Priest Banned from Saying Mass on Naval Base Sues Dept. of Defense

Posted: Oct 15, 2013 2:45 PM

I wrote on October 9th that Catholics at the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay were unable to attend Mass due to the fact that the government literally locked them out of the chapel. Fr. Ray Leonard, the priest contracted to Kings Bay, is now suing the Department of Defense, claiming that his First Amendment rights are being infringed upon.

While the base is about eight miles away from the nearest Catholic church, many people on base do not own a car and there is no public transit access to the church. Furthermore, when Fr. Leonard offered to say Mass for free, he was told he could be arrested.

Fr. Leonard, in addition to not being allowed into the chapel on base, also was not allowed to access Holy Eucharist, Holy water, hymnals, or vessels.

Marriage, CCD, and confirmation classes were also canceled. Protestant services in the chapel were allowed to continue without any threat of penalty.

This is infuriating. This is an obvious violation of freedom of speech, religion, and assembly. The chapel should be opened and Catholics on base should be free to attend Mass.