Category Archives: War Veterans

Retreat for Veterans

I am not sure if they are doing it again this year, but someone sent this to me and I thought it was worth posting.

A Retreat for Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Conflicts at Blue Cliff Monastery, November 5-9, 2014

It looks like they also offer the opportunity to sponsor a veteran!

The retreat last year appears to have been led by a former soldier turned monk: Brother Phap Uyen. Here’s an article that features him from the Huffington Post.

Catholic Treatment for PTSD

“Catholic Treatment for PTSD”

I noticed that someone out there Googled this term and arrived at our site. Perhaps this was a veteran or someone who loves a veteran. Whoever you are, I’ll pray for you. I hope you found something of value here, though I worry that we don’t have enough posted to help veterans who are suffering, and their family and friends who want to help them.

One place you may want to check out is the Catholic Peace Fellowship. They have something called David’s Heart Ministry to Veterans, a ministry to former military and their loved ones. Click on the page and you will also see a series of great videos. Hope this is at least some place to start.

Peace be with you.

DSenior_MillerMcCune_MoralInjury

An Invitation to All Catholic Killers

Recently we here at Catholics Against Militarism made a small effort to counter a very troubling article promoting militarism which appeared in the National Catholic Register. The article, by Wayne Laugeson,  was provocatively entitled Catholic, and Killing for a Living, and it was about the “hot topic” of American snipers.

Our email drawing attention to the article and asking for people’s help appeared on the Lew Rockwell blog.

I would like to make a few comments about what I consider to be the most remarkable and disturbing aspect of the article — the emphasis on the Christian, pro-life credentials of the snipers. My comments are directed strictly at pro-life Catholics and Christians who join the military, not police or law enforcement snipers who are in a completely different situation. It is a serious weakness of the article that the author conflates the two different types of snipers.

The basic premise of the article is that being an “American sniper,” including participating as a sniper in America’s foreign wars in Iraq and elsewhere, is all about protecting innocent life and fighting evil, just like being against abortion and part of the pro-life movement.

Jack Coughlin, the Marine Corps sniper who is the principle subject of the article, is a “devout pro-life Catholic.” The people Jack killed were “ruthless killers,” and being a sniper is about saving innocent lives.

Butch Nery, another devout Catholic and Vietnam veteran says that an American sniper defends the “country and the oppressed” and “helps disadvantaged individuals … survive evil aggression.” Nery also says this:

“When you are overseas, and you see some of what the enemy does to innocent women and children, you don’t have any questions about the morality of a sniper’s role in the overall mission.”

And, we are told, police sniper Derek Bartlett believes that the Bible contains many justifications of violence in defense of innocent life in war and peace.

Dave Agata, a “nondenominational Christian,” says that snipers are “mostly a moral pro-life community” and that “an American sniper is someone tactically trained to save innocent lives.” Mr. Agata makes the most dramatic statement about abortion in America:

 “In this country, you can take a young girl to a clinic and pay some butcher to take the life of a baby.”

But for Catholics, of course, this is actually an understatement. Catholics believe that abortion is murder and that this “butchery” has been going on for decades and has taken millions of innocent lives. It is often described correctly by pro-life activists as a holocaust, a genocide and mass murder. Consider that in 2012 alone, the Planned Parenthood clinic on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, where I live, performed nearly 7000 abortions.

It seems to me that our first obligation is to defend the innocent and fight evil right here in our own backyard. If we had a decent, healthy society then Dave Agata’s “butcher” would be arrested and prosecuted and prevented from doing further harm. But who is protecting this ruthless killer?

It is, without a doubt, the U.S. Federal Government that is the most powerful defender and promoter of the abortion industry in our country. If it wasn’t for Roe v. Wade, which overturned state and local authority and made abortion the law of the land for hundreds of millions of people, we would have some state and local governments that would restrict and even abolish abortion.

American Snipers, I am ready to take you at your word that you are devout Catholics and/or pro-life Christians who want to defend the innocent and oppose evil in the world. We are of like mind on this matter. The only thing I hate more than war is abortion. But I believe you are making a terrible mistake. You are devoting your talents and courage and sacred honor to assisting and strengthening our great enemy, the U.S. Federal Government. This government is the enemy of the unborn and the innocent, and I would add that it is also an enemy of peace. Is it that hard to imagine that this amoral, anti-Christian entity which enforces the unjust, diabolical abortion law, might also be engaging in unjust wars? This question is not honestly discussed in the article.

If Catholics and other pro-life folks were willing to non-violently resist Federal power and challenge it with the local authority of states and cities, Church and family, we might be able to establish a beachhead in North Dakota or Alabama, or even in “liberal” Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the two most Catholic states in the union. We might create an example of a state or city with genuinely Christian pro-life laws and values that might spread to other places. But this can never happen as long as good Catholics are so submissive to and entranced by the immensely powerful and increasingly totalitarian central government and its armed forces. In effect, America’s perpetual wars and suffocating militarism serve to distract American Catholics from the fundamental evil of abortion which exists at the core of our society. In order to make inroads against the culture of death, the Catholic love affair with the military and the state must end.

Ultimately, both literally and figuratively, between us pro-life Catholics and the walls of that Planned Parenthood clinic stand the U.S. Army and the Marine Corps.

So obviously I have some serious disagreements with the Catholic snipers and other Catholic soldiers regarding the foreign wars of the US military, but our Catholic Faith and our pro-life commitment should enable us to find some common ground and possibly even work together. I’d like to hear from Jack Coughlin or Butch Nery or any “Catholic killer” who shares their viewpoint. Just post a comment to this blog or use the contact page and I’ll get back to you and we can have a private conversation. Perhaps we can even meet face to face at some point and talk, man to man, brother to brother, Catholic to Catholic. You never know what might come out of such a meeting, since “the Lord works in mysterious ways.”

Recommended further reading:

Christians and the Pro-Life Ploy

 

Jacob David George, R.I.P.

Beloved War Veteran Commits Suicide

This is so tragic. I just stumbled across this online. This 32-year-old veteran killed himself in September. There is really nothing I can think of to write, so I will just write the words that this man said of the VA:

“Do you hear what you’re saying? You’re telling me that you can’t offer me the actual healing rituals and ceremonies that I need, that an entire generation of people needs in order to heal their soul.”

He said that the only healing he experienced when he got back from war came from participating in antiwar and protest activities. The VA said they couldn’t promote that as a form of healing. Of course not. That might suggest that there is something actually wrong with these wars. We can’t have that. Let’s just keep praying for the troops and leave it at that. We wouldn’t want to offend anybody.

The above video is “The Human Cost of War: IVAW Testimony” by Jacob David George from First Unitarian Church on Vimeo.

Here is his original song, “Soldier’s Heart”:

Good News for Vietnam Vets

Thousands of Vietnam-era veterans barred from receiving benefits because of less-than-honorable discharges may be eligible for upgrades under a new set of guidelines released by the Defense Department on Wednesday.

This is the right thing, especially when many of this “less-than-honorable” behavior was the result of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Pat Tillman Anti-War?

Worth Fighting For? by David Swanson is a great article about a book by a former soldier, Rory Fanning, who walked across the United States to raise money for the Pat Tillman Foundation after leaving the Army Rangers as a Conscientious Objector. There is reason to think Pat Tillman turned against the war and had planned on using his fame as a platform to speak out against it upon his return, and so naturally there is reason to suspect that his death was not an accident. Of course, we can’t be surprised to hear this:

“Fanning recounts a conversation with a military chaplain.  Fanning made the case that the whole war was unjust.  The chaplain made the case that God wanted him to do it anyway. “

worth

Penance for Wartime Sins

“I have a priest friend who is preparing a former soldier for reception into the Church, he served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, he saw and did things that deeply wounded him and bears the scars of guilt. We spoke about how to deal with his guilt. Like many ex-soldiers, I suspect he has tried drink, drugs or even psychotherapy, most priests, myself included, might give a penance of a few Rosaries but really rely on allowing him to talk, in my experience this rarely works. Pre-Trent, and possibly in Orthodoxy he would have given a penance that involved a prayer of exorcism of some sort followed by some kind of real penance, public humiliation, an arduous pilgrimage or time in monastery, vigils or fasting. Outward actions, signs and symbols bring about an inward change in our attitudes, our minds and hearts often follow our bodies.

I remember being told of the Compostella Camino after the WWII being revived by former soldiers, sometimes sometimes barefoot, sometimes carrying rucksacks filled with rocks doing penance for wartime sins.”

http://marymagdalen.blogspot.com/2014/06/actions-signs-and-symbols.html