October 1st, 2009
06:45 PM ET
5 years ago

Red Mass: Lobbying high court or simple prayer service?

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and Chief Justice John Roberts attend Red Mass in 2005.
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and Chief Justice John Roberts attend Red Mass in 2005.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The beautifully ornate Catholic church in the nation's capital has seen its share of history and controversy.

In 1963, the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle was the site of John F. Kennedy's funeral. After the service, on the steps outside, the slain president's young son famously saluted his father's memory.

But the church is also the site of an annual Mass that has drawn criticism for what many see as an unhealthy mix of politics, the law and religion.

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Filed under: Supreme Court
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Maria - Proud Democrat

    This is a great tradition and I hope President Obama attends.

    October 1, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    Our Supreme Court already appointed King George to ruin this country, what more can they do to hurt us?

    I doubt a few gay guys in Rome, Italy can do any more harm.

    October 1, 2009 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  3. GuyInVA

    OH NO! Justices going to a RELIGIOUS ceremony! God... I mean, insert deity of your choice, help us all. Ginsburg's said she only went once because she didn't want to be lectured to by catholic officials. What if a conservative member of the court had said that? She said the sermon was outrageously anti-abortion. GOOD! What does she expect to hear at a catholic mass. To be politically correct, shouldn't she have said "pro life"? Is she "pro abortion"? I would imagine she would give the standard liberal line about how "no one" is really pro abortion. Wrong. A whole bunch of people are, including her. Someone ask Rep. Alan Grayson about his holocaust comment in relation to socialized medicine. If you truly want the American version of a holocaust, try 50 million abortions since 1973.

    October 1, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  4. Pragmatic

    ""The truth is, this was set up as a way to basically lecture and give information to the justices..."

    6 Catholic Justices ... captive audience who grew up being taught that this Church has all the answers ... and the power to forbid them from taking communion if they disagree .. example? John Kerry .... The Catholic Church should register as a lobbyist and this "service" should be recorded as such.

    October 1, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  5. Michael Arnaud

    Let me see if I have this straight, Rev. Lynn had the opportunity to talk to the Supreme Court every year and he would try to convince them to vote his way? Right. The thing that makes Rev. Lynn and other ministers like him mad is the respect the Catholic Church can get from the powers that be. Even the ones that are not Catholic. Rev. Lynn needs to be talking to the attendees that aren't Catholic.

    October 1, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  6. Jac

    Freedom of assembly and freedom of religion. Does the author of this article not understand we have this this thing called a constitution which guarantees both?

    I would suggest that what passes for journalism on CNN is far more unhealthy to the nation than an individual attending mass.

    October 1, 2009 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  7. Terik Ororke

    The supreme court is moved much more by the ideologue who appoints the justices, than by any church, although the justices may claim otherwise. The so called RED MASS has been celebrated for many years without any special regard or benefit for any denomination. The media might speculate that this is not so, but the media is in the business of "selling."

    October 1, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  8. Christian from the heartland

    I find this offensive, very offensive as a Christian that they would have the gall to have a "invitation only" mass. Clearly this is not a worship service where God is present. Is the passage "come unto me ALL (got that ALL, not just people in high places we want to influence) who are heavy laiden and I will give you rest" missing from the Catholic Bible or does this group just choose to ignore the passages that don't say what they want. I also have a problem using religion to lobby and that is all you can call this. I am a Christian for separation of church and state. Imagine the outrage if Rev. Wright had an annual "invitation only" worship service for the High Court Justices. I am Protestant and a Cardinal, Bishop, or a Priest is just a human being no different than anyone else in the eyes of God. We all have our calling, theirs is just in the church.

    October 1, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  9. RR

    Gimme a break! Where is there ANY proof this mass has influenced any decision?

    No Justice is forced to attend, so this is not a "seperation of church and state" issue.

    Heaven forbid (no pun intendend) Justices attend the church of their choice!

    Maybe we should pass a law banning Justices from attending church. Would that make the "seperation of church and state" people happy?

    October 1, 2009 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  10. worriedmom

    This should not be any different than letting the Muslims having their day of prayer on the White House Lawn. Stop blaming Christians for all your troubles, maybe you wouldn't have as many if you believed.

    October 1, 2009 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  11. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    The Vatican has always hid behind religion while it conducted its politics..... and NO PRAYERS IN AMERICAN PUBLIC SCHOOLS.....

    October 1, 2009 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  12. Brian

    This is stupid. The Justices or any judge/lawyer is not going to be swayed in a 10-15 min sermon from a priest.

    October 1, 2009 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  13. No Incumbents 2010

    John Roberts is a firm believer of the Catholic Church's position on the death penalty, social justice, and service to the poor.

    October 1, 2009 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  14. bri6

    politics and religion don't mix. It's unfortunate that the religous don't get the blame they deserve, keep the nukes out of the Iranians hands but not by letting Christians take over their countries at the same time, that will only lead to more trouble. This all started with Evangelical hardliners bush cheney and rumsfeld. Classic example of religous tyranny, strengthen the separation of church and state. Keep your church out of my state.

    October 1, 2009 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  15. Ralph

    Lets see, Catholics have social programs like feeding the poor and caring for the underprivileged. And now the government's highest court is attending a "Red Mass?" I am shocked that Rush and all of his slack-jawed flock aren't trying to say this is some sort of communist plot. Enjoy!

    October 1, 2009 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  16. Reformed Republican

    And you're gonna try and tell me that Roberts isn't taking directions under the table from the Pope? Yeah, right.

    This is what we get for letting a right wing republican closet evangelical get on the SCOTUS. Just wait, after the rethugs pass a law sending you to prison for not having health insurance they are gonna pass a law making it a crime that you're not a christian and ol' SCCJ Roberts is gonna say both are constitutional!

    SEPERATION OF CHURCH & STATE FIRST AND FOREMOST.
    IMPEACH JUSTICE ROBERTS – NOW!

    October 1, 2009 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  17. jules sand-perkins

    I do not want the Supreme Court to see the law according to my Christian and Republican views.
    The Red Mass is a good idea for the interests of the Roman Catholic Church and other religious entities that share some of its desires.
    The Red Mass stands in opposition to Separation of Church and State, and it removes the blindfold from Justice.

    October 2, 2009 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  18. jim

    how medieval!

    October 2, 2009 07:30 am at 7:30 am |