ACTION ITEM ALERT! Pres. Obama, through a minion, attacks Catholic chaplains once again.

Everyone should know what the Obama Administration is doing to Catholics this time.

I received my most recent copy of the magazine/bulletin of the Archdiocese for Military Services called Salute (that link will bring up a pdf of the article I am going to talk about).

In the March issue there is a by John L. Schlagter, the General Counsel for the Military Archdiocese, called “Update on AMS protecting Chaplains’ religious freedoms“.

First, the Obama Administration censored Catholics in the military.  Now, one of Pres. Obama unelected underlings, the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, has by his master’s fiat, let Catholic chaplains know that, in the wake of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, chaplains may now officiate at same-sex “marriages”.

From the fact that if they “may”, then they in time “must”.

Not only that, the Obama Administration is obliged to uphold federal law.  This note to chaplains directly undermines the Defense of Marriage Act, which is still the law.

There is legislation which you should know about.  Check this out HERE.  Get in touch with your congressman and senators.

This is the “Military Religious Freedom Protection Act”, HR 3828.

Pray for our Chaplains and for Archbishop Broglio.

 

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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33 Responses to ACTION ITEM ALERT! Pres. Obama, through a minion, attacks Catholic chaplains once again.

  1. Darren says:

    Absolutely! One of the priests of my parish, with our bishop’s approval, has applied to be a military chaplain.

  2. ContraMundum says:

    No evidence was ever presented to show that “the Obama Administration censored Catholics in the military”. What happened was that chaplains were requested not to read a letter at Mass; none of the direct quotes ever made it an order. Apparently most — maybe all — of the chaplains complied with this request, but if so, they were just complying with a request. If you’ve got evidence to show that it was more than a request, please give it.

    The situation is grave enough that no hyperbole is required.

  3. Pingback: Obama Administration Attacks Catholic Chaplains–Again! | An Ex-Con's View

  4. plemmen says:

    Linked at my blog. I predicted long ago that this was the intent of the Obama Administration all along. With DADT and the HHS mandate, direct attacks on the Church as a method to de-emphathize belief and undermine the moral authority of the Church so as to supplant it with a Satan inspired delusion. Time to redouble our prayers.

  5. chantgirl says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that the military doesn’t really make “requests”. A “request” to not read a letter from the pulpit could probably be read between the lines to be an order. When my brother, who is a Marine was asked to volunteer for his third deployment (Afghanistan), it was implied that if he did not volunteer, he would just be told to go. He volunteered.

  6. tealady24 says:

    This no-good began his administration by enforcing the Mexico City Policy. He has no problem with killing! His way is to have everyone doing exactly what he tells them (them=you) to do.
    What about despotism don’t people understand?

  7. ContraMundum says:

    @chantgirl

    Orders are orders, and requests are not.

  8. disco says:

    This is outrageous. Soon the president will order that only ordained ministers from the American catholic patriotic association will be admitted as military chaplains.

  9. aviva meriam says:

    In the military culture, not complying with a ‘request” can be very detrimental to one’s position.

  10. ContraMundum says:

    Are we talking about PFC’s, or are we talking about chaplains?

    A Catholic priest has to be a Catholic priest first and foremost. If he’s there for a “military career”, he’s trying to serve two masters — and Someone warned long ago of how *that* is going to turn out.

    Do you really think that a Catholic chaplain would get into more trouble for declining this request than the priests got into who read Mit Brennender Sorge from the pulpits of Nazi Germany? If a priest had said, “Reading Mit Brennender Sorge might be very detrimental to my position, so I’m going to skip it,” would that man be worthy of the respect given a priest?

    All you’re doing is convincing me that EITHER the Catholic chaplains saw no need to read the letter in the first place (I don’t think they were under orders from the military archbishop to do so), or they are a bunch of cowards. Cowardice does not fit well into military culture either, by the way.

  11. robtbrown says:

    ContraMundum says:
    Cowardice does not fit well into military culture either, by the way.

    Cowardice in the face of the enemy does not fit well into the military culture. Cowardice in the face of superiors, however, is not a detriment to a military career.

  12. aviva meriam says:

    “Do you really think that a Catholic chaplain would get into more trouble for declining this request than the priests got into who read Mit Brennender Sorge from the pulpits of Nazi Germany? If a priest had said, “Reading Mit Brennender Sorge might be very detrimental to my position, so I’m going to skip it,” would that man be worthy of the respect given a priest? ”

    With as much respect as I can muster, I beg you not to equate the current situation with that of Nazi Germany. I fear that cheapens the example of Nazi Germany. We need to pray and work towards preventing a downward spiral that would lead to a Totalitarian society similar to Nazi Germany, The USSR or the PRC.

    I think a Chaplain has to accept that he serves God within a military culture. Ergo, he must comply to certain extent with that military culture…. and of course that means he must make judgement calls. Whereas in the past, there may have been issues that created conflict for them, now it appears as if the current administration is escalating its pressure through policies that might make service as a priest or chaplain within the military impossible for men obedient to Faith. That would amount to a huge loss for our country.

    Regardless, within that military culture, a formal request is a very difficult thing for anyone to ignore without peril.

  13. ContraMundum says:

    @rotbrown

    OK, there appear to be only four possibilities.

    1. This was not an order, and the request was not a real problem. Then it’s not a real problem, and we should not be worrying about it.
    2. This was not an order, and the request *was* a real problem. Then the chaplains caved under weak pressure and sinned. That doesn’t motivate respect.
    3. This was an order, but the order was not a real problem. Then it’s once again not a real problem.
    4. This was an order, and the order *was* a real problem. Then the chaplains caved under somewhat greater pressure and sinned. It’s still pretty pathetic behavior.

    Choose which of the 4 you think best describes the situation.

  14. ContraMundum says:

    @aviva meriam

    If Fr. Z wants us to think that the whole request thing is a foreshadowing of imminent tyranny, then the comparison with Nazi Germany is entirely apt, only American priests are falling short of the standard set by the Germans. If the Nazi Germany comparison is too extreme (which I agree it is), then let’s stop pretending that a 2nd Obama term would be the equivalent of the Enabling Act. But let’s be consistent: If this was an important matter, it’s one in which the chaplains failed disgracefully. If it was of no particular consequence, then it’s not a sign that Obama has plans of being a dictator.

  15. APX says:

    @Chantgirl
    The RCMP here in Canada have a term for such circumstances- “voluntold”.

  16. ContraMundum, have you ever served in the military?

  17. robtbrown says:

    Contramundum,

    It doesn’t seem to have been a order, so 3 and 4 are out. In so far as it seems to have been a problem, 1 is also eliminated.

    That leaves #2, but I disagree with your comments about the consequences being only moral. Although it may have not been moral for priests to follow the “request” and discourages respect, that is not relevant legally. What we are concerned with is whether the rights of the Church and military clerics were subtly violated: Does not following a “suggestion” negatively impact a chaplain re promotion, assignment, etc.

    BTW, that has been the MO of the post Vat II Church Divine and natural rights are canonically recognized, but withheld by superiors, incl bishops–easy examples of Latin liturgy and concelebration come to mind. Unfortunately, JPII used the same tactic re capital punishment.

  18. Tantum Ergo says:

    Anybody who can’t recognize that we’re sitting in a simmering pot being swiftly brought to a boil, and is not willing to hop out is going to “croak.”

  19. acardnal says:

    When I was in the military, the saying was “you’ve been voluteered to . . . .” fill in the blank.

  20. aviva meriam says:

    @ robtbrown
    Thank you for the essential clarrifications. The legal principles are what we mut focus on. What would happen to priests serving as chaplains in the military if they did NOT honor the formal, written request? Even in a large civillian organization, it is very difficult for an employee to ignore a formal written request by his/her superiors. Within the military, the difficulty of refusing is that much more difficult.
    The number of priests and protestant ministers who were martyrs during Nazi Germany, the USSR, the PRC and within the Arab World is staggering…. but the reality is that they serve as examples for all of us because their faith lent them the courage to “do the right thing”…. I wonder how many of us would have the courage of a Martin Niemoller, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, or Bishop von Galen? All priests are HUMANS…. flawed, mortal humans who have responded to God’s call. They deserve respect for that fact in and of itself.
    A Second term for any president leaves him a lame duck… unaccountable to the voters at a future time for decisions. Ergo, he does not have to worry about the electoral ramifications of his policy decisions.

  21. ContraMundum says:

    @Sean P. Dailey

    Your point appears to be that if I have never been in the military, I cannot possibly understand how coercive it is. Severe penalties follow if you don’t toe the line, even if toeing the line means doing something that is objectively sinful. If I have not been subject to this temptation, how could I possibly understand?

    Well, in fact I have not served in the military. (That was my plan at one point in high school, but God had other plans for me, but that’s another story.) However, you may be shocked to learn that I am nonetheless familiar with temptation of many different kinds. All too often I succumb to temptation, but the fact that I was tempted does not excuse me; nor does it excuse anyone else, though it may give reason to pity them. And as for consequences to careers, I have in fact suffered setbacks, including losing a job, for refusing to do something I thought was unethical.

    Now let me ask a similar question of you: Have you ever been a priest? If not, how could you possibly understand the extra responsibility to set a good example, even if it means martyrdom? Not that martyrdom, or even “white martyrdom”, was exactly on the table for these chaplains. Frankly, I expect more from Catholic chaplains than “the gospel according to AFRTS”: Obey your superiors and have a nice day.

    What I have not heard in any of this is any chaplain come out and say, “I think this was an unreasonable and serious intrusion into the internal workings of the Church. We should not have been asked not to read this letter.” If they saw this as reasonable and no big deal, then I don’t have to be in the military to accept their judgement. If they saw this as unreasonable — something that asked them to fail in their duties as priests — I would want to know how they responded and what the consequences were.

  22. Centristian says:

    “If Fr. Z wants us to think that the whole request thing is a foreshadowing of imminent tyranny, then the comparison with Nazi Germany is entirely apt, only American priests are falling short of the standard set by the Germans. If the Nazi Germany comparison is too extreme (which I agree it is), then let’s stop pretending that a 2nd Obama term would be the equivalent of the Enabling Act.”

    You can take the boy out of the Reichstag, but you can’t take the Reichstag out of the boy. Some band sang those lyrics once upon a time. Can’t remember which band it was. Spirit of the West, maybe? I think so.

    I’m not sure that “must” necessarily follows “may” in this case, to be honest, but that hardly matters. This administration is a sad and failed collection of arrogant incompetents (lead by a Nobel Peace Prize winner who lifted not a finger to earn the honor) who are destroying this country by the astonishing stupidity and ineptitude that flows from their absurdly undue narcissistic self-congratulatory pride at having won an election against an unappealing grumpy old man and his genius of a running mate. The Carter administration glimmers radiantly by comparison to this zoo. To be honest, I think the men and women in this White House (many of whom are but boys and girls, incidentally) are too daft to connive to become tyrants, but they’ll manage to bumble their way into it, just watch. Enough of them will be at least smart enough to recognize it and hold on to it when it accidentally falls into their lap, the jerks.

    There are enough reasons to say goodbye to this impossibly bizarre team as things stand right now. I think it’s a good idea to remind ourselves, however, that the Addams Family will not on their own move out of the White House that they currently haunt, simply because those of us who aren’t ghouls don’t care for their gray and deathly policies and positions. They and Lurch and Thing and Uncle Fester and Cousin It will all need to be forcibly pushed out the door…with votes.
    Not with fears and worries and grumblings and indignation. With votes.

  23. robtbrown says:

    Contramundum,

    All you have to know about military life is that, unlike civilian occupations, it is impossible to go outside the organization for promotion. A dissatisfied lawyer, sales rep, computer programmer, et al, can always seek employment elsewhere. It is only after 20 years that someone in the military has any career leverage.

  24. ContraMundum, I am not sure what point you are trying make in your response to me. But above that, you seemed to be saying a suggestion in the military is not the same as a direct order. If you are trying to draw that distinction, you are wrong.

    I served in the Marines. I know the other branches are not as intense as the Marines, but the same basic principal holds. If the platoon sergeant says to his men, “I want the field day on this barracks completed by 1700, ” or “The CO wants this field day completed by 1700,” yes, technically, he’s expressing a desire (or the CO’s desire), but no one in his right mind would ever take that as anything other than an order, and the barracks will be squared away by 1700.

    What holds true at the platoon level holds true higher up, and a written “suggestion” from the Commander in Chief constitutes an order, whether you like it or not.

    I am not a priest. Are you? Well, even if you are, you are not a military chaplain, since you admit to not being a vet or currently serving. Given that, would it not be best for you to not rashly judge Catholic military chaplains to be cowards? Do you even have any idea what might be going on internally about this whole issue, or what Archbishop Broglio might be trying to accomplish on the behalf of his chaplains’ and all presently serving Catholics?

  25. I committed a double negative above. Please disregard one of the “nots” in the 4th sentence of my last paragraph. Thanks.

  26. ContraMundum says:

    @rotbrown

    First of all, that is not even true. For example, it is possible for a pilot to leave before he has his 20 years and get a commercial job. I think they usually prefer to stay in until retirement, but it’s just not true that they’re unemployable until they reach retirement.

    Or maybe you’re talking about my amazement that none of the senior brass resigned in protest of what Obama is doing to the military? But remember, in that instance I’m talking about *senior brass*. These are guys (or gals) who already have their 20 years, so their retirement (1) would be noticed and (2) could happen at any time. (No one would notice the absence of a junior officer who has served out his commitment, and in fact when senior officers do something embarrassing, they are given the hint that it’s time for them to retire, NOW.)

    None of this has anything to do with the original topic. A “promotion” for a priest is to become a monsignor, or (more meaningfully) a bishop. That “career ladder” is not under the control of the military.

  27. The Cobbler says:

    “Cowardice in the face of the enemy does not fit well into the military culture. Cowardice in the face of superiors, however, is not a detriment to a military career.”
    Cowardice in the face of superiors is, however, a detriment to the military itself. Bearing in mind that one must give them the benefit of the doubt and that there are other extremes, as always.

    “The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools.” ~Thucydides

    @ContraMundum: I took Mr. Dailey’s point to have nothing to do with the morality of the matter, partly because I’ve read him before and he’s just not stupid enough to suggest what you thought he suggested, but also as your original demand had nothing to do with the morality of the priest either — did you not ask, to begin with, how one can claim that censorship is occuring if all we have heard of is a request, and is not the possibility of unofficial repurcussions relevant to that point regardless of the priests’ response to any (official or unofficial) censorship?

    Mind, I do think it may very well be pointless to argue about censorship when the real question is whether those in the Church have the balls to stand with her in the face of the whole world; but that’s an entirely separate discussion, I think.

  28. robtbrown says:

    .ContraMundum says:

    First of all, that is not even true. For example, it is possible for a pilot to leave before he has his 20 years and get a commercial job. I think they usually prefer to stay in until retirement, but it’s just not true that they’re unemployable until they reach retirement.

    Not really.

    First, only a small percentage of career military are pilots. Second, the demand for civilian pilots changed with 9-11. Before then, there were big problems with Air Force pilots leaving, mostly because they were habitually being TDY’d (6 mos) with no family move, then returned for a month or two, then TDY’d again. That was combined with increasing demand for commercial pilots. After 9-11 the demand for commercial pilots fell off, and a lot of them returned to the military. The demand never really has returned.

    BTW, I play tennis with a woman whose husband led the first Stealth Fighter mission.

    None of this has anything to do with the original topic. A “promotion” for a priest is to become a monsignor, or (more meaningfully) a bishop. That “career ladder” is not under the control of the military.

    A promotion for a military office is to the next rank. That is true for a priest and a layman. No Catholic chaplain wants to spend 18 years in the military and still be a Captain. In fact, without promotion, it is likely that he would be released from active duty.

    Senior brass are not those with 20 years of service, but usually 27+. BTW, almost every morning at mass I see several friends who are ret Army, among whom: 1 ret LTG (3star), at least 3 ret Col (one the 1st Medal of Honor recipient from the Viet Nam war), and a couple of ret LTC (one also a MoH recipient).

    If you want more: I played high school football with someone who later became Chief of Staff of the Army (he wasn’t very good at the time but later started in the Sugar Bowl). One of my football buddies at West Point Prep was later the 3 star on TV from Ft Hood having a presser about the Saddam capture. My bro in law is a ret Army LTC (Airborne Infantry, Ranger, Green Beret, 3 tours in Viet Nam). My two best friends in high school both went to West Point–one is now a ret Colonel, the other was killed in Viet Nam less than two years after graduating. A few years ago I saw the action report of his death: Stark–personal information, location of the action, the letters KIA scrawled in a large blank space, then a box checked beside the words “Body Recovered”. Another high school friend became a JAG BG.

    I am no fan of Obama, but I know that life under Dumsfeld created more problems for the Army than what is happening now. I know that many are disgusted with multiple deployments to the ME, but those with 20+ are more likely to leave than those not yet eligible for retirement.
    Very often, the decision whether to stay in is a function of the next assignment. As a matter of fact, one tennis buddy, a West Pointer, told me that he would get out at 20 even if he didn’t have enough time in grade to ret as an LTC.

  29. wanda says:

    Senator contacted today. Congressman tomorrow.

  30. SKAY says:

    Will contact my Republican House member and Senator. I wonder if there is a companion bill in the Senate?
    I will also contact my Democrat Senator–but I would be surprised if she agreed.

  31. SKAY says:

    My Congressman is a co-sponsor of HR 3828 in the House.

    There is no companion bill in the Senate. I requested that my Republican Senator become a sponsor of a companion bill in the Senate when I called his office.
    Perhaps others could do the same.

  32. ContraMundum says:

    @rotbrown

    If you really want to contradict the first part of my statement, simply say, “No, someone with military experience has absolutely no useful skills for the civilian sector and is unemployable until he has 20 years of service.” Why 20 years of service should magically make him employable I leave to you. This whole statement is divorced from reality though; most veterans have plenty of useful skills.

    I used pilots as an example. As you point out, the market for any given skill may go up or down. A lot of civilians are noticing that as well. If you’d rather, we could discuss civil engineers or electrical engineers; the same idea applies. These are useful skills, and veterans have as good a chance as anybody at landing a job.

    This is as far as I’m willing to chase that rabbit, though. The fact is that a chaplain is not like a civil engineer. Well, maybe a Baptist chaplain is; when he leaves the service, he might need to look on his own for a Baptist church that needs a pastor, or he might start his own church. But Catholic chaplains, if I understand correctly, are only given to the military archdiocese “on loan”. When a Catholic chaplain leaves the military, he doesn’t have to look through the want ads; he returns to his home diocese and is given an assignment by his bishop. This is his real vocation — to the priesthood, not to the military. Holy Orders makes an indelible mark on his soul; his military status and rank do not.

    It is possible that a particular priest values his military rank more than his priesthood. We have had men like that from the very beginning. They are called “bad priests”. Likewise, some value their ethnicity, or political influence, or wealth, or any of a number of other things more than their priesthood. Mammon is only one of the other masters that a man might choose to serve, but still no man can serve two masters. If the master he chooses to hold to is his rank, and the master he chooses to despise is Christ, then it would have been better for him if he had never been ordained. And probably if he had never been born.

    Someone with 27+ years of service also has 20+ years of service. Of course, “senior brass” do not become such just by longevity, they have to be politicians, too.

    I’ll ignore your attempt to impress me with your family and friends in the military. I can play that game, too, but frankly that’s pathetic. If Patton himself were your father-in-law, or even if you were Patton yourself, it would not change anything in this discussion about military chaplains.

  33. Everyone: Call your congressman.