The boys and I attended this morning's "Red Mass" at Holy Trinity Church in downtown Shreveport. Edward Cardinal Egan, from New York was the main celebrant. It was a very nice service. From up in the choir loft, we had a very nice view, but it was very warm... the water was in a locked cabinet, so we just had to wish and wait...
The prelude music was provided by a choir from a local Baptist
church... while it was very nice, it was so loud as to be almost
puzzled as to why we had a guest choir at a Catholic Mass from a Baptist church, but that was explained later on... apparently this was supposed to be in some way an ecumenical service. The local St. Cecilia choir sang for the Mass music.
At the end of the Mass, just before the final blessing, visiting protestant ministers were given the opportunity to say a short prayer... a couple of them must not have realized it was only supposed to be a short prayer and we were treated with a couple
of protestant-flavor sermons. As we were up in the hot choir loft fanning ourselves at the end of this almost 2-hour Mass, we weren't as appreciative of their words of wisdom as we might have been otherwise.
I quite enjoyed the homily given by Cardinal Egan. It had a very pro-life message throughout -- both in support of the unborn and for death penalty convicts. He spoke of the wonders of modern medicine in the unlocking of the mystery of babies in the womb and also of the great benefits to justice made possible by the DNA analysis now available to us. He spoke of those who have been wrongly convicted who have later been cleared of crimes because of the new technologies available to us in law enforcement.
As I have grown older, I am less in favor of the death penalty than I was as a younger person. I think, at least here in our country, we have the means to separate dangerous criminals from the rest of society for the rest of their natural lives without killing them. And, with the high cost of appeals and more appeals in death-penalty cases, I don't believe one could even argue that it is a higher cost to society in any practical way to keep them in prison for life. As Christians, we also hope that, perhaps, additional time to reflect on their misdeeds will also give them a chance to repent and maybe save their souls.
A few local news reports...
From My Bossier:
Edward Cardinal Egan, the Archbishop of New York, presided over a Red Mass today at Holy Trinity Church in Shreveport. The last Cardinal to visit Shreveport was Cardinal Cushing of Boston in 1968.
The Red Mass, held for the legal profession, was attended by most area attorneys and judges, as well as ministers of other faiths and members of the lay public.
Egan presided over the Mass, and also served as its principal celebrant.
Describing the law as “a splendid calling” and contrasting that with the view of it as a profession, he said people must be inclined to “love the law and embrace it,” just as they must discharge it “so civilization may progress in a manner worthy of the children of God.”
Shreve Talk reported:
"There is nothing more precious than the life of a human being," said His Eminence Edward Cardinal Egan, the Archbishop of New York, at the 16th Annual Red Mass held today at Holy Trinty Catholic Church in Shreveport, Louisiana. Cardinal Egan delivered his homily, which included a meassage not only supporting the right to life, but challenging the death penalty where many innocent persons have been cleared by DNA tests.