The House voted to award back pay to furloughed government workers, which the president is expected to sign, and Chuck Hagel announced over the weekend that civilian Department of Defense employees are coming back to work today. The Catholic Church’s US military archdiocese, though, says its priests haven’t even been welcome to volunteer their service.
In a stunning development, some military priests are facing arrest if they celebrate mass or practice their faith on military bases during the federal government shutdown.
“With the government shutdown, many [government service] and contract priests who minister to Catholics on military bases worldwide are not permitted to work – not even to volunteer,” wrote John Schlageter, the general counsel for the Archdiocese for the Military Services USA, in an op-ed this week. “During the shutdown, it is illegal for them to minister on base and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so.”