Strengthen Catholic institutions to fight anti-Catholic bias, prof says at Red Mass
Catholic schools and institutions have been subject to legal attacks throughout U.S. history, Professor Nicole Garnett told those attending a banquet following the Red Mass Thursday, Sept. 8, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita.
Garnett said many religion-related cases related to the free exercise of religion are pending in federal courts. “So what are we to do as believers faced with the limits of the law in a culture that is increasingly skeptical, if not hostile to religion?” she asked.
“We must pray, of course. You must redouble your efforts to strengthen and sustain our Catholic institutions, especially Catholic schools, which began in the spirit of protest and have always served as an alternative to public schools hostile to our values,” she said.
Evangelize not apologize
“We must evangelize and we must not apologize for our beliefs. And sometimes, you must fight not just in courts, but in the courts of public opinion, in school boards, and state legislatures, insisting always upon and insisting respectfully upon respect for religious liberty and the rights of believers. And always, we must not lose hope.”
Garnett, a professor of law at the Notre Dame Law School, spoke to about 150 judges, lawyers, and others after the Red Mass at a banquet in Good Shepherd Hall.
She touched on a variety of topics including public funding for Catholic schools, parental choice, government overreach, anti-Catholicism in the law, and several U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
The Red Mass is celebrated annually in the Diocese of Wichita for all members of the legal profession.
Bishop Kemme welcomes all
Bishop Carl A. Kemme thanked and welcomed those who attended the Red Mass reminding them that the highest justice is what mankind owes to God, the creator. That is done each time the faithful gather for Mass, he said: “It is for this reason that in the preface of the Mass, we begin that beautiful prayer by saying, ‘it is right and just.’”
The bishop said no human being gave justice as thoroughly and completely to God as did our Blessed Mother, who was being honored at the Mass on Sept. 8, the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“Her birth has been called the dawning of salvation, the prelude to the greatest moment of human history: the incarnation, when in her womb God became flesh,” he said. “But well before that, she found favor with God, for so conformed was she to God’s will, that she lived completely without sin. Immaculately conceived, she lived always in the Father’s presence.”
Mary was also a ‘first’
She was a simple, devout Jew who was steeped in the Torah, Bishop Kemme said. “When in the fullness of time she was visited by the angel Gabriel, who announced to her all that God had planned, she responded with a simple, but complete ‘fiat,’ let it be done to me as you have said.”
She then gave birth to God’s son, he said, and with the help of her most chase spouse, Joseph, she would raise Jesus and devote her life to his life as the Lord’s most faithful disciple.
“For all of this, she was raised body and soul into heaven and crowned queen and new and eternal mother of the all living. She is the model, then, of true justice,” Bishop Kemme said.
He urged all those at the Red Mass to entrust their civic responsibilities to Mary’s intercession and to ask that she inspire them to serve as she did: humbly, obediently, faithfully, and lovingly.
“For yours is a most noble task to bring about in our society and among all our citizens a greater understanding and adherence to justice that is commutative, legal, and distributive,” the bishop said. “Through the intercession then of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose own birth is the prelude of the birth of the Son of Justice, may God prosper the work of your hands.”