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US military archbishop laments Navy decision to end Masses at San Diego bases

The Archdiocese of the Military Services, USA is hoping the U.S. Navy will reconsider its decision to terminate its contracts with Catholic priests in the San Diego area as a cost-saving measure.

“For some time now, Archbishop Timothy Broglio has been engaged with the Navy Chief of Chaplains and has been trying to meet with those responsible for the decision,” a spokesperson for the archdiocese told CNA Sept. 8.

“The savings from cancelling these contracts amounts to $250,000,” said the spokesperson, which is “approximately 0.000156% of the Navy budget.”

With the move not to renew contracts with non-military Catholic priests, Catholics living at Naval Base Coronado, NSA Monterey, and Naval Base Ventura County will be left with no priest to celebrate Mass on-base. The priests were notified in mid-August that they would not have their contracts renewed.

Priests assigned to overseas bases and ships will keep their roles, and priests under contract at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake and Marine Corps Recruit Depot will continue to celebrate Mass on-base as there is no off-base option for Mass.

The Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, questioned the move to end the contracts given the number of Catholic serving in the Navy.

“It is difficult to fathom how the First Amendment rights of the largest faith group in the Navy can be compromised for such an insignificant sum. The Archbishop hopes that the Navy will reconsider the decision,” said the statement.

Read more at Catholic News Agency

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