- The Washington Times - Monday, October 4, 2004

Boston Archbishop Sean P. O’Malley, delivering the homily yesterday at the Red Mass in Northwest, criticized lawmakers who “scream separation of church and state” when they disagree with Catholic Church teachings.

“Too often when politicians agree with the Church’s position on a given issue, they say the Church is prophetic and should be listened to, but if the Church’s position does not coincide with theirs, then they scream separation of church and state,” he told the more than 1,300 people who attended the annual Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle.

Those attending included U.S. Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas, Anthony M. Kennedy and Antonin Scalia, White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr., White House Counsel Alberto Gonzalez, D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams and Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele.

Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, celebrated the Red Mass, which is named for the color of the vestments worn by the clergy and began in the 13th century as a religious celebration for those in the legal and judicial system.

In the District, the Mass usually is held on the Sunday before the start of the U.S. Supreme Court’s fall session, which begins today.

In his homily yesterday morning, Archbishop O’Malley also urged Catholics to build consensus around “the inalienable right to life” and “the centrality and importance of marriage and family.”

“Our faith challenges us to embrace an ideal of self-denial and sacrificial love at a time when the defining ethic of our politics has become a simple rule: We should all get what we want,” the archbishop said. “The distinct impression we get today is that no principles are sacred. Everything is up for grabs. If you have enough money and votes, all things are possible; a sow’s ear can become a silk purse.”

Earlier this year, Archbishop O’Malley fueled debate in the Catholic Church over whether Catholic lawmakers who are pro-choice should receive Holy Communion.

The archbishop said lawmakers, including Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry, should not seek Holy Communion if they are pro-choice, but he said he would not refuse the sacrament if the lawmakers chose to receive it.

Meanwhile, a few demonstrators, including the Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney with the pro-life group Christian Defense Coalition, gathered on the street across from the church on Rhode Island Avenue.

However, Mr. Mahoney said none of them was arrested, unlike last year, when authorities arrested five persons, including him, for crossing a police barricade.

Yesterday, Mr. Mahoney, the group’s executive director, stood silently while holding a sign of the Ten Commandments. He said the U.S. Marshals Service told him he could stand in protest. But yesterday, he said, he was asked to put down his sign.

“I said I wasn’t going to leave,” Mr. Mahoney said. “I said, ‘If you allow the media to stand on the sidewalk and people to walk by with their dogs, I’m not going to leave.’”

Mr. Mahoney said he planned to file an injunction in D.C. Superior Court today against the U.S. Marshals Service for “chilling the First Amendment.”

The First Amendment prohibits the federal government from infringing upon citizens’ freedom of speech or restricting their ability to engage in peaceful protest.

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