The Red Mass is celebrated annually at the Washington, D.C. Cathedral and hosted by the John Carroll Society, a group of Washington area legal professionals. The Mass is normally for for judges, attorneys, law school professors, students, and government officials. The Mass requests guidance from the Holy Ghost for all who seek justice, and offers the opportunity to reflect on what Catholics believe is the God-given power and responsibility of all in the legal profession.
The Red Mass is so-called from the red vestments traditionally worn in symbolism of the tongues of fire that descended on the Apostles. The most significant difference between the Red Mass and a traditional Mass is that the focuses of prayer and blessings concentrate on the leadership roles of those present. Guidance from the Holy Ghost is asked to be bestowed on the congregants. Other blessings that are commonly requested to prevail in the minds, offices, and court rooms are Divine strength, wisdom, truth, and justice.
Cardinal DiNardo’s homily briefly touched on the rights of the unborn.
“He lamented that the legal profession has become “semi-mechanical,” detached from the human need for justice. Clients, he said, “are poor and wealthy, confused and lucid, polite and impolite. In some cases the clients are voiceless for they lack influence; in others, they are literally voiceless, not yet with tongues, and even without names. They too require our most careful attention and radical support.”
In attendance were six Supreme Court Justices, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts Jr., Samuel Alito Jr., and Sonia Sotomayer. Stephen Breyer was the six justice and only non-Catholic. Additionally Vice President Joe Biden, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele attended.
To read the entire text of Cardinal DiNardo’s homily click here.
To learn more about the John Carroll Society click here.
To learn more about the history of Red Mass click here.
To read more news about yesterday’s Red Mass click here.
The scene following the conclusion of the Red Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle in Washington D.C. on October 4, 2009 A.D.: