Catholic Mass dodges shutdown at Fort Gordon

Worship, 1; government shutdown, 0.

 

Mass will go on as scheduled this weekend at Fort Gordon, after a complaint by John Schlageter, the general counsel of the Catholic Archdiocese for Military Services.

Schlageter reported that non-active-duty Catholic priests had been ordered not to work – or even volunteer – on posts such as Fort Gordon for the duration of the shutdown, making it impossible for service members at some places to attend Mass.

That led the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a resolution last week calling on Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to allow religious services on bases during the government shutdown.

“There’s no immediate crisis at Fort Gordon,” post spokesman J.C. Mathews said Wednesday. “There was no issue last week, and there will be no issue this week.”

The military has 234 active-duty priests to serve about 275,000 Catholics. The shortage led the federal government to contract with other priests to fill in the gaps at bases around the world.

Fort Gordon has one active-duty priest and one contracted chaplain to substitute in his absence.

Mathews said the post is working to find a solution before it is faced with a possible interruption in service.

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