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  #1  
Old May 17, '12, 11:15 am
maxdouglas402 maxdouglas402 is offline
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Default Catholicsm and the Military

Hi everyone! I was wondering if anyone knows where the church stands on young men joining the air force, i was considering joining because i know they will pay for my school as well as pay me to go to school. they also pay a couple hundred dollars every weekend if i were to go out to base camp as well as many other benefits... i would not be doing anything that is involved combat or killing others, only stocking boxes in a warehouse (this is what my friend does in the air force). is it bad to even be a part of an organization that has killed people? i know that Priests have joined the military and i know that it would help me advance in my schooling. what is your knowledge of this topic? any advice or experiences?

  #2  
Old May 17, '12, 12:18 pm
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loozcannon loozcannon is offline
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Default Re: Catholicsm and the Military

I don't believe the Church has anything "official" regarding joining or not joining the military. I did 11 years active Air Force and 2 years Air National Guard.

First off, don't think of it as "kill" as in the Ten Commandments. That version indicates premeditated murder. Essentially, if someone dies in a war, whomever caused that person to die is not a murderer, so get that out of your head.

The military does have Chaplains (the Priests you mentioned, as well as representatives of other faiths) available if you find that your orders or your actions become questionable per your faith. That's their job. Chaplains have been around since the time of the Revolutionary War.

My opinion is go for it! And if you choose to do so, you can do so in peace and a clear conscience. Defending your nation is an honorable thing to do, and a great career if you choose to make it one.

Peace be with you, and God bless!
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  #3  
Old May 17, '12, 12:22 pm
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Joe 5859 Joe 5859 is offline
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Default Re: Catholicsm and the Military

There probably wouldn't be an Archdiocese of Military Services if the Church thought joining the military was an intrinsic moral evil.
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The more I follow the online discussions ... the more I follow the debates and disagreements in the Church about administrative unity, or the concerns expressed about the moral or personal or administrative or leadership failings of the bishops or the clergy, the more I become convinced that whatever might be the truth of these concerns, ALL of this is simply a distraction. No, itís more than that. Itís a justification, an excuse, for not helping each other and those outside the Church fall in love with Jesus Christ. How easy it is to talk about everything, but about Jesus hardly at all.

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  #4  
Old May 17, '12, 12:29 pm
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johnnyjones johnnyjones is offline
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Default Re: Catholicsm and the Military

Every Sunday at mass we are asked to pray for those "serving' in our armed forces at the church I attend. I hear no condemnation in that petition.
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  #5  
Old May 17, '12, 12:34 pm
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Aelred Minor Aelred Minor is offline
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Default Re: Catholicsm and the Military

I don't think the Church has taken a definitive position on the Air Force. Certainly military service in general can be not only morally licit but even a heroic Christian activity.

There is the danger of being ordered into an immoral war, but I think the militaries of NATO member states in the post-Cold War world are probably some of the morally safest militaries to join in all history (not to say there aren't still problems that need to be addressed).

The Air Force is a bit complicated, because of their role in bombing cities and such. During WWII and to a lesser extent during the conflicts Cold War era, the US Air Force conducted bombings of civilian populations that were, in my judgment, entirely morally unjustifiable, even intrinsically evil. I would have, as just a private Catholic, strongly urged against any participation in the Air Force during this period and suggested some other, more honorable branch of the military. However, things are much better these days, though of course accidental civilian casualties will still occur. But considering the care we now take to try to avoid these casualties and the distance it sounds like you would have from the actual missile strikes, I doubt you will encounter a moral problem of that sort.
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  #6  
Old May 17, '12, 12:35 pm
maxdouglas402 maxdouglas402 is offline
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Default Re: Catholicsm and the Military

what about scandals like in Iraq a few years back when the military members abused the prisoners? i know that this is somewhat of a drastic situation, but what I'm concerned about is just the fact that there is blood on the hands of the US military and bad things have happened that involve the US military, and then to say im part of this organization for life. no offense to honorable men and women who really mean to protect others!!! I know that this example is somewhat like me saying "if i enroll in the University of South Carolina then i am a part of this schools history, morals, and lifestyles," but in some ways i am.
  #7  
Old May 17, '12, 12:55 pm
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Aelred Minor Aelred Minor is offline
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Default Re: Catholicsm and the Military

Quote:
Originally Posted by maxdouglas402 View Post
what about scandals like in Iraq a few years back when the military members abused the prisoners? i know that this is somewhat of a drastic situation, but what I'm concerned about is just the fact that there is blood on the hands of the US military and bad things have happened that involve the US military, and then to say im part of this organization for life. no offense to honorable men and women who really mean to protect others!!! I know that this example is somewhat like me saying "if i enroll in the University of South Carolina then i am a part of this schools history, morals, and lifestyles," but in some ways i am.
Soldiers (or members of any branch of the military) are young and often not really the chivalrous modern knights we would hope they would be. Furthermore they are taken out of a sheltered American environment and put through traumatic experiences, which can lead to emotional or psychological problems in some (by no means all) of them. And it seems as though bad, non-representative subcultures sometimes develop within individual units. All this shows that we have room to improve, that we need even better training, oversight, accountability, ultimate civilian control, etc., but in all these respects I suspect US troops (and Canadian, Australian, British, etc.) are far better than nearly all historical militaries. Just think of all the sacking of cities, with all its accompanying rape and murder, that used to be commonplace even for Christian armies. I think the response of the military to these scandals is more significant regarding its general culture than the occasional aberrations that occur.

It's true that by participating in the military you may find yourself participating in evil in some remote way, like packing a box with planks (or whatever) used in waterboarding (though it may be the Air Force wouldn't be involved in that at all). However, we all are forced to remotely participate in this kind of thing with our tax dollars, and the military needs good men with well formed consciences in it.
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  #8  
Old May 17, '12, 12:55 pm
DebChris DebChris is offline
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Default Re: Catholicsm and the Military

I was reared as a military dependent. Everybody in my family has served his/her country in military service either as a spouse or serviceman. My oldest sister, the only one not to enlist, worked civil service for the Air Force. I spent time as an Army Reservist until the Lord asked me to give up my military career.
There are military chaplains to assist with spiritual matters, including the Sacraments. If you do choose military service, allow your faith to act as a safeguard against immoral acts. No matter what type of job you have, military or civilian, you must live with your own conscience..
One military chaplain used the story of the Good Samaritan to explain the role of the individual in the military. Imagine that you came across the man who lay injured in the ditch twenty minutes earlier while he was being attacked.
Military service involves more than killing the enemy. It may involve rescuing civilians from dangerous situations. The stories I read of soldiers who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor included not only those who threw themselves on the grenade. It included stories of soldiers who brought aid to those on the battlefield. My husband won the bronze star for valor when he saved his platoon in Vietnam.
  #9  
Old May 17, '12, 12:58 pm
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loozcannon loozcannon is offline
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Default Re: Catholicsm and the Military

Quote:
Originally Posted by maxdouglas402 View Post
what about scandals like in Iraq a few years back when the military members abused the prisoners? i know that this is somewhat of a drastic situation, but what I'm concerned about is just the fact that there is blood on the hands of the US military and bad things have happened that involve the US military, and then to say im part of this organization for life. no offense to honorable men and women who really mean to protect others!!! I know that this example is somewhat like me saying "if i enroll in the University of South Carolina then i am a part of this schools history, morals, and lifestyles," but in some ways i am.
Some food for thought or comparison, with that logic, how can you be Catholic with all the scandals of the Church in her history? Point is, the military is a snippet of society at large. A VERY small minority of those folks in the military will choose to make a bad choice and decide to abuse prisoners, or commit other crimes. Generally speaking, you'll find a higher concentration of trustworthy folks in the military than you would in corporate America.

However, deciding to enlist is 100% voluntary. And if you find yourself in a moral dilema, then follow your heart or your conscience. It's a wonderful opportunity, but it's also not for everybody.

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Peace and God bless.
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  #10  
Old May 17, '12, 1:15 pm
maxdouglas402 maxdouglas402 is offline
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Default Re: Catholicsm and the Military

thank you very much for posting and feedback! it has been an idea i have been kicking around for some time now to either join or not join. on one hand i would appreciate the extra financial support for college as well as being a good example to the others in my training class. on the other hand i would be constantly analyzing whether I made the right life choice or not... and a real quick story; when my uncle was in the marines he was cleaning toilets and making food, and one of the main guys in charge tried to get him to sign documents saying he did nuclear weapons training, and he refused to sign them and went to prison. ... ill keep praying to find out where God wants to lead me (is anyone else working on their patience?? lol) and maybe he'll lead me to military life someday and maybe not. lol

THANK YOU ALL WHO POSTED AND KEEP POSTING IF YOU STILL HAVE INFORMATION ON THE TOPIC

MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON US AND ON THE WHOLE WORLD!
  #11  
Old May 17, '12, 8:26 pm
JimG JimG is offline
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Default Re: Catholicsm and the Military

Of course it is okay to join the Air Force. As Joe5859 mentioned, the military has its own Catholic Archdiocese.

One of the priests of my diocese got permission from the bishop to join the Army and spend a tour of duty as a chaplain.

Many Catholics have served and do serve in every branch of the military.
  #12  
Old May 19, '12, 8:20 am
maxdouglas402 maxdouglas402 is offline
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Default Re: Catholicsm and the Military

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimG View Post
Of course it is okay to join the Air Force. As Joe5859 mentioned, the military has its own Catholic Archdiocese.

One of the priests of my diocese got permission from the bishop to join the Army and spend a tour of duty as a chaplain.

Many Catholics have served and do serve in every branch of the military.
this is good to hear, I actually am starting to see a lot more benefits in joining the military other than just college being paid for and financial stability, I see that this choice can help me stay in the right direction, and that if God is willing anything can happen! I actually went online to airforce.com and found some careers that look like they would fit me very well. I was planning on going back to college this summer to start working on my degree (which is chemical dependency consoling) but maybe God has other plans and put this idea of joining the military in my heart a long time ago? The careers I saw online for the Air Force were similar because they dealt with consoling but I was also looking at some emergency medical positions. While online and seeing this I felt this feeling of excitement and eagerness and readiness.

THERE'S ONLY ONE THING TO DO!

Last edited by maxdouglas402; May 19, '12 at 8:39 am.
  #13  
Old May 19, '12, 8:59 am
Iheartcoffee Iheartcoffee is offline
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Default Re: Catholicsm and the Military

There is nothing wrong with joining the military! Defending one's country is very honorable.
  #14  
Old May 19, '12, 11:22 am
JimG JimG is offline
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Default Re: Catholicsm and the Military

One thing to keep in mind if you are thinking mainly of the veterans benefits such as paid college education. For the most part, those don't kick in until you are out of the military. You can't predict the future. Congress can change those benefits at any time. And war can break out at any time, and you could have an enlistment involuntarily extended. Heck, the draft could even be reinstated. It was in force for a great many years. (And had the advantage of bringing in a greater diversity of people into the military services.) It's not like joining the civil service or working for a private company. You can't just quit when you like. Personally, I think the benefits are worth it. My years in the USAF were some of the best years and provided some of the best experiences.
  #15  
Old May 20, '12, 6:25 am
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Default Re: Catholicsm and the Military

Quote:
Originally Posted by maxdouglas402 View Post
Hi everyone! I was wondering if anyone knows where the church stands on young men joining the air force, i was considering joining because i know they will pay for my school as well as pay me to go to school. they also pay a couple hundred dollars every weekend if i were to go out to base camp as well as many other benefits... i would not be doing anything that is involved combat or killing others, only stocking boxes in a warehouse (this is what my friend does in the air force). is it bad to even be a part of an organization that has killed people? i know that Priests have joined the military and i know that it would help me advance in my schooling. what is your knowledge of this topic? any advice or experiences?

I didn't know that a person has an option of selecting what their duties will be in the military. I thought that you obey orders, and go where you are assigned. I didn't know that you can refuse combat orders and opt to stock boxes, unless you've registered as a conscientous objector.

But I'm not military, so maybe I'm wrong about this.

All I'm saying is don't assume that you will only be stocking boxes in order to earn that education money and benefits.
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