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Bishop celebrates Red Mass for lawmakers

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first_imgYesterday was a red-letter day, as members of the University community, particularly, the law school community, celebrated the traditional Red Mass in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend presided over this year’s iteration of the annual Red Mass. He said the Mass is a long-standing Church tradition that invokes the aid of the Holy Spirit for people in law-related vocations. “The Red Mass is a tradition that goes back to the Middle Ages, the 13th century,” Rhoades said. “It is called ‘red’ because the priest or bishop wears red vestments, red being the color of the Holy Spirit. The purpose is asking God’s blessing and guidance on those in the legal profession.” Rhoades said each year, the Red Mass and his homily are dedicated to a specific topic relevant for Catholics in the legal profession and civic office. “Last year I talked about the injustice of the [Health and Human Services] mandate and religious freedom,” he said. “This year, the topic is the meaning of freedom and what a culture of freedom is. True freedom is rooted in moral truth.” The Red Mass is celebrated worldwide each October, Rhoades said. He said he presides over two Red Masses each year, one in Fort Wayne and one in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. This year’s Mass was his fourth at Notre Dame. Red Masses often attract prominent members of the legal profession and politicians, Rhoades said. Me`mbers of the United States Supreme Court attended the Red Mass held in Washington, D.C., this past week, and the governor of Pennsylvania used to attend the Red Masses over which Rhoades presided when he was Bishop of Harrisburg, Pa., from 2004 to 2009. Rhoades said various judges, lawyers and civic officials from the area joined professors, law students and undergraduate students in the Basilica for yesterday’s Red Mass.  His homily focused on current world issues relevant to the topic, as well as the teachings of St. Thomas More, patron saint of lawyers and statesmen, and the “rich teaching of soon-to-be St. John Paul II.” More serves as a powerful example of a faithful lawyer whose dedication to truth serves as an example for Catholics in the legal profession, Rhoades said. More died defending the freedom Rhoades spoke of in his homily. “More’s faithfulness to the truth led to his being beheaded,” Rhoades said. “He was really a martyr of freedom and conscience.” Rhoades said he referenced the writings of Blessed John Paul II in his homily because the late pope had a great deal to say about freedom and truth. “He wrote on this theme quite a bit, and I have reflected often on his teachings,” Rhoades said. “He taught that freedom can lead to a lot of trouble if not rooted in moral truth.” Rhoades said he values the Mass as a chance to meet, advise and pray for the Notre Dame Law community. “[The Red Mass] gives me an opportunity to meet law students and law professors, and to encourage them in living their faith in their profession,” he said. “There are excellent scholars here who help the Church, so it’s good to come here and pray for them.” Notre Dame’s Red Mass has always been sponsored by the Law School, but last year the political science department joined in, and this year the constitutional studies minor has followed suit, Rhoades said.  It’s been a positive development in the last year,” he said. In his homily, Rhoades said he believes the current and future leaders of law and civil service in attendance can work to ensure moral truth is part of a shared notion of freedom in the United States. “You can help to rebuild the moral foundations of a genuine culture of freedom,” he said. “I believe the future of our nation depends on a culture that adheres to the moral truths and values without which our democracy is imperiled.” Contact Christian Myers at cmyers8@nd.edulast_img

Deion Sanders’ Pro Football Hall of Fame snobbery does not justify so much snubbery

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first_imgThis was a terribly arrogant statement, so of course it wasn’t much of a stretch for Deion Sanders. This has been his way for as long as we’ve known him. And mostly, it has been an endearing quality.He is a big enough deal that it has been decades since anyone really needed to employ his last name. This is how extraordinary he was at what he did. He was among the most magnificent athletes any of us will ever see. So perhaps there should be a museum to honor just him. Despite the Hall voters’ apparent indifference to the encompassing greatness of former Steelers wideout Hines Ward, they have done a proficient job honoring the best players in the game’s history. Those who know the game are rarely going to look through a class and wonder how a particular player got in; the arguments generally are more about who is missing.We are still waiting for Ken Anderson, Jim Marshall and Pat Swilling.Perhaps if their names were Tom Anderson, Dick Marshall and Harry Swilling, they’d be in. The Pro Football Hall of Fame, however, exists as a tribute to those who engage in the ultimate team game. Many who have been enshrined there never came close to scoring a touchdown or recording any statistics that offer evidence of their greatness. They put their bodies on the line to assure others could do these things, to advance the attempts of their teams to win.MORE: Is Eli Manning a Hall of Famer?So imagine how some of them must have felt when they learned that Deion had gone on the radio, on a program as widely distributed as “The Dan Patrick Show,” and declared the Pro Football Hall of Fame had opened its doors to too many players who did not meet his own personal standard of excellence.How many of them wondered if they were among those players whom Sanders did not view as fit for tribute? Lawrence Taylor surely did not. Or Ronnie Lott. Or Randy Moss. Goodness knows where the line is drawn, though.”What is a Hall of Famer now? Is it a guy who played a long time?” Sanders said to Patrick and his audience. “It’s so skewed now. Once upon a time, a Hall of Famer was a player who changed the darn game, who made you want to reach in your pocket and pay your admission to see that guy play. That’s not a Hall of Famer anymore.”Every Tom, Dick and Harry, you’re a Hall of Famer, you’re a Hall of Famer, you’re a Hall of Famer. They let everybody in this thing. It’s not exclusive anymore. And I don’t like it.”Which of the recent Hall honorees are we to consider a Tom, Dick or Harry? Is he speaking of the late Tommy Nobis, the terrorizing Falcons linebacker who made the Pro Bowl five times and was a member of the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 1960s? Does he mean Dick LeBeau, who still ranks 10th in career interceptions despite playing in the 1960s, when teams passed the ball about half as often? Or perhaps Harry Carson, who won a Super Bowl with the Giants in 1988 and was selected to the Pro Bowl nine times?Sanders is not the first to make a charge such as this in debating Hall of Fame worthiness. It is common among sportswriters, sports talk hosts or fans. It is one thing to hear such conversation from those never tested in this particular crucible. It is another to encounter it from someone who has reached the destination to which many rightfully and reasonably aspire.The Pro Football Hall of Fame began inducting the game’s legends in 1963. Through 56 classes, it has honored 326 men from among the thousands who were engaged in NFL competition across its century of existence.That does not really seem like a lot. If you do the math on this, football’s collection of enshrined greats is not out of proportion, not in the least.MORE: Bill Cowher learns on live TV he’s going to Hall of FameBaseball began inducting Hall of Famers in 1936 and has honored 257 players. Since the first class to enter the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, there have been 142 former NBA and ABA players selected.OK, football has more in its hall. Consider, though, that a football team comprises 22 full-time contestants to function properly at the highest level. The sport has been played in this manner, with offensive and defensive specialists, for more than half of the league’s history. That’s more than twice as many athletes as are necessary for a baseball team to do business, and more than four times as many as take the court for a basketball team.As well, there are more defined and specific duties required in football. The importance of a right fielder or left fielder is judged primarily in the same manner: how many hits the player accumulated, how many of those provided power, how efficient the player was, and lately, what his WAR number might be.Comparing a right guard to a strong safety is a far greater challenge, and yet each is indispensable to the team’s success.last_img read more