03/01/1984

A recent National Catholic News Service report noted that the U.S. Catholic Military Vicariate has more Catholics under its care than any archdiocese in the nation. Some 2 million Catholics currently serve in the U.S. armed forces around the world. The Christian soldier — Catholic or Protestant — is a rather prominent figure in today's [...]

A recent National Catholic News Service report noted that the U.S. Catholic Military Vicariate has more Catholics under its care than any archdiocese in the nation. Some 2 million Catholics currently serve in the U.S. armed forces around the world. The Christian soldier — Catholic or Protestant — is a rather prominent figure in today's [...]

The President of the United States has appointed you as an officer in the U.S. Navy under the conditions indicated in this document. If appointment is accepted you must complete oath of office. If it is not accepted, sign and date declination. Indicate reasons for non-acceptance. We mark our passages with paper, and one of [...]

The documents of Vatican II contain a wonderfully short and direct charter for the Christian citizen and soldier in chapter five of Gaudium et Spes ("The Church in the Modern World"). As in many other cases, it is a document more praised than read; and in the name of the "spirit of Vatican II" many [...]

Like those of a number of people in my infantry outfit, my dogtags were stamped with a capital C. C for Catholic. The dogtags of others were stamped J (Jewish) or P (Protestant). There were more stamped with P, not only because there were more Protestants in the outfit, but because anyone who did not [...]

"The horror of modern warfare, whether nuclear or not, makes it wholly unacceptable as a means of settling differences between nations." ~Pope John Paul II, Coventry, England, 1982 I want to suggest, not that some Christians may be soldiers, but that all Christians must be soldiers, and to propose a different sort of soldiering demanded [...]

In an important respect, to ask whether soldiering and Christianity are compatible is to ignore nineteen hundred years of history that indicates that they are. Authentic church teachings has supported the doctrine of restraint in war and not pacifism. Throughout its history, the teaching church has always held that there are circumstances in which the [...]

This article is reprinted, with permission, from the December 1982 issue of  Sea Power, the official publication of the Navy League of the United States. Throughout human history, churches of all denominations have taught that war, and participation in war, can be justified under certain circumstances. In the presence of such circumstance's — and defense [...]

We often construe the issue of Christian response to violence in terms of two groups, those who refuse to bear arms and those who are willing to undertake the task of soldiering. We then move to a determination of which stance is correct by assessing each position in terms of its fidelity to the spirit [...]

In thinking about the notion of the "Christian Soldier," it is profitable to draw upon the old books of our tradition. We thus gain a measure of critical distance to contemporary issues. The fourteenth century Christian classic, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight speaks to us of the character of the Christian soldier in an [...]

Is it possible for the same person to be a solider and a Christian? I think so, but so what? It's possible for a drunkard, a wife-beater, a corporate president, a journalist, a Pope, a plumber, or even a public relations man to be a Christian, too. A Christian is, among other things, a person [...]

In the Offices, Cicero observes that no virtue is more extolled among men than courage; so much so, in Rome, that "almost all statues are done in the habit and garb of a soldier." When all is said and done, the peculiar virtues of the politician or the sage are not as compelling as the [...]

One fashion in current discussion of Christian attitudes toward war and peace is to hold that the early church was pacifist and that acceptance of the possibility of military service for Christians came only with the emergence of just war thought in the fourth century. On this view the denial of military service to baptized [...]

New York Senator Roscoe Conkling, a scion of the Gilded Age, is not ordinarily remembered in American history as a moral philosopher. But his gloss on a more-famous critique if patriotism is worth recalling: "When Dr. Johnson said that 'Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel,' he overlooked the possibilities of Reform." Conkling's complaint, [...]

Absolute or doctrinal pacifism is incompatible with the Catholic faith, because it directly attacks the significance of Christ's crucifixion. That is why it is popular with secularizing forces in our day. I believe it is urgent that Catholics understand this incompatibility. First, we should note that not everything called "pacifism" today is absolute or doctrinal [...]

As I attempt to address the issue of Christian Soldiering, it seems clear to me that the term is imbued with a derogatory connotation which prejudices any attempt to rationally ex-amine the profession of arms. I arrived at this admittedly Holmesian conclusion (remember the dog who didn't bark) after a recent review of both contemporary [...]

C. S. Lewis once remarked that when Christianity instructs us to feed the hungry it does not provide us with lessons in cooking. Prior to considering the moral purposes to which the culinary art may be put, one must master cooking as a separate art with rules of its own. Christianity, Lewis continued, "was never [...]

Is the phrase, "Christian soldier," a contradiction in terms? Does Christ's message of peace, so prominently featured and so eloquently expressed in the Gospel, rule out resort to arms under any circumstances? To both questions I answer a resounding "No," even though as a combat veteran I am possibly more dedicated to the cause of [...]

Our Tradition

"Tradition is the democracy of the dead" -G. K. Chesterton "Peace should be the object of our desire, war looked upon but as a necessity to the end that by it God may deliver men from the necessity of war and preserve them in peace. For peace is not sought in order to rouse men [...]

The month of March always reminds me of St. Thomas Aquinas, whose influence now seven centuries after his death is probably more effective on the world than at any time in history. From whom else did our age receive so clearly the concept of "person," so central to the best contemporary understandings of human rights? [...]

The bishops are wrestling with the problem of how to teach the vast populations of modern pluralistic nations. One of the most difficult tasks they face is evolving an effective mode for social teaching, especially if they stay convinced that they must address directly issues which divide men of good will politically. The bishops of [...]

An Interview With Dr. Michael A. Ledeen Dr. Michael A. Ledeen, a Senior Fellow at the Georgetown University Center for Strategic and International Studies, is a former Rome correspondent for the The New Republic and former executive editor of The Washington Quarterly. He also serves from time to time as a consultant to the United [...]

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