Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio encouraged six Supreme Court justices to allow God to inspire their pursuit of justice and to be a part of the New Evangelization.
“We speak so often of the new evangelization, because we recognize that we must be its instruments in all that we do,” Archbishop Broglio said at the 60th annual Red Mass in Washington, D.C.
The Sept. 30 Mass, which came one day before the start of the Supreme Court's fall session, brought Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Stephen Breyer, Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Anthony Kennedy and Justice Elena Kagan to the Cathedral of St. Matthew.
Archbishop Broglio, who leads the Archdiocese for the United States Military Services, explained in his homily that “justice looks only to truth” and for that reason, everyone in the cathedral was gathered “primarily to pray for you … as you execute the daunting task assigned to you at various levels.”
Rather than seeing justice as merely an earthly endeavor like the Apostles did before the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the archbishop encouraged those in attendance to allow God – “the only Just One” – to “inspire all that you do.”
The tradition of the Red Mass dates back to Europe over 700 years ago and is an occasion to pray for lawyers, judges and legislators, that God may help them in their work.
The Mass takes its name from the color of the priests' vestments, which is symbolic of the Holy Spirit.
As the Church approaches the Oct. 11 start to the Year of Faith, the archbishop explained that Catholics have always expressed their beliefs not only in worship “but also in witness.” His remarks may also have been an allusion to the ongoing fight between the Obama administration and churches over what the freedom of religion means and its extent.
“From the beginning the Church has been active in society to make a contribution, especially to the care of the poor, but also to education,” he said. “We cannot separate who we are from how we live.”
Archbishop Broglio encouraged prayer for “all of those gathered here that they might welcome the strength of the Holy Spirit and the interior dynamism with which he fills our hearts.”
He noted that although such a “mission is always audacious,” it is possible “with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.”
Referencing the reading from the Book of Numbers, Archbishop Broglio said that even though God lead his people out of Egypt, he still left them with “a structure and system to govern them.”
The D.C. Red Mass, which has been sponsored by the John Carroll society since 1953, is considered the most prominent because of its attendance by Supreme Court justices.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, served as the main celebrant of the Mass.
The only justices absent from the Mass were were Sonia Sotomayor and Samuel Alito, both of whom are Catholic, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is Jewish.