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US: The Archdiocese for the Military

The Archdiocese for the Military is not applauded by all WAISers. John Heelan says:"Given the unethical behavior of the Archdiocese of Boston (and others around the world) dealing with peace-time matters, one fears for the ethical behavior of an "Archdiocese for the Military" dealing with bellicose matters in these troubled time. "Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition" as they used to sing in a previous World War".

Tom Sancton says: "I was amazed to learn that there is such a thing as an "Archdiocese for Military Services." It raises very troubling questions about separation of Church and State in the U.S.--alongside the Presidential Oath of Office, the great seal of the U.S., swearing on the Bible, and, of course, the omnipresence of religious language in public speeches by the President and countless other American political figures. Viewed from France, where separation of Church and State is a reality that was won after more than a century of revolutions and restorations, the intrusion of religious ideology, sentiment, iconography and language on the political life of our Republic appears hypocritical bordering on ludicrous".

RH: A long list of Google entries gives abundant information about this complex organization. It parallels the civilian organization. Here is a brief description: "The Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA is commissioned to provide the Catholic Church's full range of pastoral and spiritual services for those in uniform and federal employment overseas. It serves military personnel and families at 220 installations in 29 countries, patients in 172 Veterans Administration hospitals, and is responsible for federal employees serving in 134 countries. Numerically, the Military Archdiocese is responsible for ministry to more than 1.2 million Catholics. These people are served by over 1,000 priests. The priests serving full-time as chaplains are on loan from 51 dioceses and religious communities. The archdiocese receives no funds from government sources, and unlike arch/dioceses, it cannot tax its chapel parishes". "Federal employment overseas". That would include the State Department. I wonder if the scandals which have hit civilian archdioceses have also hit the military dioceses, of which I gather there are many, just as there are of the civilian Church. The military archdioceses seem to be organized into one super-archdiocese.

Ronald Hilton - 12/11/02