Guns N Lawyers

Most of the commentary on this Vox Nova thread, “Red Mass Liturgical Abuse” zeroed in on the song. I can’t say I’m all that surprised about singing the National Anthem. I wouldn’t program it at the beginning of a Mass and I’d rather not have it at the end, but that someone would do it–that doesn’t surprise me.

What I found curious is the report of the “military style procession.” Why would that be part of a Red Mass? Even in Washington DC? Is it part of some misguided sense of “supporting the troops”? (The best way to support them would be to bring them all home.) Or has the Red Mass morphed into some kind of secular observance, at least in the capital?

I’ve always applauded the spiritual focus put into my parishes’ observance of Thanksgiving through the years. The intrusion of a military element into a small religious expression of the tradition of law: that strikes me as some planners running off the rails on this.

Or perhaps these Washington lawyers, judges, and SCOTUS are expressing some reality the rest of us aren’t aware of.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to Guns N Lawyers

  1. Pingback: Conelux.Com » Guns N Lawyers

  2. Tony says:

    I don’t think that this sort of display or the singing of secular songs at mass is appropriate. I don’t even like “God Bless America” when 4th of July falls on Sunday.

  3. The discussion at the other site soon moved away from the liturgical issues, into a discussion of patriotism, just war, etc. Plenty said on all that, there.

    On the appropriateness of this, here are my thoughts:

    1. I would have nixed the Star-Spangled Banner, a song I like, as unsuitable for the setting. I feel the same way about
    “God Bless America,” but I have allowed “America the Beautiful,” which strikes me as actually being a kind of prayer and thus a hymn. There is a very nice hymn, set to “Findlandia,” called “This is my Song,” that we use on such occasions, that expresses love for ones country, without being jingoistic. (My feeling on this whole thing is this: I’m patriotic, and love to wave the flag; and I’m for lifting high the Cross; but I get very leery of mixing them.)

    2. I would have been fine with any military officers being present, I’m less clear about their taking part in a procession, and the use of flags mystifies me, but perhaps someone can provide a justification from the actual liturgical tradition of the Church.

    3. The fact that the military might carry weapons is less important than what and how. Some find even the sight or presence of a weapon offensive, but some are ceremonial, such as the swords, and in the case of police officers, they might need to keep theirs handy. But again, I question doing something ceremonially if its not suitable; what may be suitable at the Capitol or Arlington Cemetery, may not be at St. Matthew’s.

    4. What about the Knights of Columbus and other Catholic orders? I’d prefer to have them in the procession.

    5. What does the ritual say about having honored guests but who are otherwise not exercising any liturgical role, in the procession–i.e., military representatives, or for that matter, political figures?

    I can only recall a couple of things: first, something about not giving undue honor to political/civil figures, and second, that where clergy of other Christian churches are invited to a Mass, they can process in, but seating and involvement should not suggest they are concelebrants, but honored guests — or something like that. Their attire should be something equivalent to being “in choir.”

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