Justices attend annual Red Mass

By Chris Rizo | Oct 5, 2008

Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline)- Five members of the U.S. Supreme Court were among those who on Sunday attended the annual Red Mass, held the day before the nation's highest court begins its fall term.

Four of the five Roman Catholics on the Supreme Court - Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas - attended the Mass presided over by Cardinal John Patrick Foley, a Vatican official.

Associate Justice Samuel Alito did not attend the Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, who is Jewish, joined his colleagues for the service.

The Red Mass -- intended to bless judges, lawyers, prosecutors and government officials in the administration of justice -- dates back centuries.

At the service, Cardinal Foley told the District of Columbia's legal community that before entering seminary he considered going to law school. He said lawyers and priests see the law "as a means in which people can be educated to perceive what is good and to strive for it."

The Red Mass in Washington is sponsored by the John Carroll Society. The chief justice's wife Jane Roberts is listed as a member of the group's board of governors.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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