Red Mass Homily

Most Reverand George V. Murry, S.J., Ph.D., Bishop of St. Thomas, Red Mass Homily, 36 Gonz. L. Rev. 3 (2001).

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Ladies and Gentlemen of the Legal Profession,

For nearly 800 years, members of the legal profession, both practitioners and students, have gathered at the beginning of the legal term to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit of God. In time, this mass came to be known as the “Red Mass.” There are two explanations for the name. Some scholars claim that the name reflects the fact that in many places in Europe, it was common for judges to wear red robes. Others argue that the color red was used to symbolize the commitment of judges to defend the truth, even to the point of shedding their blood. The jury, however, is still out on which reason is correct and, unfortunately, Judge Judy is not available to resolve the matter with dispatch.

Thus, we are left to our own devices. But I must admit that as a homilist, whose task it is to explicate the Gospel, I am captivated by that ancient description of the members of the legal profession as defenders of truth. And for a moment, at this Red Mass and in the light of the Gospel, I would like to explore that idea with you… Read More

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