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Cruel Twist in Government Shutdown for Navy Yard Shooting Survivors

No money for religion.

Religious services canceled at Navy Yard, scene of mass shooting. (Patch file photo by Rachel Hatzipanagos.)
Religious services canceled at Navy Yard, scene of mass shooting. (Patch file photo by Rachel Hatzipanagos.)
By Todd Richissin and Mary Stachyra Lopez

The government shutdown apparently does not discriminate based on compassion, as survivors of last month's Navy Yard shooting now know. Catholic Masses on the installation have been canceled because it has no priests to minister.

The military relies heavily on contractors to lead religious services, especially for Catholics, who make up approximately 25 percent of the armed services but only 8 percent of its chaplain corp.

Translated: About 275,000 men and women in uniform, and their families, are served by only 234 active-duty priests. Any religions that do not have an active-duty minister, or are able to work out alternative sources of funding, will not be able to have services on base. 

"Navy Yard is not able to have services," said Taylor Henry, spokesman for the Archdiocese for the Military Services. "Services have been moved to Bolling."

Navy Yard does have an active-duty priest, but the priest at Anacostia-Bolling was furloughed. The priest moved Sunday services to Anacostia-Bolling because it has the larger chapel, leaving nobody to say Mass at Navy Yard. 

The Washington Navy Yard, where many military work, was the scene of a mass shooting last month, which killed 12 people.

The inability to find funding to continue services hasn't been taken kneeling down. 

John Schlageter, general counsel for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, published a piece Thursday on the organization's web site, referring to the annual Army-Navy football game, which was scheduled to be played as usual Saturday.

"At a time when the military is considering alternative sources of funding for sporting events at the service academies, no one seems to be looking for funding to ensure the Free Exercise rights of Catholics in uniform," he wrote. "Why not?"
Gene Shumaker October 04, 2013 at 04:17 PM
They could use a church in the city. Or do the catholic churchs have a problem with that or want $$$$$$$$ to hold mass....
Juda Farmer October 04, 2013 at 04:24 PM
Are you kidding me? Isnt this starting to get a little stupid? Its the President and Congress/Senate who are shutting it down, let them go without pay, before you close cemeteries and churches. Dem/Repub all need to go.
Patrick Crowley October 04, 2013 at 06:57 PM
That's the Barry "the barracks" Obama administration for you! Kicking the Catholic Church out of every aspect of the lives of the armed services personnel.
Tim F October 04, 2013 at 09:06 PM
Maybe Barry wants an Islamic service
Bob English October 04, 2013 at 11:24 PM
Dont blama Obama. It was the Tea Party idiots that shut down the govt and now refuse to allow a vote in the House on the Senate CR that would pass and end the shutdown . They sound like horses asses when they were giddy about shutting the govt down and now express outrage when everyone sees all of the hardship that has been caused by their actions.
Bob October 05, 2013 at 04:54 AM
Thank you Harry Reid and president obummer. You built this shutdown and it's all yours, dummies
luis cabrera October 05, 2013 at 08:13 AM
They need to have a Muslim service instead !
luis cabrera October 05, 2013 at 08:14 AM
You can't say Shut Down without first putting Obomers name on it !
Carolyn October 05, 2013 at 09:13 AM
so get another priest and have church in someone's house if you must but don't act like they are taking away freedom of religion
Jean Dondelinger October 05, 2013 at 09:30 AM
As a Catholic, I am shocked that a priest would not come and do the service without pay. I am thinking it has to do with making a point rather than a priest would or could not do the service. Perhaps because it is a military chapel they could not open the chapel for services due to the government shut down. I can only imagine what Pope Francis is thinking because he certainly would not endorse not doing the service. As Carolyn said, get another priest and have it at someone's house. I believe it is the principle of the issues with government shut down, because my husband is working without pay as a DoD employee and he has not walked out on his job. God Bless America and save us from all evil.
DONNY3666 October 05, 2013 at 10:06 AM
Are the coaches of Army and Navy getting paid?
Bob English October 05, 2013 at 10:12 AM
Amazing how the TP nuts that shut down the govt and then actually bragged about it are the first ones to start complaining about the consequences of their actions. Maybe there should have thought about that prior to their irresponsible actions!!! How about the jerk congressman from Texas who voted to shut down the govt and then goes over to the WW II Memorial and berates a female park ranger who was trying to do her job, telling her she should be ashamed??? The moron TP Congressman should look in the mirror. This could end in 5 minutes if the Speaker would allow a vote on the Senate CR which already passed the Senate and would be signed by the President. That would pass the House so the fault (for the shutdown continuing) is 100% on the Speaker and House Republicans who are afraid to stand up to the TP who will not allow a vote.
Kyle October 05, 2013 at 10:13 AM
That will show those evil Christians not to mess with the Muslim in Charge!
Carolyn October 05, 2013 at 10:25 AM
The GOP are having second thoughts about it now and are now trying to improve their image too late
Deep Throat October 05, 2013 at 10:30 AM
Let's close the church but fund the football teams. What a bunch of idiots. I'ts all about the money, football brings in more money then the collection plate I guess.
Art Tafil October 05, 2013 at 10:49 AM
Bob English is obviously a die hard DemoCRAPS and The HNIC fan. He may also be one of the system leeches that are worried about their "bennies" being jeopardized. This abortion called business as usual and spend and borrow needs to end NOW! There will be pain for all but this great nation cannot continue on its current course. Republican spending is just as much at fault as the current Democrats. It's just that Pelosi, Reid and the other power mad Demos are spending like drunken sailors on shore leave after a long cruise, (no offense intended to our naval personnel).
Ginger Naylor October 05, 2013 at 10:56 AM
The catholic Priests also had a place to stay there -- they had to VACATE the premises and move elsewhere -- there is no ELSEWHERE for them to move that's near-by!
Robert Pearson October 05, 2013 at 10:59 AM
Thsi administration needs to be spanked like a spoiled child.. because they are acting as one..
BassGreat October 05, 2013 at 11:11 AM
Now God is mad!! The Republicans are probably going to be walking around the wilderness for sometime. There''ll be much gnashing of teeth. Eben more than they're already doing. Glory be!!
nonoise October 05, 2013 at 07:37 PM
Gene had it right. It is all about the benjamins $$$. Let them go to church and not have to get paid for it. Maybe the priest can go to a homeless shelter and see how that feels for a change. They need to stop being greedy!
Terence Gillespie October 06, 2013 at 10:29 AM
Aw. What a stinkin' crime. No catholic services.
nonoise October 06, 2013 at 03:04 PM
Shut down on child molestations. Maybe this government shutdown can have a positive effect.
Dave Larkin October 06, 2013 at 06:26 PM
Now we know for sure Obama is a heathen or a Muslim.
Jose October 06, 2013 at 11:57 PM
There is no end to obama's filthy tricks. Obama's a muslin so it makes sense that he couldn't care about Catholics. He also hates all Christians and Jews. His muslim law says that he must kill all non muslims. Obama has taken on the biggest task of all which comprises of starting a civil war between either the whites and blacks, the muslims and the Christians and Jews, and the republicans and the democrats. He's looking for anything that will ignite Americans killing Americans, that's how he wins. Obama is the devil at work. With this shutdown he will drive prices of everything sky high. Soon you won't have enough money to eat, pay rent, buy gas and keep warm. This winter should prove to be his finest hour. See the trouble he can cause at the drop of a hat. Do you think he cares about the democrats or the people that voted for him? He's keeping medicine from child cancer patients. Anyone that sides with obama is denying the kids medicine as well. This crap he's pulling has gone way to far, he needs to be punished and he will by the man upstairs.
Bob English October 07, 2013 at 04:18 PM
There are Muslim men and women serving in the United States Military and in police and fire departments. Maybe all of the religious bigots here should think about that before making any more of your nutty posts.
Bob English October 07, 2013 at 04:20 PM
@Art...dont make any more stupid misinformed remarks about people you dont know. I dont get a penny from the govt.
jack london October 08, 2013 at 11:14 PM
For everybody with opinion about who is at fault - this is about members of the military who want to go to Mass on the base. It's not about Obama or Catholic priests or scandals or Muslims. Why don't you try resetting your opinion priorities.
nonoise October 09, 2013 at 11:18 AM
It is about the priest and Catholic church. Why don't they work for free?? Why don't they reconsider their priorities?
David H. Mirsky October 09, 2013 at 12:41 PM
President Obama has worked actively in favor of religious tolerance, as any US President should. People of all faiths are entitled to the freedom to practice their religions in America, which is a foundation of Our Constitution as set forth in the First Amendment. If you don't like that, move somewhere else.

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