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Letter to the Editor: Why No Catholic Chaplain?

Letter to the Editor
January 24, 1995

Is the United States Congress moving partly toward the establishment of religion? Another Presbyterian has been appointed Chaplain of the Senate “in the long line of Presbyterians” (New York Times, 1/23/95).

Congress has existed for 218 years, give or take a year or so. There has been a Chaplain in the House and another in the Senate for 205 years (New York Times, Ibid.) In that time there has been only one Catholic as Chaplain and that in the mid-1800’s for nine months.

Catholics are the largest single religious body in the United States. There are more Catholics elected to Congress than members from any other religious body.

What’s wrong with our Faith, pray tell? One of the Houses of Congress was called the House of Representatives. Is this an anomaly? Could one of the Congress persons tell me please why Catholics are not acceptable?

William J. Awalt
Pastor, St. Ann’s Parish

Former Pastor of St. Joseph’s (Senate side)
Former Pastor St. Peter’s (House side of Capitol Hill)

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