Saturday, July 4, 2020

Archbishop Broglio Issues Statement on U.S. Naval Orders Prohibiting Participation in Off-Base Indoor Religious Services

Archbishop Broglio Issues Statement on U.S. Naval Orders Prohibiting Participation in Off-Base Indoor Religious Services
 

".... the Navy cannot legally prohibit family members from frequenting religious services off base...."
 

WASHINGTON, DC - His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, USA, issued the following statement today on the prohibition by some commands in the US Navy against participation in off-base indoor religious services:
 
For Immediate Attention: COVID-19 Orders-- U.S. Navy


            A few nights ago I watched Silence, a movie about the persecution of Catholics in Japan in the 1600’s.  The persecution was systematic and destined to eradicate the faith from the islands.  While the current situation in the US is certainly not one of persecution, the movie does invite the viewer to recognize values, determine how important they are, and decide what value merits a sacrifice, even the ultimate sacrifice.

            Several of the faithful whom the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, is privileged to serve have brought to my attention the recent prohibition by the US Navy in some commands of participation in indoor religious services off base.  Service members are required to sign that they have received the FRAG orders.  Those who disobey will be held accountable.

            The orders also add that “civilian personnel, including families, are discouraged from” indoor church services, as well.

            The provision is particularly odious to Catholics, because frequently there is no longer a Catholic program on naval installations due to budgetary constraints or many installation chapels are still closed—even though many of them could well ensure appropriate social distancing.

            Of course, the Navy cannot legally prohibit family members from frequenting religious services off base.  Those family members return home where the military member lives.  What is the protective effect of the prohibition for the Navy personnel?  Zero. 

            Upon receiving this information I immediately contacted the Navy Chief of Chaplains’ Office.  They have been unable to offer any relief from these provisions.  My attempt to contact the Chief of Naval Operations has not even been acknowledged.

            Participation in the Sunday Eucharist is life blood for Catholics.  It is the source and summit of our lives and allows us to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord.  Certainly, the Navy personnel who fall under this restriction are dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass, because no one can be required to do what is impossible.

            However, given the great lengths to which Catholic churches (and I presume others) have gone in order to ensure social distancing in seating, receiving Holy Communion, and even adjust the liturgy to avoid any contagion, I wonder why the Navy has decided to prohibit the faithful from something, which even the Commander in Chief has called an essential service.

             I want to assure the Navy Catholic faithful of my prayerful solidarity, invite them to continue to participate in Masses that are broadcast or live-streamed, and to be fervent in their faith.  This situation will pass and, as Pope Francis reminded us, Christ is in the boat with us.  

              It seems tragic to offer these reflections on the Independence holiday when we honor the bravery of those who forged this Nation to ensure self-evident truths about the endowment by the Creator of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Should those who swear to protect and defend the Constitution be obliged to surrender their First Amendment Rights?

 
+Timothy P. Broglio
Archbishop for the Military Services, USA
-30-

The AMS was established as an independent archdiocese by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1985 as the only Catholic jurisdiction responsible for endorsing and granting faculties for priests to serve as chaplains in the U.S. military and VA Medical Centers. AMS-endorsed priests serve at more than 220 U.S. military installations in 29 countries, making the AMS the nation's only global archdiocese. AMS-endorsed chaplains also serve at 153 VA Medical Centers throughout the U.S. The AMS service population also includes American Catholic civilians working for the federal government in 134 countries, but currently, due to limited resources, the AMS cannot adequately serve this population. Worldwide, an estimated 1.8 million Catholics depend on the AMS to meet their spiritual and sacramental needs. For more information on the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, visit milarch.org, the only official website for Catholics in the U.S. Military. ​​​​For information on the Cause of Father Vincent R. Capodanno, M.M., visit capodannoguild.org.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Pretiosissimi Sanguinis Domini Nostri Jesu Christi

“The statues of monarchs, mindless and speechless images though they be, have sometimes been an 
helpful refuge to men endowed with soul and reason, not because they are works of the brazier's skill, but because the likeness they bear is a King's. And just so did this unconscious blood deliver the lives of men, not because it was blood, but because it foreshadowed the shedding of the Blood of Jesus. On that night in Egypt, when the destroying Angel saw the blood upon the lintel and on the two side-posts, he passed over the door, and came not in unto the house. Even so now much more will the destroyer of souls flee away when he seeth, not the lintel and the two side-posts sprinkled with the blood of a lamb, but the mouth of the faithful Christian, the living dwelling of the Holy Ghost, shining with the blood of the True Messiah. If the Angel let the type be, how shall not the enemy quail before the Reality? Wouldest thou hear more of the power of that Blood I am willing. Consider from what source it welleth, from what fountain it springeth. Its fountain is the Heart of the Lord, pierced for us upon the Cross. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with Him but when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they brake not His Legs, but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His Side, and forthwith came thereout Blood and Water, John xix, 32-34, whereof One is a figure of Baptism, and the other of the Sacrament of the Altar. One of the soldiers with a spear pierced His Side the veil of the Temple of His Body was rent in twain. John ii. 19-21, Matth. xxvii. 51. O how glorious is the treasure that is laid open to me therein How noble the riches that it is my joy there to have found!“

- St John Chrysostom

And so was it done concerning that Lamb: the Jews killed a sheep, and I have learned the value of the sacrament. From the Side flowed forth Blood and Water. I would not, O my hearer, that thou shouldest pass by the depths of such a mystery as this without pausing; for I have yet a mystic and mysterious discourse to deliver. I have said that the Water and Blood shewed forth symbolically baptism and the sacraments. For from these, holy Church was founded by the laver of regeneration, and the renovation of the Holy Ghost. Through baptism, I say, and through the sacraments, which seem to have issued from his Side. It was therefore out of the Side of Christ that the Church was created, just as it was out of the side of Adam that Eve was raised up to be his bride. This is the reason why Paul saith, no doubt in allusion to his Side: We are members of his Body, and of his bones. For even as God made the woman Eve out of the rib which he had taken out of the side of Adam, so hath Christ made the Church out of the Blood and Water which he made to flow for us out of his own Side. -On the occasion of the nineteenth centenary of the accomplishment of the redemption of mankind, as a fitting celebration of this ineffable blessing, Pope Pius XI decreed an extraordinary Jubilee. During that year the Supreme Pontiff, wishing that the fruits of the Precious Blood of Christ, the Lamb without spot, might redound more abundantly upon mankind and that the minds of the faithful be impressed with more vivid recollections of this same Blood as the price of their redemption, elevated the Feast of the Most Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ to the rank of a double of the first class, to be celebrated as such every year by the universal Church.