Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:14 pm
What is traditional church teaching on Catholic Soldiers
I am sure there are many soldiers out there that surf through these forums. Also many would be candidates in the Armed Forces, what is the advice that the Church gives to her children with regards as to the participation of a Soldier in an unjust war. By the way I am not talking about someone being drafted, I am talking about someone who enlisted knowing that they will be called to fight the Zionist war's (hint, hint Americans). I am sure there is an easy answer since most war's almost without exception have been unjust, probably the exception being the Crusades. I know the Church has a healthy patriotism, and has always prayed for the leaders in the government despite them being autocratic dictator Ceasar's or any form of government really.
First let me enunciate the good things about the military (at least philosophically it really it is not as true anyway anymore). This list is not exhaustive but just a few that came up in my mind:
1) Instills discipline and the need to fulfill ones obligations to superiors.
2) The importance of hierarchy, and a fighting force for the preservation of order.
3) They are always the most conservative institutions in any country usually the last to accept already accepted norms in society.
4) Concept of self-sacrifice for something much greater than yourself.
5) Instills a work ethic to its soldiers.
6) The greatest preserver of cultural traditions of a country.
Brief examples to prove the above:
1) Many kids who got out of the military, got lots of benefits from a military life. Gave them a sense of dignity, and self-sufficiency. Many would of never matured as quickly, if it was not for that extra push.
2) Obviously the enlistment grades and different types of Officer's in all countries shows since the longest time an obedience to superiors. The mentality within a soldier, is more likely to make him a person of faith as opposed to atheistic. This is in general what is so wrong with Marxism, the non-stop Revolutionary mentality which is the root of its diabolical roots. After order has been changed, there is always something that the devil has gained. There are absolutely no exceptions, this does not mean that the Church does not allow change, but the change is always organic as opposed to sudden and quick.
3) The military in the U.S. has been the last to admit an exclusion of homosexuals, and females in the workforce. Way before the civilian sector started changing its mentality. My main point is still proven, that whatever has already been true in the civilian sector for years and accepted is not necessarily so in the military. This is why the progressives knowing that once things are changed in the military, is a true sign of the "changing of the times." After all the military in countries serve as a good litmus test of the progressiveness of a country.
4) Christ even went so far as to enunciate that the greatest love any man can have for another is to give ones life for that person. John 15:13 (D-R)
13 Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Now of course this only applies somewhat spiritually to ones countrymen and not any particular person. But nevertheless, the countless of Good Catholic Soldiers have definitely some witness to give.
5) The military despises lazy worker's, in fact it always makes them work more for what they earn! They are definitely underpaid in most countries for the service they give.
6) The military is by default always attached to the ruling order of the country be it a dictator or the rightful man in power. The military will always represent the ruling party, quite well. Which is many not always the best representative of the real culture amongst the masses, but it definitely reflects something very close to it.
Rebuttals to the numbers given above:
1) This can be done without joining the military. Realistically speaking it is very difficult for something like this to happen, for the masses they usually need someone to whip them into a more regimented life. Which is why Civilian life and military life are so different. The traumatized soldier's who come back from war completely changed, never being the same. In my opinion for the most part mental illnesses are a result of a weakness of the will. Although there are some chemical imbalances but this certainly falls for exceptional cases. So the military is not too blame completely for this, individual cases may vary and exception don't make the rule.
2) Some may contest that there is a certain blind faith to ones superiors, but it has always been understood among the military in freer countries that there is such a thing as an unlawful command (this may not be true in China and several other countries where the law of the land does not rest on order but revolution). In terms of true obedience and false obedience to superiors. Everyone knows in the military that there is such a thing as an unlawful command, which is surprising because many Catholics fail to have the common sense in that regard.
3) It is true that one can contest, the preservation of what order? A muslim country? Communistic atheism? Please insert any godless country in here etc...
4) There is no real rebuttal against this one, with the exception that there can definitely be a "false" air of martyrdom comparing to those of our Catholic martyrs. There is always in the textbooks of any country, "their own martyrs" of their country. So long as the person who died for his country, did not do because he literally adored it, gave it something which is only due to God alone.
5) Hippies might protest a work ethic to the destruction of mankind... I don't believe this can be valid argument.
6) There really is nothing wrong with human traditions among different cultures. This is not a blanket approval of multiculturalism. Nationalism, however can be something that can always have a spirit of infallibility. The same assent that a Catholic faithful puts to ones country... Where one's country's is above the natural law, divine law and this can definitely lead to conflict. This has been historically in the 20th century the mass murder of millions. That a country has no one to respond but itself is a dangerous mindset.
So to sum up the original question. What is traditional Catholic Church teaching of a soldier who is stuck in unjust wars (particularly I am interested in the United States here, but there can definitely be other examples that people can list). Is it a good idea to enlist when you know there is an unjust war. The person joining, might join for other things such as job security, career etc... Are these motives enough to outweigh for example, the phony war on terrorism for example in the United States.
Laudare, Benedicere et predicare...
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