The government shutdown apparently does not discriminate based on compassion, as survivors of last month's Navy Yard shooting now know. Catholic Masses on the installation have been canceled because it has no priests to minister.
The military relies heavily on contractors to lead religious services, especially for Catholics, who make up approximately 25 percent of the armed services but only 8 percent of its chaplain corp.
Translated: About 275,000 men and women in uniform, and their families, are served by only 234 active-duty priests. Any religions that do not have an active-duty minister, or are able to work out alternative sources of funding, will not be able to have services on base.
"Navy Yard is not able to have services," said Taylor Henry, spokesman for the Archdiocese for the Military Services. "Services have been moved to Bolling."
Navy Yard does have an active-duty priest, but the priest at Anacostia-Bolling was furloughed. The priest moved Sunday services to Anacostia-Bolling because it has the larger chapel.
The Washington Navy Yard, where many military work, was the scene of a mass shooting last month, which killed 12 people.
The inability to find funding to continue services hasn't been taken kneeling down.
John Schlageter, general counsel for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, published a piece Thursday on the organization's web site, referring to the annual Army-Navy football game, which was scheduled to be played as usual Saturday.
"At a time when the military is considering alternative sources of funding for sporting events at the service academies, no one seems to be looking for funding to ensure the Free Exercise rights of Catholics in uniform," he wrote. "Why not?"