The U.S. Navy is facing allegations of discrimination after it decided to terminate its relationship with several Catholic priests who lead masses at naval bases while leaving chaplains of other religious denominations in place.
According to a report from The San Diego Union-Tribune, the Navy has declined to renew the contracts of several civilian Catholic priests serving at San Diego-area Navy bases and other bases nationwide despite there being a shortage of active-duty Catholic chaplains.
At naval bases that are far removed from any Catholic churches in the surrounding communities, contracted civilian Catholic priests will remain in place.
Brian O’Rourke, a spokesperson for the Navy Region Southwest, cited a desire to minister to “active duty Sailors and Marines in the 18-25 year-old range” as the motivation behind “the difficult decision to discontinue most contracted ministry services.”
The Christian Post reached out to O’Rourke for clarification but did not receive an immediate response.
Admiral Yancey Lindsey, the commander of the Navy Installations Command, pointed to “limited resources” as the reason why the Navy had to “reduce redundancies” by “realigning resources.” The Navy first announced its “national realignment” on Aug. 20.
While Catholics at most of the affected Navy bases have the option to attend Catholic mass at nearby parishes, Catholics currently serving on naval bases have argued that the base churches have created a strong sense of community.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Ryan Foley