Catholic Mass Will Continue at San Diego Navy Bases

Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, was pleased with the decision to continue Masses at San Diego Navy bases.

USS Midway was an aircraft carrier of the United States Navy, the lead ship of its class. Commissioned a week after the end of World War II it is now a museum ship in San Diego.
USS Midway was an aircraft carrier of the United States Navy, the lead ship of its class. Commissioned a week after the end of World War II it is now a museum ship in San Diego. (photo: Shutterstock / Shutterstock)

WASHINGTON — Mass has returned to three Naval bases in the San Diego area after the U.S. Navy reversed a decision to end contracts with civilian priests as a cost-saving measure.

“Contrary to previous discussions, this year we will continue contracted religious ministry programs and services similar to what we’ve had in place previously,” said Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar, the commander of Navy Region Southwest, in a statement published the evening of Sept. 8 in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

“We will also continue to assess how best to meet the needs of our Sailors and their families throughout the region,” said Bolivar.

Previously, three Navy bases were left without a priest after the Navy announced that contracts with civilian priests would not be renewed.

The three bases are served by civilian Catholic priests as there are not enough Catholic chaplains in the Navy to handle the spiritual needs of Catholics assigned to them.

Catholics make up nearly 20% of the U.S. military, but a much smaller percentage of the military’s chaplain corps. U.S. military recruiters and the Archdiocese for the Military Services have made efforts to recruit priests to serve as active duty or reserve chaplains in U.S. military branches. Chaplains are commissioned military officers classified as non-combatants.

Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, was pleased with the decision to continue Masses at San Diego Navy bases.

“Catholics in the Navy and everywhere in this Country rejoice in the decision by the US Navy to reconsider closing the thriving Catholic programs at naval stations in California,” he told CNA Wednesday morning.

Archbishop Broglio had been working with the Navy to keep the contracts in place, and previously told CNA that the savings amounted from the canceled contracts would only amount to $250,000.

“I am deeply grateful to everyone who lent their support and encouragement to maintaining these programs. In a particular way, I am grateful to the Navy Chief of Chaplains and his staff, as well as, Navy Southwest for their consideration and effort,” Archbishop Broglio said.

Navy Chaplain Controversy, Catholic Vote (Sept. 19, 2020)

With the 2020 election less than 50 days away, the Trump and Biden campaigns have been appealing to communities of faith — including Catholics — by highlighting issues they believe will resonate with religious voters. This week on Register Radio we talk to Register correspondent Lauretta Brown about the outreach of both campaigns to the Catholic vote. And then, we hear from Jonathan Liedl about the controversy over the Navy and the chaplain corps that raises questions about religious liberty in the armed forces.