The text below is the homily Bishop Barron offered regarding Church and state and the true purpose of the law for the Red Mass at St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans on Monday, October 4, 2021. The Red Mass is a special liturgy offered for judges, lawyers, and others in legal professions.

May I say as I commence these reflections that it is an extraordinary privilege to be here with all of you today. Thank you, Archbishop Aymond, for the invitation to speak, and thank you to the entire legal and judicial community of New Orleans—judges, politicians, city officials, lawyers, students of the law—whose important work we place today in prayer under the aegis of God’s grace and providence.

I fully realize that oceans of ink have been spilled trying to adjudicate the rapport between Church and state or between one’s religious convictions and one’s civil commitments. I furthermore realize that this conversation has become, in recent years, particularly heated. What I shall endeavor to do, in the course of this brief homily, is to make just a few simple but, I hope, illuminating observations regarding their right relationship.

Praise the Lord

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