“Are you still there? Did I do something wrong? I need to know…”

For your intense consideration:


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. stephen c says:

    Thanks for posting this wonderful video. By the way, I have intensely considered the questions raised in the video for awhile, even before I returned from my foreign war back in the last century (a return that was accompanied by very few smiles, hugs, or expressions of thanks – I used to care about that, but I don’t anymore). Anyway, having seen the video, my first thought is that I really wish there were no women in any military ever anywhere – any normal person who watched the video from beginning to end would almost certainly agree. Second, the drama of the video had a lot to do with a soldier’s alleged concern and worry for what the people back home were thinking. This struck a false note for me. Look, anyone who has people back home who love them and deeply care a lot for them is lucky and abundantly blessed in this world, is in fact almost in a sort of heaven in this world, no matter whether they are away from home because they are soldiers or for any other reason, and we really don’t need to feel sorry for them, no matter how sad the background music on the video might sound (assuming of course that they come home safe and healthy). Just as importantly, someone, soldier or not, who is far away from where he used to be, but who can’t really be said to be away from “home” because nobody cared for him all that much back where he used to be and so he really does not have any real home on earth to be away from ( and at my stage of life I have to say that I have realized that this is the case for, if not most people, for a vast minority of people) – such a person is even more blessed because I believe God teaches those people first what a heaven on earth it is to rely on God alone.

  2. catholiccomelately says:

    Stephen c ….. can I ask about your circumstances? How could we pray for you or support you? Or others who are vets? May I ask why you you wish women would not be in the military? (I am sympathetic … not challenging.) I am interested in your experiences. (Both my Dad and
    oldest son are Air Force vets.)

  3. Andrew says:

    my first thought is that I really wish there were no women in any military ever anywhere

    That’s what came to my mind as I started to watch this video. My brain is not able to process the idea of a woman in combat. I am instinctively inclined to protect and shield women from every danger of physical harm.

  4. olivia says:

    Is there a place where we can send letters of thanks to “A U.S. Soldier” that you would reccommnd, Fr. Z? I have 4 children who are great at making cards. Just a little note to say “thank you” for being away from home so that we can live as we do.

  5. rollingrj says:

    Olivia: The USO would be a good starting point for your request.

    While family and friends are their anchor, I wonder if hearing from a complete stranger would also be a morale booster.

  6. Bob B. says:

    I, too, can’t imagine having a woman next to me in combat. In Vietnam, there were, of course, female nurses and rarely others. I suppose this reticence has to do with what would probably happen if they were captured – after what the VC did to their own people and what the Iraqis did when the US was there, it seems a logical conclusion. My brothers and I were raised with the rule of protecting women and those who can’t defend themselves. Opening doors for women, etc, too.
    Having received a “Dear John” while in Vietnam, it would have been potentially devastating if it hadn’t been for my Faith, a night of Jim Beam (which I can’t stomach at all anymore) and my buddies to help me through it.

  7. Cordelio says:

    From Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene VII

    Cleopatra asks Enobarbus why he is opposed to Cleopatra’s presence in battle.

    Cleopatra Thou hast forspoke my being in these wars,
    And say’st it is not fit.

    Domitius Enobarbus Well, is it, is it?

    Cleopatra If not denounced against us, why should not we
    Be there in person?

    Domitius Enobarbus [Aside] Well, I could reply:
    If we should serve with horse and mares together,
    The horse were merely lost; the mares would bear
    A soldier and his horse.

    Cleopatra What is’t you say?

    Domitius Enobarbus Your presence needs must puzzle Antony;
    Take from his heart, take from his brain, from’s time,
    What should not then be spared.

    As was well recognized centuries ago, women literally embody the future of a society – the thing for which the society fights in the first place. When women are on the battlefield, it usually means the real battle for the future of that society is already lost.

    Also, a practical matter, women will distract the attention of the men from where it needs to be.

    Put more succinctly, as Father Christmas tells Lucie Pevensie in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, “battles are ugly when women fight.”

  8. Priam1184 says:

    @stephen c You are right in the sense that our journey on this earth is a pilgrimage; this is not our home. Some of us make that journey with a large troop of kind and wonderful souls around us most of the way, and others do not. But we are all brothers since we do in the end arrive at the same place: standing naked and alone before the judgement seat of God Almighty, and none of us should EVER forget that.

    Pax tecum frater.

  9. Bea says:

    Andrew says:
    18 July 2014 at 8:21 am
    my first thought is that I really wish there were no women in any military ever anywhere

    My first thought, too, Andrew. (with the exception of nurses caring for the wounded.)
    If women abandon the hearth, who keeps the home fires burning?
    Our world is out of balance because genders no longer know or follow their roles in life.
    Equality does not mean equal.
    Women were not physically made for combat, just as men were not made for motherhood.
    Our equality lies in our chance for salvation, for heaven, not in our roles on earth, because precisely following our roles on earth, lies our salvation.

  10. Thank you to all who serve and who have served.
    Having had military family and friends, it is a relief for all when they make it home safe and whole. Let’s not forget gratitude to those who return disabled, and those who don’t return at all.

    In addition to military, there are civilians working for U.S. agencies who also risk their lives for us – and some of those too have died in the line of duty.

  11. Phil_NL says:

    I must say this gets a bit too philosophical for my taste (yes, my PhD is not in philosophy itself).

    One can argue if it’s wise if women are in combat roles when, like the US now, there is no serious shortage of manpower and wars are basically waged the way they are because we find it immoral to carpetbomb the entire country instead (which would solve the problem better, most likely).

    But when the shit really hits the fan, when you wage war for survivial, it’s everyone to their battlestations – women included. They can hold a gun and fire it just as well, and even if they couldn’t, they’d still be drafted in an existential struggle. Look no further than the Israeli’s for that.

    T age where women were by definition non-combattants is over, if it ever truely existed.

  12. Dustin and Jamie P. says:

    This was tough to watch. Wonder if they have anything like it for Navy? We are currently nearing the end of a 6 month submarine deployment. It’s been quite difficult. Little to no communication and very few ports. Worst of it is, husband gets no sacraments at all.

    Anyway, about women in combat. I think it’s a moot point. We can argue all day, but women are still out there. The best support we can give them is prayers, love and the same encouragement we give the men (care packages, cards, etc.).

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