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 military. Two decades ago, Vatican II saluted the men and women of the armed forces as “agents of freedom and security.” Today, however, the military frequently seems more the object of deep distrust, even contempt, than of praise. Some would even go so far as to say that trying to mix Christianity and soldiering is like trying to mix oil and water.
How, then, should we think of the Christian soldier? How should he think of himself? The essays which follow address this issue from a broad range of perspectives. The result is a provocative set of reflections on the role of the Christian soldier in the contemporary age.