Civilian Catholic priests employed by the federal government have been forbidden by the Obama administration from performing their ministries with military personnel during the government shutdown and are subject to arrest even if they do so voluntarily, according to John Schlageter, the General Counsel of the Archdioceses for Military Services, USA.
This morning, the House of Representatives passed a resolution, 400-1, urging Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to allow continued performance of religious services on military installations during the government shutdown.
There is no indication that the Archdiocese will defy the ban on their priests performing religious services. Rather, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio thanked Congressman Doug Collins of Georgia for sponsoring the resolution and urge the U.S. Senate to pass it.
“Military personnel enjoy, like all Americans, the First Amendment guarantee of the ‘Free Exercise’ of religion, Broglio said, “In the current political climate, however, nothing can be taken for granted. I am grateful to Representative Collins and the many other House members who recognized the importance of passing this resolution, which reflects the seriousness with which the American people take their Free Exercise rights. It can only be hoped that the members of the US Senate will act decisively in order to favor the same First Amendment rights.”