I want to join the military?

Hey everyone, i have recently gotten a personal urge to join the U.S military, and i was just wondering…what is the catholic view on military soldiers? My mom was calling me a hypocrite because of the “turn the other cheek” verse…

God Bless

To the best of my knowledge, the Catholic church permits war as long as it is justified, for example, WWII would be considered justifiable because it stopped a dictator from fulfilling his mission to kill all the Jews and others who did not fit into his perfect world picture. On the other hand, a war like the one in Iraq might not be considered justified because 1) we did not utilize every alternative before going to war (ie. diplomatic alternatives), and 2) our motives for going to war are questionable at best.

I would also like to point out that the military does do many constructive things, like helping to protect the borders of this nation and to bring food and supplies to nations which are not as fortunate as the U.S.

All in all, I don’t think it is seen as sinful to be a soldier, and I think that your mom and other relatives should support you, no matter what you decide.

I don’t see anything at all hypocritical about it.

I don’t believe that the Catholic Church says anything about soldiers themselves, but it does however say alot about war. It usually judges a war to be either a just war or not a just war. However, the Church has never blamed soldiers themselves for fighting wars. Many times an army is needed and approved by the Vatican to put down dictators and other criminal leaders. But that said, we do not have a free pass to do anything that could be considered criminal, and the Church expects that each and every soldier adheres completely to the “rules” of war. Yes, there are rules to war.

Being a soldier is also part of being a responsible citizen, something the Catholic Church stress’s we should all be. And remember, there are Catholic Chaplains assigned to the military to make sure that each and every soldier that wants to partake in their faith can. The Church wouldn’t allow that if they felt it were wrong to be a soldier.

I served 23 years, both active and reserve, and I can tell you that I have done alot of good in alot of places. So have millions of Catholic veterans before me.

Maybe your mother just doesn’t want you to go at a time like this? .

Your mother is probably worried about you. We mothers tend to do that; it’s part of our nature.

I like what I read that a chaplain told a group of soldiers headed for Iraq. We are familiar with the story of the Good Samaritan. He told them that they came along 20 minutes earlier and stopped the beating from occurring.
I grew up in a military family. I even spent time in the Reserves until the Lord asked me to give up my career. What is important is that you listen to your own heart and the direction in which God is calling you.
There is a story of a commander in WWI who had his soldiers daily recite the 91st Psalm (something commanders are no longer allowed to do). The 91st Regiment, seeing much of the fiercest fighting of the war returned with no casualties. No POW during WWII who wore the medal of the Shroud of Turin was killed.
I belonged to the 91st Infantry Training Division out of California.
CCC2310…Those who are sworn to serve their country in the armed forces are servants of the security and freedom of nations. If they carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common good of the nation and the maintenance of peace.

wow thanks a lot everyone, as far as the war being a justifiable war, i became interested in joining the army after what i saw escalating with russia and iran. I believe that we are most likely get into a big war in the near future, and i think it will be a threat to the States, that is my reason for joining the military, as far as justifiable iraq war, the U.S has slowly been switching into more of a humanitarian aid stage since iraq has begun enlisting its own military. Soldiers are training iraqi soldiers and police and providing aid to villagers. I think that is a good effort at least. umm also, i dont think i can wear a medal(shroud of Turin) unless it is a military medal that i have been awarded…is there anything else i should carry with me? i was just going to have my chain with my cross and saint on it…i guess maybe carrying holy water wouldnt be a bad idea either?

You can wear the medal with your dog tags so that it does not show. The same is true of your cross. There are limitations and the choice is yours. A medal that you are awarded would be worn on the outside of your dress uniform. Holy water would be a bit more difficult to carry. Do read 91st Psalm nightly. Of course, your mother will be constantly praying for you and we know the efficacy of a mother’s prayer.
The humanitarian side of the military is often overlooked.

I joined when I was seventeen mainly to get an education. I was a high school dropout and going nowhere fast. I didn’t join for patriotic reasons. I salute you for that and very proud of young Americans like you.:thumbsup:

I was in bed one afternoon just woke up and this voice came into my head, “What are you going to do with your life?” I said, “What?” This voice yelled at me, “Look it, you’re a high school dropout, don’t have a job, and living off mommy and daddy; what are you going to do with the rest of your life?” “Ah, I don’t know?” This voice said, “Why don’t you join the army you can get a education, learn a skill, then get out and get a job?” I got out of bed and caught a city bus went to the mall and joined.

My plan was get a GED, learn a skill, then get out in three years. One big problem! I started to love the army in Basic Combat Training. The American people were paying me $315.00 dollars a month to run up and down hills, shoot guns, and blow up stuff. Man this was great! It’s fun! So I ended up spending over twenty years in the army.

It was the best decision I ever made in my life. The people that I hung out with ended up in prison or dead. My mother was glad I enlisted because it got me out of the neighborhood.

Will you see war/combat probably? Please understand I have been very blessed. Of the combat I’ve been in I only got a little shrapnel in the face. I refused to put in for a purple heart there are a lot of my brother and sister vets out there that have lost a lot more than I did. I refuse to apply for a medal for a little scratch on my face. Not like some politicians,:mad: Opps I’ll stop right now.

That voice is still around. I believe it is my Guardian Angel I thank God that when I was a punk kid I listened to it. Usually when I don’t I get into trouble. So that means I have listen to my wife a lot.:eek:

Pray about it and listen to God you can’t go wrong. God Bless.


No one has mentioned it yet, but, I would strongly advise you to pray about this.

Going into the military in today’s world, means, you will most certainly be involved in combat in some way. What you will witness and experience, will transform your life for ever, and not necessarily for the good. You will carry the scars of war, which I guarantee there is no glory in. Hopefully, you won’t me killed or physically marred, that you will never live a normal life. Go visit a VA hospital if you can.

If you want to serve mankind, consider becoming a lay missionary with one of the established missionary orders.

I believe the current actions of the US government in Iraq, are immoral and as a Christian, I can’t recommend this path.

That being said, I was told the same thing when I enlisted in the Marine Corps, back in 1970. God kept me out of combat, which I thank him for. But I saw the scars combat caused to others, it isn’t worth it, especially in unnecessary wars carried out by incompetent leaders.


It was mentioned in my post #8.

I live a normal life. The majority of veterans live normal lives. Just like a lot of people think that Vietnam vets are all drugged out living under highway overpasses.

Nothing can be further from the truth. As will all vets the majority of Nam vets live perfectly normal lives.
Thank you for being a Marine-God Bless.

So i basically told my family i wanted their support because i was going to join the army. They ended up telling me that they DONT support the troops or the government, that the troops are a bunch of puppets and have no freedoms, and that i was going to end up with post traumatic stress disorder or a handicap. At the end i told them, im joining either way because this is what i want to do, im not going to follow what you want me to do just to make you happy, because in the end i will look back at the decision i made and regret not joining. Basically my mom says she is going to support me as a mother till i turn 18, then im on my own, and they all said that they wouldnt come to my basic training graduation.

I requested that they talk to a recruiter and they said a recruiter wasnt welcome in the house and that they wouldnt go see one…I want to find info to prove to them that not all vets are injured, and some live perfectly normal lives. I thank you for your help. The worst thing is that they said they wouldnt come to graduation or send me letters while i was in basic…i will just have to live with it if i cant change their minds.

I suspect things will change once you actually enter basic training. It appears at this point they’re trying to bully you out of joining.

Serving in the military is an honorable profession. and there is no evidence veterans have any more long-term mental problems than the general population. There is some evidence that perhaps 20% of combat veterans take a few months or a year to readjust to civilian life.

Blessed are the PeaceMAKERS.

It does not say Blessed are the Peaceful. Peacemakers means that there is a time for war…and a time for peace…(also in the Bible.)

You will be a PeaceMaker. And I thank you in advance for protecting me and my family. :slight_smile:


There is a saying that a soldier “gives up his rights that we may have ours.” There are limitations in terms of the Bill of Rights. These limitations are basically a matter of national security. There are certain things that a person simply does not talk about. On the other hand, another saying has to do with a soldier’s right to complain. Just as we voice our opinions about the Church on this forum. it is not necessarily going to change the way things are.
You maintain the right and duty to vote as a citizen. During Basic Training you will be told about your rights. You wil learn a little about the military judicial system and the right to appeal within that system. You will learn the protocol to follow if you have a legitimate greivance. You are definitely not a puppet. They teach in Basic Training your responsibility to disobey an illegal order. When you go into the military, you bring your conscience with you. I found a greater opportunity to use my initiative within the Army Reserve than in civilian work and this initiative rewarded. Consider what it is like to work in a factory in which you are only a peg in the system and initiative is discouraged.

I agree, the majority of VN vets live normal lives. However, there is no denying that anyone who served in combat will see things that scar them in some way. I have never met a combat vet who told me that it was the greatest experience he ever had, and would recommended it to anyone. Quiet the contrary. They’ve all told me, you’re better off that you never had to see it.

Did you see combat?


We all experience things in our lives that scar us in some way or another. That’s one of the ways we strengthen and we grow. What was Ronald Reagan’s line? Something about knowing so many people who worry if they have made a difference during their lives and that “Marines don’t have that problem.”

I do hope the OP’s parents change their minds about meeting with a recruiter. I was VERY concerned when my youngest daughter wanted to join the Marines, and speaking with a woman officer made a great impression on me. Her time of service, as well as that of her husband, and my other son-in-law in the Air Force, has been positive for them in many ways, despite the hardships. And, yes, Jim, there are battle scars involved – my baby girl was at the Pentagon on 9/11 and her husband served in Kosavo, while my young Airman was sent to the Middle East in 2002 following the attack on our nation.


We all experience things in our lives that scar us in some way or another. That’s one of the ways we strengthen and we grow.

If combat were an enriching experience, veterans would recommend it as part of life. They don’t.

What was Ronald Reagan’s line? Something about knowing so many people who worry if they have made a difference during their lives and that “Marines don’t have that problem.”

Serving in combat, especially in an unnecessary war, will do more harm than make a difference that is positive.


do hope the OP’s parents change their minds about meeting with a recruiter. I was VERY concerned when my youngest daughter wanted to join the Marines, and speaking with a woman officer made a great impression on me. Her time of service, as well as that of her husband, and my other son-in-law in the Air Force, has been positive for them in many ways, despite the hardships.

And, yes, Jim, there are battle scars involved – my baby girl was at the Pentagon on 9/11 and her husband served in Kosavo, while my young Airman was sent to the Middle East in 2002 following the attack on our nation.

I can understand why you have to stay positive, with respect to this war. It would kill me, if one of my children were killed or maimed in this incompetently run event, especially if I had encouraged them to enlist.

I pray for you and your loved ones!


Yes Jim, many times . If anyone is against war it’s a soldier because soldiers have to do the fighting.

[size=3]The majority of my combat was in Central America in the 1970’s and 1980’s also did DMZ duties in Korea 1974, and two more tours in the eighties. First time in combat; Central America 1976 as a troop, last time Gulf War as a platoon sergeant.

I’m a professional soldier and I’m trained to a job and that job is fundamentally to kill the enemy. I would volunteer if a combat mission came up so did the people I worked with. We were kind of different from the person that only came in for three years or so.

Will combat change a person? Yes. Did combat change me? Yes. You just have to bite the bullet and live with it. Some need physiological help, others don’t, some seek God, some seek drugs and alcohol. I never did seek any professional help I never need it.

For a while I did worship the bottle and quickly found out it was a waste of time and money. By that time I wanted to be a professional soldier and I knew I would never be a good one if I got drunk every night.

For me today I can watch a movie or TV show that has nothing to do with combat at all and I will start to tear up and think about some of my passed experiences. It’s weird.

I know some Vietnam vets that will tell you that Vietnam was the best experience they ever had. My brother who was a grunt straight leg infantry shake and bake hated the Nam so I guess it depends on your tour. I do know not everyone was Rambo.

What is good about our military we get that extra gravy of education you can receive if you choose to get it. I get shocked when I hear about some of the atrocities that I hear about. I know from Basic Combat Training we were trained on what not to do. Like never harm non-combatants and that was trained in the early seventies.

When I first came in the military the attitude was kill’em all let God sort them out. By the time I went on the retirement rolls in the nineties the soldiers were much more professional and would hold their fire and check out the situation first.

I believe that the all volunteer military has worked.[/size]

It is true that nobody recommends combat as a positive experience. My father never spoke about his experiences in Korea. I dealt with the aftermath of my husband’s experience in Vietnam.
When people talk about the positive aspects of the military, they speak of the discipline and the comraderie. I was in service during a time of peace. Like CPR and First Aid, any combat skills are learned with the hope that they will never be used. We know that currently that is not the case. We see “wounded warriors” not receiving the care they need. Men and women are serving on two battlefronts. There are tensions revolving around the possiblity of more. Tours are being extended because the military is overextended.
During my father’s 22 years of service, he never carried a weapon. That accomplishment is not so easy today. Weapons training is given to men and women alike during Basic Training.
My sister has her own concerns regarding one of her sons. Her worry is that my family’s luck will not hold. None of us has been maimed or killed as a result of military action.
The closest was my youngest brother. He was reported dead three times. Thankfully, because he was the company clerk the reports of his being shot off a roof at such and such a time had to go through him. He told a story of one bullet nipping his nose and another that followed the curvature of his helmet. My mother was a woman of prayer and there is no doubt that it is her prayers that kept us safe regardless of where we might be.
At my brother’s funeral last year, I gave my sister my Shroud of Turin Medal for her son. I had already shared with her the story of the 91st Psalm that I learned about while making my Cursillo.
As mentioned in an earlier post, the Army does provide humanitarian care. Your recruiter can help direct you toward the most likely MOS (Military Occupational Specialty). Medics serve a dangerous but necessary role. It is important that you have anything your recruiter promises put into writing.
Nobody claims military life to be an easy life. I still like the description the chaplain gives of soldiers arriving on the road to Jericho and stopping the beating of the man who according to the Good Samaritan story was left on the side of the road.
As mentioned in my initial response, the Lord did ask me to give up my military career. Continue in prayer for where and how He would have you serve Him.

thank you for all your comments! This is really helping me out. Continue! I would also like to add that when i enlist there is going to be a new commander in chief, so we have no way of knowing whether or not the war we are in will change in a positive or negative way. Please dont forget that we are training iraqi military over there, helping them build and renovate schools and necessary buildings, training a police, helping establish a democratic government, providing medical aid to the occupants, and hunting down terrorist groups. And i understand that some civilians dont like the americans(due to anti-west views) and will take up arms against us, and quite honestly, if someone points a gun at me with intent of harm, whether or not he is a civilian or terrorist dont expect me not to shoot him. The military is fighting 2 people over there, the terrorist groups we were sent their to get rid of, and the citizens that took up arms because they were against the U.S coming into their land.(btw, the later group has shown great signs of improvement due to the help that the military is providing.) Whether it is a matter of justified war or not, it all comes down to whether or not you want to believe the propaganda that you hear or the truth that we really are making a difference over there.

Thank you for all the support, and God Bless

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