Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fletch [Update] U.S Govt 'Shuts Down' Catholic Mass On Naval Base


Looks like the Govt has backed down and allowed masses to continue, according to an update from the  Thomas More Law Centre, although they are continuing with the lawsuit.

The Government capitulated just one day after the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, MI, filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Department of Defense’s actions which prohibited a Catholic Priest from celebrating Mass at a Naval base under threat of arrest and barred the Chapel to Catholic religious services due to the government shutdown.

TMLC attorney Erin Mersino filed the lawsuit in the Federal District Court in Washington DC on Monday on behalf of Father Ray Leonard and Fred Naylor, a parishioner.  The lawsuit is the only legal challenge to the Government’s shutdown of religious services.  Other Christian denominations were allowed to continue their religious services.

Late yesterday afternoon, in response to the lawsuit, three attorneys from the Department of Justice contacted TMLC attorney Erin Mersino by phone and indicated that Father Leonard could resume all of his religious duties beginning this morning, and that the Chapel would be open for all Catholic activities.  These representations made by the Department of Justice attorneys were confirmed by orders to Father Leonard delivered through the Navy chain of command.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, said, “The actions of the Federal Government were a blatant attack on religious liberty. I would never have imagined that our Government would ever bar Catholic Priest from saying Mass under threat of arrest and prevent Catholics from participating in their religious exercises.  Allowing the Chapel doors to open and Father Leonard to fulfill his priestly responsibilities does not erase the Constitutional violations that occurred.  We don’t want this to occur again the next time there is a government shutdown. Our lawsuit will continue.”
[Original Post]

Yep, according to Thomas More Law Center, the U.S Govt has used the "shut down" as an excuse to stop Catholic Mass on a naval base in Georgia, though Protestant services haven't been affected. The priest has been threatened with arrest if he offers to celebrate for free. This will affect around 300 families. The priest has also been locked out of his chapel and office, and access to the sacraments.

In the wake of the government shutdown, despite provisions in the Pay Our Military Act, Catholics at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia are being denied religious services. The Catholic priest who serves this community has been prohibited from even volunteering to celebrate Holy Mass without pay, and was told that if he violated that order, he could be subject to arrest. Protestant services continue to take place.  Only Catholic services have been shutdown.

This is an astonishing attack on religious freedom by the federal government, and the latest affront towards the military since the beginning of the shutdown.

As a result, the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, MI, today, filed a federal lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Father Ray Leonard, a Catholic priest contracted to serve as base chaplain and Fred Naylor, one of Father Leonard’s parishioners and a retired veteran with over 22 years of service. Fr. Leonard is a civilian Catholic Pastor contracted by the Department of Defense (DoD) to serve as a military chaplain at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia.

Fr. Leonard who served Tibetan populations in China for 10 years, informed the court in an affidavit; “In China, I was disallowed from performing public religious services due to the lack of religious freedom in China. I never imagined that when I returned home to the United States, that I would be forbidden from practicing my religious beliefs as I am called to do, and would be forbidden from helping and serving my faith community.”

On October 4, 2013, Fr. Leonard was ordered to stop performing all of his duties as the base’s Catholic Chaplain, even on a voluntary basis. He was also told that he could be arrested if he violated that order. The approximately 300 Catholic families, including Fred Naylor’s, served by Fr. Leonard at Kings Bay have been unable to attend Mass on base since the beginning of the shutdown.

Additionally, Fr. Leonard was locked out of his on-base office and the chapel. Fr. Leonard was also denied access to the Holy Eucharist and other articles of his Catholic faith. The order has caused the cancellation of daily and weekend mass, confession, marriage preparation classes and baptisms as well as prevented Fr. Leonard from providing the spiritual guidance he was called by his faith to provide.

The submarine base is remotely located.  It consists of roughly 16,000 acres, with 4,000 acres comprised of protected wetlands.  There are approximately 10,000 total people on the base. 

16 comment(s):

Anonymous said...

First, lay the blame where it belongs, with the TeaTards.

Second, do a little fact checking.

One of the many issues affecting both the public and government workers during the federal government shutdown of October 2013 is the Antideficiency Act, a piece of legislation originally passed back in 1870 that prohibits the federal government from incurring any monetary obligations for which Congress has not appropriated funds. Under the terms of that legislation, federal employees may not perform their job duties during a government shutdown (save for certain legally exempted activities, such as "emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property") even if they volunteer to do so on an unpaid basis, and federal workers who violate the Antideficiency Act may be subject to disciplinary action (such as suspension or job termination), fines, and imprisonment.

So, this is simply following the law, you know, the thing that we have to maintain order.


Due to a confluence of circumstances, one group affected by the Antideficiency Act are some Catholic priests. Due to a chronic shortage of active duty Catholic military chaplains in the U.S. armed forces, the Department of Defense has had to hire about 234 priests from outside the military (variously known as contract priests, GS priests, or non-active duty priests) to perform Catholic services and other religious functions on U.S. military bases. Although active duty military personnel (including chaplains) are exempt from the Antideficiency Act, government contract workers are not, so contract priests may not perform religious services or otherwise minister to Catholics on U.S. military bases during the government shutdown, even on a volunteer basis.

So, blame the catholic church for not getting enough priests to enrol. Wherever there is an active duty catholic priest there will still be mass.


It isn't true, however, that "President Obama ordered that military priests be arrested for saying the Mass during the government shutdown." As explained above, the issue with contract priests in the military was created by the intersection of the Antideficiency Act and a shortage of active duty Catholic military chaplains, two factors which have neither been instigated by nor are under the control of President Obama. And although imprisonment is technically one of the potential punishments spelled out in the law for federal workers who violate the Antideficiency Act, President Obama has not ordered that penalty to be applied to contract priests or any other federal employees, and that penalty is unlikely to be applied to anyone save for the most egregious of violations.

But I suppose, as usual, you won't let facts get in the way of your rants.

Anonymous said...

Update: On 5 October 2013, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure (by a 400 to 1 vote) in favor of allowing military chaplains to minister on Sunday without violating the Antideficiency Act. The Senate has not yet taken up the bill.

No word yet from the TeaTards in The Senate.

Read more at http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/shutdown.asp#3rolfbYEQqzM7W1p.99

I.M Fletcher said...

LRO, I hardly think the Thomas More Centre would be filing a lawsuit for nothing. They aren't that ill informed.

Isumbras said...

You really will bend all the way over for your Marxist hero Obama won't you LRO....

First, it is Obama's absolute refusal to negotiate and give an inch (when he has already to the special interest groups he likes) on the rolling train wreck that is Obama Care that is causing the stalemate.

Second. If you can't recognize the petulance and arrogance of this imperial President in the selective targeting of what he closes down and leaves open then I'm afraid I must change your name to Left Right Behind....

I mean...Barricades around outdoor war memorials, Police hassling elderly war veterans FFS...

Apart from immature acts like stopping priest from saying Mass It would seem the large majority of Americans are noticing that a week without big government has been just fine....

Anonymous said...

LRO, I hardly think the Thomas More Centre would be filing a lawsuit for nothing. They aren't that ill informed.

Actually, they are.

They often mount cases that they have no hope of winning over various First Amendment issues. For them, it isn't about winning or losing, its about keeping the faith with the deluded faithful.

Anonymous said...

Isumbras, Obama is no hero of mine, he has done many things for which he should be deeply ashamed and which he is rightly pilloried for.

However, what I posted is the FACTS about the beat up over catholic priests. Of course, as a bible believing xtiasn, I know you have no understanding of or use for facts. Just myths. Like the myths of persecuted priests.

However, I do support Obama's refusal to negotiate with as gun to his head. The ACA is the law, as passed by Congress. The ACA has been ruled constitutional by the SCOTUS. The TeaTards refuse to accept the law, even after they have lost almost 50 votes to overturn it to date.

Usually when one takes a hostage, one has a plan. The Teatards don't have a plan, they don't have an exit strategy, they are simply destroying the GOP and making themselves look as stupid as we already knew they were.

Isumbras said...

Their Plan is to stop/delay the implementation of a Disaster... as for the GOP... it has destroyed itself and is for all intensive purposes indistinguishable from the Democrats.
I see why the left thinks the GOP worth saving though, it keeps sending out RINO's like McCain and Romney.... Luke warm liberals that keep the conservatives at home on polling day.... They are utterly clueless and don't know their own base...
If the GOP can be saved it will be because of true Conservatives like Mike Lee, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, not moderates like Chris Christie (if they put that RINO blowhard up for President next time round you'll know the GOP is officially dead)

John Tertullian said...

All power to the Thomas More Law Centre.

Anonymous said...

If the GOP can be saved it will be because of true Conservatives like Mike Lee, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz,

Mike Lee - People need to understand that the reason we worry about raising taxes on anyone – even raising taxes on the rich – it’s not that we’re looking out for the rich, it’s not that we’re concerned that the rich won’t be able to fend for themselves, because they will. It’s because we worry about the consequences that will inevitably result from that action and that will hit the poorest among us the hardest.

Rand Paul - Just because a couple people on the Supreme Court declare something to be ‘constitutional’ does not make it so. The whole thing remains unconstitutional. While the court may have erroneously come to the conclusion that the law is allowable, it certainly does nothing to make this mandate or government takeover of our health care right.”

Ted Cruz - "We will not stop, we will never give up in this fight to deny healthcare to the poorest 20% of Americans. It is the struggle to pay for insurance, to pay your own way, that makes man stronger. The poor just need to work harder and plan better."

Yep, real righteous dudes.

Lucia Maria said...


You got references for those quote? Just so the context can be understood by our readers.

Anonymous said...

Of course -



Scroll down to 29 June


They are, in short, idiots all.

Isumbras said...

Daily Kos.... oh please.... it does explain a lot LRO that you read and believe anything at that Alinskite sewer....

Anyway, the Cruz quote looks bogus. well the first sentence, nothing but common sense to anyone but a mendicant that has been on the public teat all his life in the second...

and what is wrong with the other two....

Taxing the productive even more to hand to the unproductive is stupidity on stilts....

and you do realise that the judges on the Supreme Court are 'just lawyers' not Gods.... they are as likely as anyone to be activist and have got it wrong many times in the past... ahem Dred Scott

Anonymous said...

So, you can;'t refute the quotes, you simply go on a rant to attack the messenger. This seems to be all you ever have.

And do you really want to be identified as being as stupid as Rand Paul? Whoever claimed Supreme Court judges were gods?

Simple fact is that Rand Paul can bluster all he likes, but the ACA IS law.

It was passed by BOTH houses of Congress.

It was signed in to law by the president.

That is how laws are made in the US.

It was challenged as unconstitutional in the SCOTUS and ruled to be constitutional.

And as the the Daily Kos, I'll take it as 10,000 times more accurate than the book of lies upon which you base your worldview.

I.M Fletcher said...

LRO, there is no such quote by Cruz. I did a google with the exact quote (in quotation marks) and the search returns no results. It has been made up out of whole cloth.

As far as the ACA - you need a lesson. When it was first put through it was NOT as a tax. The Democrats swore black and blue that it wasn't a tax. It went to the Supreme Court to determine its constitutionality, and they said that the only way Americans could be forced to pay for this monstrosity was if it was a tax. Justice Roberts said as much and it was re-written as a tax.

Now: any laws to do with tax or spending can only originate in the House. This is the origination Clause. The ACA did NOT originate in the House and NOT as a tax. It originated in the Senate. Therefore it is not lawful.

[The ACA] was introduced in Congress in 2009 by Senate majority leader Harry Reid, who called it the “Senate health care bill” (a description still touted long afterwards on Reid’s website). Employing the chicanery that marked the legislation through and through, the Democrat-controlled Senate turned its 3,000-page mega-proposal into a Senate amendment. The Senate attached its amendment to a nondescript, uncontroversial House bill (the “Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009”) that had unanimously passed (416–0) in the lower chamber.


If the Dems want to pass the Affordable Care Act, they need to do it legally, through the House as a tax.

I.M Fletcher said...

The following written by a Constitutional Law expert, Dr Harold Pease -

-- snip--
Historically throughout the ages, the people have had little freedom from excessive government which became the cause of the American Revolution. Ramses, an Egyptian Pharaoh, made the Israelite slaves gather their own straw in addition to making the bricks. The greatest concerns of the masses have always been excessive taxation and unpopular wars because the first took their hard earned money and the second potentially their lives. Under the Constitution, and for the first time in history, they could prevent either.

Everything hinged upon funding which was given exclusively to the House of Representatives—the only power that they alone had. “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.” To fund anything, in this case Obamacare, first approval is required by the House of Representatives. If that does not happen taxpayer money cannot be spent. The people, through their representatives to Congress, have determined, after a three-year closer scrutiny of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), that it does not protect the patient, is not affordable and is not even workable; hence in the interests of the vast majority of the people needs to be defunded.

Spending can only occur after raising revenue and since only one body is authorized to initiate this, it follows that if they refuse to initiate it the issue ends, regardless of what the Senate chooses to do. Refusal is understood. Neither Senate or Presidential acceptance is necessary as on other bills—the people have spoken. If the House won’t do the necessary first part, second and third parts cannot follow. It might be well to remember that this grant to the House, in Article 7, is a grant of power separate from and preceding Section 8 which itemizes the law making, thus spending, powers of Congress. In this particular instance, raising revenue, the House has clear distinction and is set apart from the Senate. Any other interpretation would undermine, even destroy, the peoples right of approval of taxation—the right not to be excessively taxed. A right no other people in world history has had, as far as I am able to determine—a most precious freedom.

-- snip --

Authority to refuse Obamacare funding belongs to the House alone

Isumbras said...

"And as the the Daily Kos, I'll take it as 10,000 times more accurate than the book of lies upon which you base your worldview."

Good for You, me I'm going to stick with the book that has enthralled and challenged the greatest minds of the last 2000 years and inspired countless musicians, artists, writers, architects etc to sublime heights of creation

but hey! by all means you go with angry little Markos and his soap dodging Occupy pals over there at "Truth is whatever you want it to be"

Fletcher's post above will I suspect not make a scrap of difference....Manufactured Ted Cruz quotes are just as good as real ones in your 10,000 times more accurate world, right LRO?

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