House: Don't Shut Down Military Religious Services

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The House of Representatives sent a strong message to the military this weekend not to cancel religious services during the government shutdown.

The resolution, which is not a spending measure, passed by a vote of 400-1 on Saturday. The Military Times reported it deals with the many civilian religious workers who perform services when chaplains aren't available.

For instance, while Catholics make up 25 percent of the military, only 8 percent of chaplains are Catholic priests. That means civilian priests are called upon to hold mass or perform baptisms.

During the shutdown, some services they performed have been canceled, even though many have volunteered to keep ministering without pay.

"With the government shutdown, many GS and contract priests who minister to Catholics on military bases worldwide are not permitted to work -- not even to volunteer," John Schlageter, from the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, wrote.

"During the shutdown, it is illegal for them to minister on base and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so," he said.

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