Skip to main content
Toggle Banner
You can make an impact in the fight for reproductive freedom.

Catholics for Choice Denounces Annual Anti-Choice Red Mass

September 30, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, September 30, 2022
Contact: John Becker, Press Secretary
Phone: 202-203-0931

Catholics for Choice Denounces Annual Anti-Choice Red Mass
Annual “celebration of the legal profession” honoring the Supreme Court occurs this Sunday

WASHINGTON — This Sunday, October 2, Washington Archbishop Cardinal Wilton Gregory will honor justices of the Supreme Court and other members of the legal profession by celebrating the “Red Mass.” This Mass is a longstanding Catholic tradition dating back to the Middle Ages, but the D.C. Red Mass — now the most high-profile in the country — is held annually at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle on the Sunday before the start of each new Supreme Court term.

In anticipation of this event, Catholics for Choice President Jamie L. Manson, M.Div. issued the following statement denouncing the Red Mass as a prime example of religious overreach:

“The Red Mass is a prime example of the Catholic church’s overreach in the courts and in federal and state legislation. For decades, the hierarchy has pressured judges, legislators, and Supreme Court justices to enact heinous policies banning abortion, attacking LGBTQIA+ people, restricting the Affordable Care Act, and rebranding legalized discrimination as ‘religious liberty.’ What could have once been billed as a nonpartisan, multi-faith event drawing in justices and elected officials, regardless of party identification or religious tradition, is now a sham. But don’t just take it from me — late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg even said, ‘I went one year, and I will never go again, because this sermon was outrageously anti-abortion.’

“This Sunday, members of the Catholic-dominated Supreme Court that overturned Roe v. Wade will sit alongside the prelates who have spent millions of dollars bankrolling anti-abortion efforts at all levels of government. But these anti-choice justices and clerics are out of touch with the reality of those they supposedly serve. I will remind them that 1 in 4 abortion patients in this country identifies as Catholic, and 68% of Catholics did not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned.

“The bishops have tried, through shame and punishment, to pretend pro-choice Catholics don’t exist and snuff out honest dialogue about abortion inside the church. But rather than piously hiding behind church walls congratulating themselves, I challenge all those present at the Red Mass to listen to Pope Francis’ call to encounter and engage with the people of God living in the real world. Catholic clergy must reckon with the untold suffering they’ve unleashed against the bodies of women and pregnant people, especially after the disastrous Dobbs decision.

“Catholics for Choice will say our own prayers — for all those who’ve been harmed by the bishops’ cruelty. We also pray for the anti-abortion hierarchy and ask God to transform their hearts and open their eyes to the consequences of their decades-long crusade against abortion rights. America’s faithful pro-choice Catholic majority cannot be silenced and will not be silent.”

Catholics for Choice shapes and advances sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflect a commitment to a person’s well-being and respect, and affirm the capacity of all people to make moral decisions about their lives.