By Tim Johnson
FORT WAYNE — A tradition dating back to the 13th century was celebrated at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne on Oct. 2. Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades celebrated the Red Mass, a Mass attended by the judiciary, attorneys at law, law professors, high-ranking government officials, distinguished guests and others who work in the legal arena. The Mass was intended to gather those from the legal profession for the purpose of seeking divine guidance and strength for the coming terms of court.
Bishop Rhoades’ homily intertwined the day’s readings of the vineyard with Respect Life Sunday and a message to all who work in the legal profession.
“Sadly, tragically, God’s vineyard that we are called to tend is so often ruined today by sins and crimes against life — by abortion, infanticide, physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia,” Bishop Rhoades said in the homily. “God has given us wondrous signs of His love, sons and daughters to love and cherish. He has given us the beauty of married love and the wisdom of the elderly. He has given us hearts to love the needy, the poor and the stranger, the immigrant.”
“What have we done with these gifts?” he asked. “In a culture of life and love, these gifts are cherished. In a culture of death, they are destroyed. A culture of death lays waste to the beauty that God has so wondrously created.”
Bishop Rhoades said, “Today, here in our cathedral church, we are also celebrating the Red Mass, our annual Mass in which we invoke the gifts of the Holy Spirit upon all who serve in the legal profession. Lawyers, judges, and all public officials are also called to produce good fruit in the vineyard of the Lord. They do so by serving the cause of justice and truth, and defending those inalienable rights that serve as the foundation for the laws of a truly humane society.”
Bishop Rhoades spoke of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ proposed mandate that will require virtually all private health plans to include coverage for all FDA-approved prescription contraceptives, sterilization procedures and related “patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.”
He noted, “Our Catholic institutions provide health care and other services to the needy of whatever faith. This mandate is a direct violation of our religious liberty. It does not protect the rights of conscience for those who do not want to take part in providing immoral quote ‘services.’ Mandating that we provide health insurance that includes surgical sterilization, contraception, including the abortifacient drug Ella, is a serious violation of our moral and religious convictions and of our religious liberty.”
“As Catholics, especially those in the legal profession, we must not shrink from our obligation to assert the values and principles that are essential to the common good, beginning with the right to life of every human being, as well as the rights of conscience and religious freedom,” Bishop Rhoades said.
The congregation burst into a round of applause at the end of the homily. Those in the legal profession assisted in the Mass as cantors, proclaimers, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist and gift bearers.
Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades celebrated the Red Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Sunday, Oct. 2. The Mass was attended by the judiciary, attorneys at law, law professors, high-ranking government officials, distinguished guests and others who work in the legal arena. A Mass in the South Bend area is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 10, at 5:15 p.m. at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame.
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