by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The pro-life response to an entrenched abortion mentality in society requires “an elevation and intensification of educational, pastoral and advocacy efforts” as well as prayer, said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann at the annual Red Mass.
The Mass was celebrated on Oct. 6 at St. Thomas More Parish in Kansas City, Missouri. The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph alternate hosting the Mass.
It was celebrated for the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Kansas City, which draws its members from the Greater Kansas City area. Traditionally, the Red Mass is for judges, lawyers, law school deans and professors, students and current political office holders.
Approximately 100 people attended the Red Mass. The fourth-degree Knights of Columbus provided a color guard.
The Red Mass is one of the “color” Masses, along with the “Blue” Mass for those in public safety, “White” Mass for those in medical professions and “Gold” Mass for those in the sciences.
The tradition of the Red Mass goes back to 13th-century Europe, celebrated as a solemn votive Mass in honor of the Holy Spirit at the opening of the judicial year. The first documented Red Mass was in 1245 in Paris, but also in 1310 in London and in Rome, where it marked the opening of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota (the supreme judicial body of the Catholic Church).
Because red is the color associated with the Holy Spirit and thus the vest-ments of the clergy for the Mass, as well as the color of judicial robes, it became known as the Red Mass.
The main celebrant was Bishop James V. Johnston Jr. of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. The homilist was Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. Concelebrants were Father Kenneth A. Riley and Father Charles Rowe of the diocese.
Assisting were Deacon Ralph Joseph McNeal of the diocese and Deacon John Weist of the archdiocese.
In his homily, Archbishop Naumann recalled St. Thomas More, the patron saint for statesmen and lawyers. More was considered a legal genius and re-nowned for his fairness and integrity. He served as a judge and chancellor of England before being martyred by King Henry VIII in 1535.
Archbishop Naumann spoke about religious faith in the public square, civility in public discourse and the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2022 Dobbs decision overturning its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion nationally.
“As fate would have it in Kansas, we were in the midst of attempting to cor-rect by state constitutional amendment a horrific ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court that claimed to have discovered a right to abortion in the Kansas Constitution,” said the archbishop.
The effort was “defeated by a startling margin” because of a “pro- abortion tsunami” of abortion industry money, as well as media misinformation and failure to fact-check, he said.
In response, “the church and the entire pro-life community must expand our educational efforts,” he continued, “making thoughtful and well-reasoned arguments aimed at changing minds, while at the same time appealing to the hearts of our fellow Americans.
“We must help people recognize all of the victims of abortion — not only the baby in the womb, but the mother and father who are emotionally and spiritually scarred by abortion.”
Also during the Mass, the guild gave its annual St. Thomas More Award to attorney Terry Brady. The award honors the guild member who best exemplifies the character of St. Thomas More, who was executed for refusing to deny the Catholic faith.
Brady was a longtime partner of the law firm Lathrop & Gage in Kansas City, Missouri. He served as head legal counsel for the Kansas and Missouri Metropolitan Culture District (bistate) Commission, and special counsel to Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt. He is a former secretary-attorney for the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners and special assistant attorney general for Missouri. He served as treasurer, vice president and president of the Board of Police Commissioners for the City of Kansas City, Missouri.
Additionally, he has served as a longtime attorney for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and adviser to local bishops.