May it please the court: Be Christ to others
At the annual Red Mass Oct. 3, Dominican Father David Caron, director of the archdiocesan Office of Evangelization, told local judges and lawyers they have a sacred trust to protect the common good, especially those who have no one to be a voice for them.
“Yours is indeed an ancient and noble profession,” said Father Caron in his homily. “But it is never a profession in the abstract for it demands that it be placed at the service of the common good with an eye particularly for those who have no one to advocate for them.”
In celebrating the Red Mass at St. Louis Cathedral, Father Caron reminded the lawyers and judges of the mercy of God “in Christ.”
“There is an invitation we must heed,” he said. “Are you women and men of biblical justice, whose covenant with God asks us always to temper justice with mercy?” he asked. “Whose good servants are you? God’s, of course, but also those who are neighbor.”
Father Caron said he recognized how difficult a judge’s lawyer’s job must be when they often “hold the fate of many in your hands, even at times their lives and their deaths.”
“You serve not an abstract calling of justice,” he added. “You serve people.”
Father Caron said he was thrilled to discover that many law schools, such as the ones at Loyola and Tulane universities, place a high priority on “pro bono” service to the poor.
However, he said, “I am saddened when I read that only 17 percent of the nation’s private attorneys actually perform pro bono work. More than 80 percent of the legal needs of the poor in this country go unattended.”
“I propose that representing the poor at some cost to you is a way to imitate Jesus the suffering servant who incarnated God’s love for the downtrodden and the destitute, the marginalized and the oppressed.”
The Red Mass is celebrated annually and marks the traditional beginning of the legal year. Archbishop Gregory Aymond was the principal celebrant.