|USA||HOUSE CHAPLAIN MASS ANGERS DEMOCRATS|
A Catholic congressman was offended by a Mass sponsored by the Republican Party in honour of the new House chaplain, saying it was inappropriate to use a sacred ritual for political purposes.
Democrat Jerry Kleczka of Wisconsin said: "For them to use the Catholic church in a continuing attempt to attract Catholic voters is, I think, disgusting. To liken it to a political debate, to a fund-raising dinner, to a political dinner trivializes the Mass."
Kleczka was particularly angered that Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Nicholson and former Rep. Bill Paxon, R-N.Y., the one-time head of House Republicans' campaign arm, were readers during Tuesday's service.
RNC spokesman Mike Collins said the Mass, and a reception afterward at St. Peter's Church on Capitol Hill, were never an attempt to score political points but only an opportunity to meet Fr Daniel Coughlin, who was appointed last month as the first Catholic House chaplain.