Red Mass Marks New, Unpredictable U.S. Supreme Court Term (71)
Definition of marriage cases could highlight this sitting
BY JOAN FRAWLEY DESMOND 09/29/2012 Comment
WASHINGTON, D.C.— As the U.S. Supreme Court prepared for a new term, Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services exhorted members of the high court to be guided by the Holy Spirit and moral norms that transcend political considerations.
“We have heard the question posed by the Apostles just before the Lord Jesus ascended into heaven. Their vision was of a political reality alone: the end of Roman rule and the independence of the Chosen People,” stated Archbishop Broglio during his Sept. 30 homily at the annual Red Mass, traditionally at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle the day before the new term starts.
“It was a vision firmly anchored in this world alone. They would need the gift of the Holy Spirit so as to purify their goals, understand their mission correctly and be able to accomplish it.”
Addressing a congregation that included the chief celebrant Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., six of the nine justices on the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, and a slew of lawmakers, the archbishop called on the nation’s public servants to allow their faith to guide their deliberations.
“We must be loyal Americans by being bold and courageous men and women of faith and conviction regarding the ethical norms that guide society and its choices,” he said, paraphrasing a passage from a homily by Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore.
There are now six Catholics on the Supreme Court: Chief Justice Roberts, and associate Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Sonia Sotomayor, and Clarence Thomas.
During its most recent term, the Court drew intense public scrutiny and partisan attacks as it reviewed legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act; it upheld the health law in a controversial ruling on June 28.
Last January, in a closely watched First Amendment case, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, the Court unanimously upheld the “ministerial exception” doctrine, which bars government interference in the appointment of religious ministers.
The U.S. Catholic bishops applauded the Hosanna Tabor decision. But the Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act meant Church leaders must press ahead with legal challenges to the federal contraception mandate, which is auth