is it licit for a Catholic join a mercenary army like the foreign legion or another similar?
The French Foreign Legion are not mercenaries.
The Foreign Legion are not a mercenary army, they are a regiment in the french army. A soldier in the Foreign Legion fights for France.
As to joining a mercenary army. Mercenaries armies sell their services to the highest bidder.They kill for money. The side they take in a conflict depends on who pays them. I cannot see how this would be permitted for a Catholic or any person of good faith.
See the Catechism of the Catholic Church below. Personally, it is not something I would be happy with, given that so many of our Christian brothers and sisters are being murdered and tortured by mercenaries. How many of the murderers in Syria are Syrian and how many are rushing in from other countries simply for the thrill of killing and getting money? For me it is being paid to slaughter simply to receive money, as opposed to taking up arms to defend the weak, helpless and oppressed or to defend one’s country.
1828 The practice of the moral life animated by charity gives to the Christian the spiritual freedom of the children of God. He no longer stands before God as a slave, in servile fear, or as a mercenary looking for wages, but as a son responding to the love of him who “first loved us”:106 (1972)
If we turn away from evil out of fear of punishment, we are in the position of slaves. If we pursue the enticement of wages,... we resemble mercenaries. Finally if we obey for the sake of the good itself and out of love for him who commands... we are in the position of children.107
Reference Note : 106 Cf. 1 Jn 4:19. Reference Note : 107 St. Basil, Reg. fus. tract., prol. 3: PG 31, 896 B.
Source: Catechism of the Catholic Church - usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catechism/catechism-of-the-catholic-church/epub/index.cfm#
Just my view.
For any of you young men who think mercenary soldiers are some kind of adventurous heros, have another thought. There is nothing romantic about them Most of them are murderous social misfits that cannot survive in the conventional societies of their birth countries. They are not psychologically fit material for any organized modern military organization, such as an Army, Marine Corps or Navy.
For the most part, mercenaries are truely gangsters in that they do not follow or obey the rules of war that most countries subscribe to. They will torture for the thrill of it and will murder someone in an eye blink as long as they are paid.
In many cases, being a mercenary soldier is a losing proposition because after a civil war or other war is over, mercenaries are often killed by the people who hired them just to keep from having to pay them.
As an example: Fidel Castro was put in office by groups of American mercenaries who fought the Cuban Army under Batista for him, His rebels under Che Guavera were largely ineffective except for gurilla attacks-which do not win revolutions. Very few of these mercenaries were able to escape back to the States after the Revolution, and none of them were ever paid!
And before considering joining an army of any sort, let alone an army that sells its services to the highest bidder, one would be well advised to read what is said in the Catechism and the compendium of Catholic Social Teaching regarding warfare, particularly regarding the concept of ‘Just war’ and regarding the individual soldiers duty to do what is right and just rather than be blindly obedient to orders.
It should be mentioned, for the record, that the Vatican’s Swiss Guard was originally a mercenary group from Switzerland that was hired for protection from rival Italian states.
It’s even questionable to become a soldier for a country’s regular army. The motivations and intentions of government officials can be evil, and the soldier carries out these evil intentions in war.
Which is hardly an endorsement of mercenary armies, which are condemned by Our Lord and against Church teaching.
But if someone is happy to slaughter villages of innocent civilians in Africa, get paid and then spend an eternity in Hell for it…
Which specific group are you considering joining?
I will give you a strong caution to stay far away from any pseudo-military contractor organizations in the US. As a military member, I saw these people overseas and they exist because our military law and ROEs are too constraining. I met several private contractor interrogators (the water boarding types). Stay away. Far away.
If we act like our enemy, we become our enemy and our justification for fighting ceases to exist.
One sad fact is that “independent contractors” are paid far more than a soldier. So the government is willing to hire thousands of mercenaries to maintain a presence in Iraq, but claims budget restraints when it comes to wages and benefits for soldiers who have enlisted to protect their country.
Sad, but true.
oh, i did not know, someone mentioned that time ago and i just kept the idea.
But dont worry i dont plan on joining any mercenary group, I also dislike the idea of needless killing and even most the killing of inocents or people just defending their countries.