After the Obama administration locked approximately 50 Catholic priests out of saying Mass at U.S. military facilities around the world for the second Sunday in a row, Father Ray Leonard, who serves as the Catholic chaplain at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia, has filed suit against the Department of Defense, Defense Secretary Charles Hagel, the Department of the Navy, and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.
DOD locked out Father Leonard and the other priests even though two weeks ago Congress passed, and President Barack Obama signed, a law that instructed DOD to maintain on the job and keep paying contract employees who were supporting the troops.
DOD took this action because Hagel determined that the Catholic priests did not, among other things, “contribute to the morale” and “well-being” of service personnel.
“Father Leonard was told that if he practiced his Catholic faith on the Naval Base, even on a volunteer basis, he would be subject to arrest,” says the lawsuit. […]
However, according to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services, Father Leonard and about 50 other Catholic priests serving on contract at military facilities were not allowed to return to serving military personnel.
At Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, the DOD went so far as to lock up the chapel and sequester the Holy Eucharist inside it. Catholics believe the Holy Eucharist is literally the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
“The doors to the Kings Bay Chapel were locked on October 4, 2013, with the Holy Eucharist, Holy water, Catholic hymn books, and vessels all locked inside,” said Father Leonard’s lawsuit. “Father Leonard and his parishioners, including Fred Naylor, were prohibited from entering.”