Is Pope Taking Over U.S. Military?

“Sacrificing the moral beliefs of individuals or their living conditions to respond to merely political considerations is neither just nor prudent especially for the armed forces at a time of war,” Broglio said. “Catholics believe that nothing will be done if there is a careful and prudent evaluation of the effects of a change.”

The group also met with members of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the papal preacher. In general, Griffin said, they found the Vatican highly sympathetic to the call of conscience in matters of war, but wary about church leaders telling Catholics not to participate in a war.

The issue of civil disobedience by those who cannot in conscience follow orders of government or military leaders at times sparked lively debate, Griffin said.

“But there was clarity, especially at the Secretariat of State, that one must never do what one believes to be wrong, even if such action is legal or ordered by military superiors,” Griffin said.

Coincidentally, during their stay in Rome the Vatican issued a strong statement supporting conscientious objectors — but the reference was to pro-life issues like abortion, not serving in war. The Vatican said Catholic health care professionals have an obligation to refuse to participate “in any medical intervention or research that foresees the destruction of human life.”

Deacon Cornell said his organization supports that position.

“We promote a seamless garment kind of ethic” that opposes abortion, war and a wide spectrum of other attacks on human life and justice, he said.

Deacon Cornell first came to Rome in the 1960s with Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement. It was the time of the Vietnam War, and U.S. Catholics were in the front lines of the anti-war movement.

Contraception controversy ensnares military chaplains
By Larry Shaughnessy, CNN
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The still-lingering controversy over the Obama administration’s mandate about health insurance coverage that includes contraception spread to American Army posts all over the world before the matter was settled.
For the Army, it started when Timothy Broglio, the archbishop for the military services, sent a letter to all Catholic chaplains in the military objecting to the administration’s new mandate, calling it “an alarming and serious matter.”
Broglio, who oversees all Catholic chaplains in all branches of the service, also wrote: “We cannot – we will not – comply with this unjust law.” He wanted Catholic chaplains to read the letter aloud during their sermons on Sunday, January 28.
The Navy and Air Force had no objection to the letter, but the Army chief of chaplains, himself a Catholic, was worried that the line about not complying with the law was close to a call for civil disobedience. So he told the chaplains to not read it in Mass, but instead pass out copies after Mass was over.
Archbishop Broglio objected to this and after a meeting with the secretary of the Army, John McHugh, he agreed to remove the one sentence about complying. McHugh gave the OK for the letter to be read at Mass last Sunday.
In a statement, Broglio’s office said: “Archbishop Broglio and the Archdiocese stand firm in the belief, based on legal precedent, that such a directive from the Army (about not reading the letter) constituted a violation of his Constitutionally-protected right of free speech and the free exercise of religion, as well as those same rights of all military chaplains and their congregants.”
McHugh agreed in his own statement, saying, “The Secretary and his advisors determined that the letter’s content was a matter solely within the jurisdiction of the Archbishop and the Catholic Church.”
McHugh’s statement said he now considers the matter closed.

Pope Benedict XVI later named Broglio head of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA on November 19, 2007. The Archbishop was formally installed as such on January 25, 2008, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the U.S. military, Pope Benedict XVI, and then-President George W. Bush during the Popes 2008 visit to the United States.

The archbishop for the U.S. military spoke out for the first time against the effort to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell,” setting up a possible conflict between Pentagon brass and the 285 Roman Catholic priests who serve on active-duty  in the military.
“Those with a homosexual orientation can expect respect and treatment worthy of their human dignity,” said Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Catholic overseer for military chaplains, in a statement released late last week. “However, unions between individuals of the same gender resembling marriage will not be accepted or blessed by Catholic chaplains.”
Broglio was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI two and a half years ago, though it is unclear if the archbishop speaks for the Vatican, which has so far been mum on the issue.
Catholic priests serve an estimated 1.5 million Catholic men and women in the U.S. military, according to the Archdiocese website.
The statement follows an April 28 letter from 41 retired Army, Air Force and Navy chaplains to President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates saying that repealing the rule would present chaplains with “a profoundly difficult moral choice”–whether to obey God or men.
“Sacrificing the moral beliefs of individuals or their living conditions to respond to merely political considerations is neither just nor prudent especially for the armed forces at a time of war,” Broglio said. “Catholics believe that nothing will be done if there is a careful and prudent evaluation of the effects of a change.”

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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