Priests saying mass on bases now?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by fencersmother, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Does anyone know if Catholic priests are permitted again to say mass on base?

    This I found the most disturbing of all the "government shutdown" shenanigans.
     
  2. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    I think that it was only the civilian contract Catholic chaplains who were not saying Mass. The AD chaplains were still working. At Luke AFB they never stopped saying Mass.

    Stealth_81
     
  3. kar57

    kar57 Member

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    We witnessed a government shutdown shenanigan this weekend on the Yard at USNA!!! My 6 week old granddaughter (Mom and Dad both USNA grads stationed in Hawaii having just flown ALL the way east with their newborn for the weekend) was baptized after the 11:30 Mass in the St. Andrew's Chapel (in the same building as the Naval Academy Chapel - the smaller St. Andrew's Chapel is in the basement). During Mass the priest apologized and explained about the completely music-less Mass - the cantor is a civilian contract worker ... He gave a wonderful homily in spite of the lack of music and those attending, midshipmen, family, visitors, officers all just imagined the hymns in our minds anyway!
     
  4. DHinNH

    DHinNH USMA 1989

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    Interesting definition of shenanigans.

    I'm not Catholic, so I'm sorry if this offends, but could those in attendance not have sung hymns rather than just imagining them?
     
  5. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    <gasp!>
    Actually, more seriously, I expect the problem would have been that they would probably have been singing a capella.
     
  6. osdad

    osdad Member

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    Or could they not have attended one of the other dozen or so Catholic churches in the vicinity? Yes, I'm bringing up the issue of the need/justification for chaplains on (most) CONUS bases.
     
  7. jbsail

    jbsail Member

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    Thats what they did at some masses.
     
  8. jbsail

    jbsail Member

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    Yes it does need to be on all CONUS bases. I recently saw it first hand when I was sent to a base during a summer from school and continue to run in to it. During my summer, there were families (mostly the enlisted, and more than 1 during this 1 summer) that lived on base. They were dependent on what was on base, if it wasn't on base they did without.
     
  9. NorwichDad

    NorwichDad Member

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    Keep in mind being an enlisted soldier with a family is not very lucritave. It is very difficult for many to go back and forth (spending $ for the gas) off the base. They certainly deserve better than that.
     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    As a Catholic here are my reasons regarding the need.

    1. The way each on base chapel determines how many masses will be needed at the chapel occurs every Sept. They actually have parishioners fill out questionnaires. From there they(the military) determine how many masses they will have for each religion at the base chapel. Highest amount of parishioners wins!

    The religion that has the most parishioners typically also get the prime times. At every base we lived on, there were no less than 3 Catholic Masses. Protestant might have 2 services. There are no Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist only masses, just Protestant. That illustrates how many Catholics attend mass on base.

    2. When deployments occur, a Chaplain will rotate in with the service members. That means they need to bring in a Priest from outside, and in the Catholic world, they are fewer and fewer each yr. These priests would be considered contract since they are not military.
    ~~~ If the chapel is closed where will they get the chaplains for deployments? When not deployed where would their office be if the chapel is closed, would they now be the PA officer unless deployed?
    ~~~ A few yrs ago our priest was PCS'd and for about a month the on base priest was on loan from the Arch Diocese. That would mean during the shutdown there would be no on base services.

    3. As a Catholic, there are what we consider 2 types of Catholics, and no, I am not talking about the Christeaster type :wink: . As an example, I consider myself a Vatican II Catholic. Lack of better words, the liberal Catholic. The other is Vatican I, the conservative Catholic.
    ~~~ The Church does not recognize that there is a Vatican II type, but they do acknowledge many parishioners believe there is a difference.

    At SJAFB, there is only 1 Catholic church off base. It is a town with a ton of Baptist and Methodist churches, basically 1 on every block :wink: The off base church is not my cup of tea....they make Vatican I look like Vatican II. They place up a sign every yr. on their grounds, tallying how many abortions have been performed this past yr. The priest one time thought we did not sing the opening hymn loud enough that when he got up to the altar, he said not good enough, walked back out and made us sing it again! If that wasn't enough he stopped and gently slapped a child in the face when he re-entered and said LOUDER! :eek::thumbdown::unhappy: We never returned and will never return.

    Thus, if the SJAFB priest could not perform mass, than I would be watching mass on tv that Sunday because I would not attend mass there.

    4. At some old bases/posts they have Catholic Churches on base. Ft. Leavenworth had 2 (1 burned down in 2001). These churches were built by Grant when he lived there. The Army made a deal with the Arch Diocese that they could have the buildings as long as they remain Catholic only and supply a priest at all times.
    ~~~~ Thus, there are other reasons that are not necessarily obvious to everyone why they offer the services. So if there is some lovely old, old church on base/post, there maybe a chance that the building is basically on loan to the base/post.

    5. As a fliers wife, when you get to any base, one of the 1st things the flier will be asked to do is fill out that lovely questionnaire of what to do if?
    ~~~~ One question is who would you like to be notified by, and who would you like to be with them, it says chaplain, friends, please name.

    Right after that it asks about funeral decisions, such as church.

    After that it asks about how family members (parents) should be notified...if military, chaplain to go too...Yes or No.

    Another reason why chaplains and churches are needed stateside.

    Bullet served 20 yrs., and we lived off base for every tour, but 1, yet we always went to church on base. It was our Sunday ritual. Church, CCD, Commissary, home. We basically spent the day with our friends because that was their ritual too, so we kept bumping into them. :shake:

    Finally, our DS ADAF O1 will be getting married next May, and the Priest there is contracted. When I heard about this, my heart broke, because can you imagine planning your wedding for a yr., paying for flowers, gown, reception, etc., to find out only 5 days prior you can't get married because as an on base ADAF parishioner the GOVT won't let it occur due to a shutdown? Yep, bet your bottom dollar that occurred. It made talk radio news here. There were brides, grooms, parents calling in saying they were informed the priest was not allowed to perform the ceremony because they were contracted.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
  11. NorwichDad

    NorwichDad Member

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    Thanks PIMA for the insight. It had to be tough for the young couples getting married the last few weeks. Congrats and best wishes to DS #1 for the wedding.
     
  12. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    OBTW, at all of the churches we went to, there was no Cantor, the choir always consisted of parishioners. Most often than not it was the CYO, (Catholic Youth Organization), which consisted of dependent children, and a parent. The shut down would not have impacted the hymns.

    For weddings, or baptisms, you just pay the CYO to sing, it is their fundraiser to pay for other things, such as CYO parties at the chapel.
     
  13. osdad

    osdad Member

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    No offense Pima but none of the reasons you listed is IMHO compelling enough to justify the expense of the chaplians and the upkeep of the buildings.

    Particularly #3 - what you're basically saying is that because you have a differing set of rituals than some others you deserve your own service - and the military should pay for it!

    What about the multitude of Protestant religions you talk about? Should they have their own too? And what about the ones who do not meet the number required to have a service? How are they served?

    I recognize that junior members living on base have difficulties wrt transportation. But again, that can be handled other ways short of hiring chaplains and building chapels; e.g. a bus could be sent to get those who do not have cars. (Training commands with their multitudes without cars fall into the "almost all" exception.)
     
  14. emwvmi01

    emwvmi01 Member

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    OSdad,
    Let me try and address your questions/concerns from the viewpoint of an Active duty FG Army officer with 4 deployments and 12 years service. I am not sure your experience in the military so if my response seems overly simplistic I apologize.
    1. The reason for maintaining chaplains is first and foremost addressing the spiritual health/well-being of the force. This is much broader than having a preacher on the battalion staff. The chaplain is a direct advisor to the command group at battalion level and above on the morale and emotional/spiritual health of the Soldiers. As a combat arms company commander in Afghanistan in 2010 I utilized the chaplain for a variety of roles 1. Grief counseling/post incident debriefs after sustaining KIAs 2. Outside counselor for Soldiers facing marital issues, personal problems or issues related to combat stress 3. Organizer and executor of memorial services for our fallen 4. My own personal gauge on what the troops were saying/thinking/feeling (Things they may not tell the COmmander, 1SG, PL, PSG or Squad leader). The reason that the variety of chaplains I have worked with are able to do this is they are a part of the unit. Soldiers see them as someone who is skilled in the above sets but also required to do some Soldier tasks such as ABN/AASLT qualified in the Airborne/Air Assault community. They have been familiar faces in pre-deployment training and the good ones continue that circulation in theater. That is why it would be foolhardy just to have them in in OCONUS locations. The need for Chaplains by the way was directed by General George Washington in the Revolution and the organizational structure of battalion support has been pretty consistent since World War II. The troop to chaplain ratio is about 1:500 in most battalion/squadron formations which is why it would be hard to reduce that number.

    2. As far as the chapels go well we now call them a variety of terms (Religious Support Center is the term in vogue). Anyway, the ones on most installations are pretty well established and providng services is only part of the reason they exist. As a company commander they were one of the go-to spots when it came to finding a place for company/battalion sized briefings and training on things like pre-deployment, suicide prevention, Sexual Harassment and Assault as well as unit memorial services for stateside deaths. The military has a lot of things but auditoriums with A/V capability and seating capacity is actually harder to come by than you would imagine.

    3. So now that I put out my demonstrated needs for chaplains and for a venue it is a minimal expense to say that we can't also allow them to host their own services. I know on many installations the chapel is the only venue for minority faith groups on my last two posts it was the only option for Jews/Hindus/Muslims and Buddhists. The overhead I believe for all those services is supplemented by the collections taken during services so it is minimal cost to taxpayers.

    4. As far as the contracted chaplain support goes I think this is particular to certain faith groups particularly Catholics. As you may or may not be aware the Catholic Church is having a hard time in the accession of priests within the United States. That is even harder in finding priests wiling and more importantly able to service as chaplains. In order to meet the requirements for a faith group which is identifiable to about 1/3 of the American population the military has made connection with the local dioceses to get that support. The posts/bases are fully functioning communities and at least twice I have been at hospitals and seen soldiers receive last rites from the catholic priests/chaplains so that alone can justify the expense to me.
     
  15. jjlma

    jjlma Member

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    Catholic Mass

    to clarify a few points: The Catholic Mass is not a "service" and is open for attendance to all people regardless of faith. The prayers led by the Priest are traditional and easyly followed. Only the reception of Holy Communion is administered to Catholics, and a blessing is offered to those who do not wish to receive Holy Communion. The people, regardless of their religion have the right, and the duty by the government to offer the Sunday Mass. It happens that Catholism is the largest community and open to people of all faiths, which is why it is right to have it available.
     
  16. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    I hesitate to comment, because I'd like my thoughts to be taken in the context I intend. As a disclaimer: I am not trying to change the beliefs of a religious organization nor trying to say that there should be some sort of litmus test for them to be a chaplain.

    That said, recent releases by the Southern Baptist and Catholic Ecclesiastical policies are of concern to someone like me. According to their policies, not only can they not counsel someone like me with a same-sex spouse or sig. other on any issues related to our relationship, but if they choose to do so on their own accord, they risk the loss of their ecclesiastical endorsement (and therefore cannot be a chaplain anymore). I do not mean to say that they have to go against their faith, but a few things really un nerve me about this.

    First, if the pastor/priest himself wishes to minister to a same-sex couple and finds that ministry in tune with his faith, he can be stripped of his endorsement. I haven't see (correct me if wrong) an equivalent separating "clause" associated with other acts such as abortion, for example.

    Second, if a priest/pastor is requested in the event of SM death, they cannot acknowledge the spouse/partner of the SM at all. I can't imagine having to attend to my own husband and have a priest refuse to acknowledge my relationship (without fear of loss of endorsement).

    Third, in situations where an installation is so small that they only have 1 or 2 chaplains and they are of the NAMB or Catholic endorsement, you have a subset of SMs who cannot receive the spiritual services they need. I know that the idea, in those cases, is that they can provide services to other faiths within the tenets of their own (general spiritual guidance and counseling) that do not conflict. But remember, there are same-sex couples who identify as Catholic and SB who would be refused any counseling related to their relationship other than "you are immoral for it." I am not aware of any other litmus test (RE: abortion) that prohibits counseling of a topic. Granted, I'm sure a priest, on the topic of abortion for example, would counsel that it is against their moral faith and that it is wrong, but they would still provide the support to a mother and sensitive counseling, I would think.

    I guess my qualms about the chaplaincy is these recent controversies on the topic of same-sex couples. While it doesn't personally affect me (due to my religious persuasion), I can see other SMs of those faiths in a tough situation when left with few other options. ESPECIALLY in situations regarding the death of a SM.

    So, when I hear of the outrage that some people didn't get to have mass on base it's hard to be too sympathetic when I know of many people who, by ecclesiastical doctrine, are required to be treated differently with regards to spouses. And that will extend to spousal retreats and other chaplain-sponsored spousal services.

    Again, I'm not saying, "Change the faith!" but I find the special recognition of this one issue among a couple of the denominations as something that does interfere with carrying out the purpose of the chaplain corps. And sure, doesn't affect me directly, but my future airman and peers who rely on chaplain services can be seriously hurt (and are) by these policies.
     
  17. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    osdad,

    Please read number 1.

    The military takes a survey every yr. They ask the parishioners their religion, and currently it is Protestant, but if enough said Methodists, Lutheran, Baptist, etc. it would change the mass schedule.

    I am Vat.II, but as I said it is Catholic. There is no Vat II check mark in the questionnaire because the Catholic church does not recognize it. They ACKNOWLEDGE that Catholics feel a distinction, but as far as mass goes, we all read the same Gospel every Sunday, it is only the Homily/Sermon that varies because of the priest.

    Have you ever been in the avg base chapel?

    For Catholics, we have the Stations of the Cross. You will not see that at a base chapel. During Lent, it goes up Friday evening for Novena and comes down Friday night. (who pays for the elaborate stations?...Catholic church, not the DoD). There is no Advent candles during Xmas. There is no sink for the sacramental wine and water. It is sterile. There is also a wall or curtain to hide the crucifixes for other religions to use the space.

    You will see that they have rigged the altar where the Cross can be rotated/pivoted for each mass. The Catholic Cross is not the same as the Protestant.

    The Catholic Church has a Military Diocese. We do not tithe. The collection plate also goes into the Military diocese budget. Key word here is MILITARY.

    The parishioners on base ALWAYS have food baskets every week made for military members only. The dependent children bring up the food to the altar. Off base it goes to the town soup kitchen. On base it goes to those E3's with 2 kids qualifying for food stamps.

    Our DS getting married next May, has to pay 250 bucks to rent the church on base. He is forced to get married at 2:30, because that is the time slot allowed for Catholics, 3:30 for Protestants, and 6:30 for Judaism. He has to pay for the organist, the choir, etc.

    That money he is spending goes directly back to the base parishioners. It buys Thanksgiving Turkeys for parishioners. The Angel Tree is for military members and their dependents in need.

    The chapel always has a meeting center. They use it during the week for things like MOPS (Mothers of Protestants), where young Moms can meet and socialize while their children are given free day care in the same building.
    What cost are you truly saving if you got rid of the chapels?
    ~~~ How much does it cost to demolish a building?
    ~ Remember if you don't demolish it, the chapel is still a chapel, stain glass, pews, and altars.

    Your flaw in the argument, who ever said chapels are being built? Every base/post that exists right now have a chapel.

    Also, the military commissions chaplains, in the AF there is a Chaplain promotion board.

    Are you also saying when our military goes into combat that they should not have chaplains? Are you saying that if my DS, G forbid was injured in combat, he should not receive his last rights as a Catholic? Please understand for Catholics that is a big deal. It is a sacrament in our eyes, and there are only 7 sacraments.

    Not trying to attack or offend, but what I am reading is you are saying if a choice has to be made due to budget reasons, the Catholic member must chose between the military and their religion. I have never heard the Catholic Church say chose between your religion and the military. Please remember it is a MORTAL not Venial sin to KILL. Yet, on base, every week there is a Priest that performs the sacrament of communion to those that killed.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
  18. kar57

    kar57 Member

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    My personal "brush" with the government shutdown at Mass at the Naval Academy

    Just to clarify my personal "brush" with the government shutdown as it related to my attendance at a Catholic Mass at USNA this weekend:

    The 11:30 AM Catholic Mass in the small chapel (St. Andrew's - it's located in the basement of the much larger USNA Chapel) was definitely music-less and the "government shutdown" explanation was given by the priest during that regularly scheduled Mass in the little chapel. This past Sunday the little chapel was standing room only for that 11:30 Mass - midshipmen, officers, and civilians, and my family - there to worship at Mass as we always do in our respective parishes back home in Illinois, Michigan, Virginia, DC, Seattle, and Pearl Harbor. My family and I had converged on St. Andrew's this past weekend to attend Mass and the Baptism of my first grandchild immediately following the music-less Mass. The Baptism itself was short, attended only by our family and a handful of friends who are Marine Corps and Naval officers stationed in the area, and included only one very short song sung by my 6 week old granddaughter - it was beautiful in its own way and made all of us smile! :smile:


    Anyway, just wanted to clarify that the normal 11:30 AM Catholic Mass at USNA was music-less at St. Andrew's Chapel this past Sunday. Now that's not to say that during Mass in the basement there, I'd say about halfway through - noonish maybe - I could hear (muted, as through walls and floors) a full choir (midshipmen) and an organ (who was playing? I don't know) singing Eternal Father Strong to Save from the Main Chapel upstairs - it was the Protestant 11:00 service just ending. It was beautiful and very much appreciated by the Catholics in the basement chapel! We're all one family after all - all in the same boat... Amen!! And one more thing, there is a 9:00 AM Sunday Catholic Mass in the Main Chapel - we were not in attendance at that so I don't know for sure, but my guess is that it had music and a Catholic midshipmen choir!


    Oh, and one more thing, I can tell you that on Sunday morning when our family (which included the Michigan great-grandma in a wheelchair, the great uncle with Parkinson's, the new papa who hadn't seen his baby girl in several weeks, the new Mom and her baby girl who had flown from Honolulu, the other great aunts from Michigan and cousins - one who flew in the others drove, and the 13 hour drive people from Illinois including myself, DH my two sons with Downs) arrived on the Yard and when I saw that there was a priest going in to St. Andrew's at 11:25 AM - I breathed a major sigh of relief. Later, during Mass, when there was no music, not a big deal, at all! During the parts of that 11:30 Mass that were uncharacteristically silent, absent of music, I not only sang some unsung hymns in my head, but offered a quiet prayer of thanks for the officiant who was there! With him present everything worked out - the 6 months of preparation on my daughter and her husband's part (lots of paperwork and meetings with the "home parish" priest in Hawaii and scheduling the Baptism for a 3 day weekend to allow for really long flight times and the end of maternity leave) and the coordination of effort across many states (purchasing airline tickets, reserving hotel rooms, everyone arranging work, school, and duty schedules, preparing and arranging for the little reception luncheon off the Yard, blah blah blah) to convene somewhere at least somewhat accessible to family members and Godparents - IT ALL WORKED!!! And that most definitely was music to my ears!!! :yay:
     
  19. futuremarinemom

    futuremarinemom Member

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    Pima, I thought MOPS stood for Mothers of Preschoolers??? At least that's what their website says. I'm sure they wouldn't exclude a Catholic mom.
     
  20. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    LOL. When I was between marriages, a MOP was someone I encountered in a singles bar on a Friday night. Mom On Patrol.
     

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