By Jusine Coleman, The Hill, September 9, 2020
President Trump on Wednesday pushed back on the reported cancellation of Navy contracts with Catholic priests who serve as chaplains at military bases.
The president announced on Twitter that the Navy would not follow through on the move, saying Catholic priests “serve our men and women in the Armed Forces so well, and with such great compassion & skill.”
“This will no longer be even a point of discussion!” Trump wrote, tagging Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York.
The United States Navy, or the Department of Defense, will NOT be cancelling its contract with Catholic Priests who serve our men and women in the Armed Forces so well, and with such great compassion & skill. This will no longer be even a point of discussion! @CardinalDolan— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 9, 2020
Typically, the Navy contracts priests to make up for the gap among the Chaplain Corps in order to hold services on U.S. bases.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported last week that the Navy was canceling many religious service contracts, disproportionately affecting Catholics and causing Catholic masses to be canceled in the Navy Region Southwest area due to the lack of priests.
The adjustments to the Navy’s religious ministries were part of a national realignment of services announced on Aug. 20, according to the newspaper. Under the revised plan, Catholic services were set to continue on overseas bases and Navy ships.
However, the Union-Tribune reported Tuesday that the commander of Navy Region Southwest, Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar, reversed the cost-cutting plan to halt most priest contacts.
“Contrary to previous discussions, this year we will continue contracted religious ministry programs and services similar to what we’ve had in place previously,” Bolivar said in a statement reported by the San Diego newspaper. “We will also continue to assess how best to meet the needs of our Sailors and their families throughout the region.”
Bolivar’s announcement only affected the Navy Region Southwest, including bases in California and Nevada.
This article first appeared HERE.