Judges and lawyers turn out for Red Mass

by GEORGE RICHERT
Wed, Sep 28th 2016 03:00 pm
Dozens of judges and lawyers attended the annual Red Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral, Wednesday, sponsored by the St. Thomas More Guild.
Dozens of judges and lawyers attended the annual Red Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral, Wednesday, sponsored by the St. Thomas More Guild.

"I have personally seen the difference that committed Catholic lawyers can make in confronting big societal challenges," said Bishop Richard J. Malone to dozens of judges and lawyers gathered Wednesday at the annual Red Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral.

 The Red Mass dates back to the 13th century when it officially opened the session of the court for most European countries.  It is named for the color of the vestments, signifying the fire of the Holy Spirit's guidance and strength for those entrusted with the responsibility of the legal and judicial systems. 

 "The Red Mass really is all about asking God's blessing upon each of you in your work in the law," said Bishop Malone." It is also our opportunity to thank you because your work promotes the common good and your work helps to maintain or restore good order and tend to people's rights."

 Bishop Malone also asked those in attendance to pay special attention to two looming issues;  physician- assisted suicide, which the Church opposes,  and religious liberty, which the Church is fighting to preserve. Bishop Malone serves on the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

 In what has become an annual tradition in Western New York, the Red Mass is sponsored by the St. Thomas More Guild, an organization for Catholic lawyers in the Diocese of Buffalo. "Saint Thomas More was both a lawyer and a Catholic Christian," said Honorable Lawrence Vilardo, United States District Court Judge for the Western District of New York. "He saw our law as different from God's but, at the same time, protected justice and the poor and the unpopular in the way that God's Word teaches."

 "Difficult as it may be, reconciling one's life as a lawyer, and reconciling one's life as a Catholic Christian is not impossible, " said Vilardo, in closing remarks. "In fact, Jesus himself gave us a clue about that when he said 'render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's'. Practicing law isn't easy. Neither is being a Christian and trying to do both at the same time is pretty daunting, but it's not impossible if we go about our business mindful of the principals that belong to both the legal and the Christian traditions: truth, justice, civility, respect for all women and men."

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