Delivers Red Mass homily in Phoenix following return from meetings with Pope Benedict XVI in Rome
PHOENIX, ARIZONA — Like Cain, who was indeed his “brother’s keeper,” American Catholics working in the legal profession have a solemn responsibility for the “pastoral solicitude” of others. That was the message from His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, to lawyers, judges, lawmakers and other public officials gathered Tuesday night for the annual Red Mass at St. Mary’s Basilica in Phoenix.
Delivering the homily, Archbishop Broglio said:
“It is our responsibility of the pastoral care for others that dictates an annual celebration for those engaged in the legal profession. While it offers a moment to present a message, it is also an occasion to express sincere pastoral solicitude for all of those who like the allegorical figure of justice stand blindfolded and hold the scales of equality, law, and service to their fellow citizens. How difficult to be impartial! What a challenge to serve the law and to ensure that the laws made respect justice and human dignity! What courage it takes to recognize the distinction between legal and moral!”
Fresh from face-to-face meetings with Pope Benedict XVI last week in Rome, Archbishop Broglio shared the Holy Father’s concern about contemporary challenges to the fundamental freedom of religion enshrined in the United States Constitution.
Archbishop Broglio said:
“Few would question that it is in jeopardy. Many openly reduce that fundamental right to a mere freedom of worship. That is not what the Constitution recognizes. It is not enough.”
Archbishop Broglio quoted directly from the pontiff’s Thursday address to bishops gathered for ad limina visits to the Eternal City:
“‘The Church’s witness… is of its nature public: she seeks to convince by proposing rational arguments in the public square. The legitimate separation of Church and State cannot be taken to mean that the Church must be silent on certain issues, nor that the State may choose not to engage, or be engaged by, the voices of committed believers in determining the values which will shape the future of the nation.'”
Archbishop Broglio concelebrated the Red Mass with His Excellency, the Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix. It was Archbishop Broglio’s third public appearance since his Sunday return to the U.S. from Rome. In Washington, D.C., he took part in the annual Mass for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Sunday–the anniversary of the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion–and on Monday, he walked in the annual March for Life along with tens of thousands of other Catholics including many teenagers and young adults.
Archbishop Broglio said:
“It is always an uplifting moment to see so many young people anxious to defend a fundamental right. My second stop is here in Phoenix to pray with you and join Bishop Olmsted in invoking blessings upon your demanding and vital responsibilities. Two events related to each other. Both evidence the service of the Church to authentic justice.'”
“I am reminded of my first year as a seminarian in Rome. An important 19th Century Justice Department building was closed because it was unsafe. It seemed to be sinking into the ground. Yet the Colosseum, Pantheon, and the ruins of the Roman Forum were all still standing and could be visited. It was a good reminder that not everything contemporary is good and that stable foundations are essential.'”