Guardians of the Spirit

“Chaplains and psychiatrists are not only spiritual counselors: Americans also perceive them, rightly or wrongly, as guardians of the spirit, as guides to right thinking and proper behavior (in this way psychiatrists resemble chaplains more than they do other physicians). The veterans were trying to say that the only thing worse than being ordered by military authorities to participate in absurd evil is to have that evil rationalized and justified by guardians of the spirit. Chaplains and psychiatrists thus fulfill the function of helping men adjust to committing war crimes, while lending their spiritual authority to the overall project.”

HOME FROM THE WAR: LEARNING FROM VIETNAM VETERANS —ROBERT J. LIFTON, MD, DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHIATRY, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL

One thought on “Guardians of the Spirit

  1. Al S

    The prescribing of SSRI to calm backfires and causes mass killings. That’s the difficulty of allying a spiritual sheath to psychiatric practitioners. There is much that goes against basic catholic morals when a Father Chaplain attempts to convince there is Just War. The need for self defense is understandable, the need for initial aggression is not. Because a perception of danger can surface, it is not the reason for military suppression of such, before it is actually manifested in enemy action. Leaders who so advocate are taking upon themselves judgements left better to individual commitment. Each individual, whether the ability to do so is suppressed or not, has an ability and responsibility to judge for himself whether to engage in war, whether self defense demands it. Our Lord gave us this free choice, that propaganda in many forms can dim this freedom of choice, notwithstanding.

    Reply

Leave a Reply to Al S Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.