Whats does the Catholic church think about joining the Armed Forces? is it a sin?


#1

Ive always wondered because many years ago my dad was recruited to the army in the time of the civil war in El Salvador. Does god forgive those who have commited a sin that they didnt want to make? they only way out of that army in that time was moving to a different country.


#2

Of course not. It is not a sin to be in the armed forces, especially if one is recruited or forced to do so. Killing for a just cause is not even a mortal sin, as in if one is in the army and must defend themselves or their country, it is not a sin. Although the Commandment says though shall not kill, it really means though shall not murder or kill unintentionally such as manslaughter. Committing an act that one did not have control over is not a sin. Here is a link to the Just War Doctrine


#3

Thanks that helped alot :slight_smile:


#4

No, although my personal recommendation for Catholics would generally be to steer clear of the armed forces in America; I don’t find the lifestyle very conducive to family life given the strains it often puts on relationships, I think Catholics are often forced to do things they don’t want to do in the environments of a war (besides fighting in unjust wars), and dangerous jobs in general are usually inadvisable unless there are no other alternatives if someone has a family to provide for.


#5

No-not a sin at all. I am in the armed forces myself and a single mother of three children, two living with me. I am an air force veteran and a reservist, currently in Japan doing my annual tour. No, not at all a sin. :thumbsup::D


#6

We are called to lay down our lives for our neighbor.

John the Baptist warned those who were coming to him for baptism." Every tree that does not bear fruit will be cut off" Fearing their job would prevent them from bearing fruit.The soldiers asked " What about us, what shall we do?" John taught them to be happy with their pay, no extortion. He didn’t teach them that they had to stop being soldiers.


#7

I was in the USAF only four years, but certainly didn't find anything about life in the AF any more conducive to sin than in any other profession. And it was a lot more rewarding in terms of job satisfaction that a lot of civilian jobs.


#8

thanks all for your responds. :) I appreciate it


#9

milarch.org/site/c.dwJXKgOUJiIaG/b.6287817/k.3DFD/Home__Archdiocese_for_the_Military.htm


#10

[quote="ChiRho, post:4, topic:248889"]
No, although my personal recommendation for Catholics would generally be to steer clear of the armed forces in America; I don't find the lifestyle very conducive to family life given the strains it often puts on relationships, I think Catholics are often forced to do things they don't want to do in the environments of a war (besides fighting in unjust wars), and dangerous jobs in general are usually inadvisable unless there are no other alternatives if someone has a family to provide for.

[/quote]

The only unjust war in American history is the forced relocation of Native Americans during the 1800's. Every other declaration of war has been fully justified in the defense of other innocents.

Catholic Chaplains of the military outnumber every other denomination, and many of them are some of the most orthodox priests that you will ever come across. Catholics make up the single largest religion that people in the military profess to belong. More soldiers have "Catholic" stamped on their dog tags than any other religion.

Most Catholics in the military have a much greater sense of the own mortality than Catholics in the civilian world. Abortion does not exist in the military, and contraception is not widespread, because there is virtually no demand for it. Servicemembers are not foolish enough to believe that they can wait until the ideal time to start a family. The divorce rate is high among other religions in the military, but among Catholics, it is lower than the divorce rate of Catholic civilians.

I don't know where you are getting your information, but it doesn't square with reality. By your definition, Catholics should not be in any service profession, whether law enforcement, fire and rescue, emergency response, diplomacy, or intel. Plenty of blue collar professions can be considered dangerous by that standard. The Church has never taught that Catholics have an obligation to avoid risk, but only to consider it with the obligation to the family. The idea that professional (keyword) risk in service of others is irresponsible for the family has never been a teaching of the Church.


#11

[quote="ahollars, post:10, topic:248889"]
The only unjust war in American history is the forced relocation of Native Americans during the 1800's. Every other declaration of war has been fully justified in the defense of other innocents.

[/quote]

The caveat of course is that most "wars" have been undeclared. I'd be interested to learn how Vietnam and Iraq were just wars. Furthermore, many other actions in war have been clearly unjustified, such as the atomic bombings or the firebombings of Dresden and other German cities.

[quote="ahollars, post:10, topic:248889"]
The divorce rate is high among other religions in the military, but among Catholics, it is lower than the divorce rate of Catholic civilians.

[/quote]

source for this?

[quote="ahollars, post:10, topic:248889"]
The Church has never taught that Catholics have an obligation to avoid risk, but only to consider it with the obligation to the family. The idea that professional (keyword) risk in service of others is irresponsible for the family has never been a teaching of the Church.

[/quote]

It may not be a teaching, it's my opinion on the matter and I didn't claim it to be Church teaching. It doesn't make sense for a father (or mother) to place his life in danger unnecessarily, and the strain it puts on a family can be hard to bear.


#12

[quote="ChiRho, post:11, topic:248889"]
The caveat of course is that most "wars" have been undeclared. I'd be interested to learn how Vietnam and Iraq were just wars. Furthermore, many other actions in war have been clearly unjustified, such as the atomic bombings or the firebombings of Dresden and other German cities.

source for this?

It may not be a teaching, it's my opinion on the matter and I didn't claim it to be Church teaching. It doesn't make sense for a father (or mother) to place his life in danger unnecessarily, and the strain it puts on a family can be hard to bear.

[/quote]

Have you experienced military life personally?


#13

[quote="PatriceA, post:12, topic:248889"]
Have you experienced military life personally?

[/quote]

Am I a member of the armed forces? No. Are many of my extended family in the armed forces, and do I live in a high-density military area, and come into close contact with service members? Yes.


#14

[quote="ChiRho, post:13, topic:248889"]
Am I a member of the armed forces? No. Are many of my extended family in the armed forces, and do I live in a high-density military area, and come into close contact with service members? Yes.

[/quote]

Okay. I just realized you were right about what I mentioned about Catholics and the military. My experience is Army, and the comparisons I noted should be limited to just the Army. I cannot speak on the other branches since I did not have daily or close interaction with them. Do you happen to live near an Army post or is it somewhere else?


#15

[quote="ChiRho, post:13, topic:248889"]
Am I a member of the armed forces? No. Are many of my extended family in the armed forces, and do I live in a high-density military area, and come into close contact with service members? Yes.

[/quote]

Well as a military spouse, I found your "opinion" quite naive and ignorant of the many fine Catholics that serve in the military services.


#16

[quote="ChiRho, post:11, topic:248889"]
The caveat of course is that most "wars" have been undeclared. I'd be interested to learn how Vietnam and Iraq were just wars. Furthermore, many other actions in war have been clearly unjustified, such as the atomic bombings or the firebombings of Dresden and other German cities.

[/quote]

Occurrence of a war crime does not mean that the war or cause of war is unjust. I stand by my statement.

Perhaps you didn't know the Japanese were planning nuclear attacks as soon as they had a weapon, and someone had to win the race, or that Nazi blitzkreigs only stopped when we responded in kind. Tell that to someone British.

As for Iraq, I was in Kuwait before 9/11, and containment was not working. Saddam broke all the terms of his surrender from the Gulf war of '91... every single one of them. That alone was cause to remove him, WMDs or not (I believe sarin gas artillery shells are a WMD).

History can judge other wars, but I don't need the media to reference something that I was personally part of.

One other thing, I've read your other posts, and I'm seeing a pattern.


#17

[quote="ahollars, post:16, topic:248889"]
Occurrence of a war crime does not mean that the war or cause of war is unjust. I stand by my statement.

[/quote]

And with Vietnam?

[quote="ahollars, post:16, topic:248889"]
Perhaps you didn't know the Japanese were planning nuclear attacks as soon as they had a weapon, and someone had to win the race, or that Nazi blitzkreigs only stopped when we responded in kind. Tell that to someone British.

[/quote]

The instances I was referring to were directly targeted at civilians. Are you really justifying this?

[quote="ahollars, post:16, topic:248889"]
As for Iraq, I was in Kuwait before 9/11, and containment was not working. Saddam broke all the terms of his surrender from the Gulf war of '91... every single one of them. That alone was cause to remove him, WMDs or not (I believe sarin gas artillery shells are a WMD).

[/quote]

I'll side with the Vatican on this one, and I have doubts that Iraq is really better off. Better with Saddam gone? Of course. Better with hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths? Doubtful. I don't think the United States should take out every evil person on earth (and Saddam was evil) because it doesn't work out like governments wish, as evidenced by our poorly planned invasion. There were 0 WMDs, Saddam had no plans, and all of the early justifications for the war were embarrassingly disproved. Of course the later ethereal justifications are the ones people talk about now "bringing democracy" etc. Not exactly the makings of a just war

[quote="ahollars, post:16, topic:248889"]
History can judge other wars, but I don't need the media to reference something that I was personally part of.

[/quote]

Unsurprisingly, it's uncommon for those involved in a conflict to say that it was unjust, because the insinuation is that they participated in injustice. That's not really what I'm advocating -- it's not possible for the average soldier to have the same knowledge or culpability as their commanding officers.

[quote="ahollars, post:16, topic:248889"]
One other thing, I've read your other posts, and I'm seeing a pattern.

[/quote]

That's passive-aggressive and means nothing


#18

[quote="PatriceA, post:15, topic:248889"]
Well as a military spouse, I found your "opinion" quite naive and ignorant of the many fine Catholics that serve in the military services.

[/quote]

I don't deny that there are many fine Catholics in the military, I was simply saying I think it is better not to join


#19

My personal opinion is that most people would benefit from spending at least a few years in military service.


#20

-ChiRo

Forgive me if I sound a bit condescending or rude on here but being a forum you cant tell a tone of voice etc and I mean no disrespect towards your own opinions- you have the right to them.

Many nations all around the world get involved in conflicts with other nations etc for many different reasons, not just the US. Its not like our leaders and others around the world are just sitting around just hoping for the chance to send troops somewhere. Military forces around the world execute operations to maintain a degree of world order and security. There are people out there in the world who would gladly kill you just because you are an American ( I'm assuming you are, correct me if I'm wrong). Somebody yesterday actually tried to convince me that 9/11 was a government conspiracy, and that made me quite upset.

If you feel that Vietnam was an unjust conflict, what do you think about these points: We entered Vietnam to help contain communism. Communists are atheistic, repressive, and just in general have a lower value on human life. Vietnam today is a communist nation- ask the average vietnamese citizen how they feel about the war and what they think about almost non existent labor/human rights there. Really think about it because some vietnamese child most likely made some of the clothes on your back and some other products in your house.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.