A prohibition on U.S. Navy personnel attending indoor religious services off base is “particularly odious to Catholics,” according to the Archbishop for the Military Services.
Archbishop Timothy Broglio was responding to reports that some commands of the U.S. Navy have required service members to sign that they have received the orders on the prohibition, meaning that those who disobey will be held accountable. The orders also add that “civilian personnel, including families, are discouraged from” indoor church services, as well.
The orders were made in an effort to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Broglio said the orders are “particularly odious to Catholics, because frequently there is no longer a Catholic program on naval installations due to budgetary constraints or many installation chapels are still closed — even though many of them could well ensure appropriate social distancing.”
The archbishop said that after receiving this information, he immediately contacted the Navy Chief of Chaplains’ Office, which told him they have been unable to offer any relief from these provisions. Broglio added that his attempt to contact the Chief of Naval Operations has not even been acknowledged.
“Of course, the Navy cannot legally prohibit family members from frequenting religious services off base. Those family members return home where the military member lives. What is the protective effect of the prohibition for the Navy personnel? Zero,” he said.
“Participation in the Sunday Eucharist is life blood for Catholics. It is the source and summit of our lives and allows us to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord. Certainly, the Navy personnel who fall under this restriction are dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass, because no one can be required to do what is impossible,” the archbishop continued….
The above was taken from a July 6 story on the Crux website.