  It is insane that priests can not even VOLUNTEER to minister to their flock if they are on a government contract. 

POST SCRIPTUS 10/04/2013 8:00 PM
The National Catholic Register notes that some affected chapels have been able to find alternate Presiders for Mass.  There was a report on Friday that the Quantico Chapel will hold Mass on Sunday.  It is unclear if this is due to their contract or the powers that are turning a blind eye to the letter of the furlough regulations to get rid of a black eye to Uncle Sam.


  1. First of all, active duty priests are still operating just fine. In government operations contract workers are non-essential workers across the board. This article is so misleading and it is a shame people are spreading it around.

    The priest at Quantico base will be celebrating mass because the way his contract is funded. The government issued a retraction on that one.

    Hello Saul Alinsky... Its been awhile.

    1. The article notes that the Quantico chapel uses a contract priest as no active duty chaplain is available. Sorry that you are unable to discern what is clearly in the text.

      It is fair to note that military troops are funded. It is not clear that contractors are covered. Sources please.

      The caution from the Archdiocese of the Military makes clear a caution about volunteering by a non active duty chaplain