Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush used her keynote address during the Red Mass celebration and dinner in Indianapolis to remind judges and lawyers that they must temper justice with humility.
“Humility allows us to accept that human justice is never ultimate nor do we ever really want it to be,” she said. “The justice that we administer can never fully heal the wounds and scars inflicted in the tragedies of this life … but divine justice can offer hope.”
Rush was among the estimated 175 legal professionals who attended the 57th annual Red Mass Oct. 5 hosted by the Saint Thomas More Society of Indianapolis at Saint John the Evangelist Catholic Church in downtown Indianapolis. Rev. Joseph Tobin, Archbishop of Indianapolis, was the main celebrant and Rev. Monsignor Frederick Easton was the homilist.
At the dinner following the mass, Chief Judge Robin Moberly of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana was honored with the 2016 Woman for All Seasons Award.
Along with the Rush and Moberly, members of the state and federal judiciary participating in the Red Mass included Hendricks Superior Judges Robert Freese, Marion Superior Judge David Certo, Indiana Court of Appeals Judge John Baker, Indiana Supreme Court Justices Mark Massa, Steven David and Geoffrey Slaughter, and Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.
The Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree Honor Guard led the procession into the church and Nancy Gargula, U.S. Trustee for Region 10, was the cantor. Easton told the congregants that the “challenge of every age is to be in line with the truth of the Gospel.”
After the mass, the congregants gathered at the Crowne Plaza Hotel for the annual Saint Thomas More Society of Indianapolis dinner and recognition ceremony. Gregory Cafouros, partner at Kroger Gardis & Regas LLP, praised Moberly for her “sterling achievements” such as leading the campaign to raise money for the guardian ad litem program when the funds ran dry.
“Her intellect, legal expertise and life experiences match up well with the ideals of Saint Thomas More that we celebrate here tonight,” he said.
Moberly thanked the Saint Thomas More Society for encouraging the values that lawyers revere like making good decisions for the right reasons. “It’s very important to be reminded of those bedrock principles of our profession and how to make a good life,” she said.
Rush, speaking for just over 15 minutes, eloquently intertwined texts from revered legal scholars, like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Thomas Jefferson with stories from the Bible. She emphasized that justice is more than the impartial administration of the law, otherwise the past legal decisions upholding the fugitive slave act or the separate but equal doctrine would be considered justice.
Rather justice must come with humility, she continued. Through humility, judges and lawyers realize they do make mistakes and they must look outside themselves to find true justice.
“Even though human justice is not ultimate, we all still have a job to do. We must do the good that we know we need to do, recognizing our God-given role to the Constitution’s good servant but God’s first,” she said, referring to More’s last words when he was martyred (He declared he was “the king’s good servant, but God’s first”). “Our understanding of the limits of justice is no basis to give up our constitutional mandate but rather reminds us of why justice should always be tempered with mercy.”