The Story: “Shutdown Impacts Chapel Services” by John Schlageter writing at the Archdiocese of the Military.
The Lead: “There is a chronic shortage of active duty Catholic chaplains. While roughly 25% of the military is Catholic, Catholic priests make up only about 8% of the chaplain corps. That means approximately 275,000 men and women in uniform, and their families, are served by only 234 active-duty priests. The temporary solution to this shortage is to provide GS and contract priests. These men are employed by the government to ensure that a priest is available when an active duty Catholic Chaplain is not present. With the government shutdown, many GS and contract priests who minister to Catholics on military bases worldwide are not permitted to work – not even to volunteer. During the shutdown, it is illegal for them to minister on base and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so.”
Why it Matters: Though there was a Reformation for an extremely important reason, let us leave aside significant and important theological differences between Protestants and Catholics for the sake of understanding that, should this injustice continue to permitted, Protestant and Catholic chaplains will be sharing the same cell at Leavenworth.
Amidst the unnecessary drama following the Federal government shutdown is the reality that the government appears to be willing to shutdown religious liberty as well. That is, some in the Federal bureaucracy appear to believe they have the authority to turn religious liberty on and off. They do not and for a politician to think otherwise is to claim equality with God, the Creator and Provider of religious liberty for each of his created creatures.
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