I am very disturbed because the Obama administration sees fit to stop Catholic Mass, baptisms, etc if they are performed by contract Catholic priests in the military, Even though these priests are willing to perform these functions without pay, the federal government has threatened them with arrest if they offer the sacraments. Active duty military priests can still offer the sacraments, so it is not a case of the worship facilities being closed by the shutdown.
I wrote to my senator, Tim Kaine about this. This is my letter:
The government shut down is supposed to happen because we cannot pay bills. It is not supposed to be political posturing to selectively shut down that which will inflict the most pain on the American people. This is an opportunity to look at every expenditure and evaluate if we need it or not. Shutting down parks that generate revenue and barricading monuments that are normally open without supervision is insane.
Now the Obama administration is forbidding contract priests to say Mass.http://www.catholicvote.org/military-priests-face-arrest-for-celebrating-mass-in-defiance-of-shutdown/ As a Catholic, you should know that Catholic priests do not charge to offer the sacraments and would be willing to say Mass without pay. In the linked article, you can see that the Archdiocese of the Military reports that a couple was not allowed to use a contract priest for their wedding even though this priest had done all of their marriage preparation. My daughter just got married on August 10 and it would have been devastating if the priest who had bonded with her and her new husband had been prevented from saying the wedding Mass. How dare President Obama and the Democrats insert themselves into the sacramental lives of Catholics!
Fund the non-controversial aspects of the government. Do your job. Use reasoned arguments instead of political hyperbole to work through the gridlock. Failure to do so shows that your interest is in your own power and not in doing what is good for the country.
I received a response from Senator Kaine:
Thank you for contacting me.Note that the website that collects input from constituents is functionally shut down because it is considered "non-essential" by Senator Kaine. However, I am directed to the website that keeps his name and picture front and center and features his political grandstanding. Senator Kaine thinks it is essential to keep that up and running during the shut down. Let's me know exactly where I stand.
Unfortunately, a lapse in funding has required the nonessential operations of the federal government to temporarily close. I will be unable to respond to your message until the situation is resolved.
As we continue to discuss and debate the many significant challenges facing our Commonwealth and country, I do appreciate you taking time to contact me. Hearing from Virginians helps me better understand my constituents and the issues facing them.
I encourage you to visit my website at www.kaine.senate.gov for regular updates about my activities, as well as my positions on issues that are important to Virginia and our nation.
Thank you again for contacting me.