Four Supreme Court justices attend Red Mass in Washington

.- Four Supreme Court justices attended the annual Red Mass, which is traditionally held each autumn to mark the beginning of the court’s new term and draws members of the legal community, Presidential Cabinet members, and occasionaly the President himself.

Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington presided at yesterday’s Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, where the Red Mass has been held since 1952.

Four of the five Catholic Supreme Court justices — Chief Justice John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas — attended, reported The Associated Press. Justice Samuel Alito did not attend.

“Morality and ethical considerations cannot be divorced from their religious antecedents. What we do and how we act, our morals and ethics, follow on what we believe,” the archbishop said in his homily. “The religious convictions of a people sustain their moral decisions.”

Faith and politics are distinct, yet interrelated, he continued, citing Pope Benedict’s Deus Caritas Est.

“Politics and faith are mingled because believers are also citizens. Both Church and state are home for the same people,” he stated.

Also present were members of President George Bush's Cabinet — including Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson — foreign ambassadors and members of the capital's legal community, reported the AP.

The Red Mass dates to 13th century and is conducted to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance for those who seek justice. It takes its name from the red vestments, symbolizing the Holy Spirit, worn by the celebrants. 

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