Archbishop celebrates Red Mass with Indianapolis bench and bar

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Describing the justice that comes from law as “rough or limited,” Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin urged lawyers, judges and law students to stay connected with God “who is perfect justice, mercy and love.”

Tobin made his remarks during the St. Thomas More Society of Indianapolis’ 55th annual Red Mass. The service was held Oct. 2 at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in downtown Indianapolis.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and Nancy Gargula, U.S. Trustee for Regions 10 and 13, led the procession of judges in the church at the start of the Mass. The entrance hymn was “America the Beautiful.”

Attired in their black robes, justices from the Indiana Supreme Court along with judges from the Indiana Court of Appeals, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana and Marion County courts filled the first three rows of pews. Attorneys and others were scattered throughout the sanctuary.

Tobin told the congregation he was pleased to celebrate the Mass with the members of the bench and bar. Eight priests assisted the archbishop at the Mass, but missing was the legal community’s beloved friend and former attorney, the Rev. Thomas Murphy. He died in February after battling Parkinson’s disease for many years.

During his homily, Tobin talked about Sir Thomas More who was a victim of the law when it was used by a despot to crush the opposition to his will.

“Even at its best, the law must admit that it achieves only a rough or limited justice, when it is compared to the justice of the living God,” Tobin said. … “The ideal of human justice is that it be impartial. God’s justice is far from impartial. It is entirely on our side.”

“Lawyers, who are also disciples, humbly admit that understanding and application is not enough,” Tobin continued. “To practice their art, they must be connected to One who is perfect justice, mercy and love.”

Chief Justice Loretta Rush and U.S. District Court Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson presented the gifts. The congregation then proceeded to communion and the Mass closed with the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Afterward, many of the judges and lawyers walked to the Crown Plaza Hotel for the Red Mass dinner. The festivities included a speech by Justice Brent Dickson and a special toast in honor of Murphy.


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