Skip to comments.Catholics Seek to Boost Number of Priests Serving as Chaplains
Posted on 01/06/2012 7:31:53 AM PST by marshmallow
WASHINGTON Spc. Joe Murphys job in Afghanistan was to hunt down the things his fellow soldiers hoped theyd never have to encounter.
As part of a route-clearance team that combed the roads connecting Bagram Airfield to outposts in the region, the 23-year-old Iowa National Guardsman gained a close-up familiarity with roadside bombs. Understanding the devices that insurgents have used to kill thousands of U.S. and allied troops in the last decade didnt make them any less terrifying.
Heading out on dusty patrol, Murphy said, You wonder if you might die today.
The threat didnt inspire Murphy to fatalism. Instead, it intensified his longing for the familiar rituals of the Catholic faith hed practiced in weekly Masses since childhood confession to a priest, the sacrament of communion and the quiet time spent in prayer and meditation in front of an altar holding the consecrated Eucharistic wafer.
When you are able to go to Mass, it relaxes you, he said. It lifts your spirits no matter what the situation is.
Searching for bombs day in and day out, Murphy needed the reassuring hand of his faith more than ever, but because of a worsening shortage of Catholic chaplains in Afghanistan and throughout the military, it had never been more difficult to practice it.
The only time in Afghanistan I ever saw a priest was on large bases, and I wasnt on large bases very often, Murphy said. He estimated he attended Mass three times during his nine-month deployment in 2010 and 2011.
Catholics, the largest avowed faith group among U.S. service members, have among the lowest availability of chaplains of any religious group in the military. The ratio of practitioners to Catholic chaplains lags far behind other major Christian denominations, as well as Judaism and Islam.
(Excerpt) Read more at stripes.com ...
**Catholics, the largest avowed faith group among U.S. service members, have among the lowest availability of chaplains of any religious group in the military.**
Exactly what I heard at the Serra club Conference I attended that featured entirely military chaplains. Even the Archbishop of the Military. It was awesome!
I have heard the US Catholic Chaplaincy has long refused to follow Summorum Pontificum instructions and provide soldiers access to the Latin Mass.
Can any military Freepers confirm or deny this?