Saturday, December 8, 2007

Benedict's New 'Pastor of Souls' for the U.S. Military

Over at Vox Nova, Michael ("Catholic Anarchist") Iafrate conveys his disappointment at Pope Benedict's appointment of a new shepherd for the U.S. Military:
When the news broke that Archbishop Edwin O’Brien was being moved from his position as head of the Archdiocese of United States Military Services to serve the Archdiocese of Baltimore, I was secretly hoping that the Church would use the opportunity to quietly get itself out of the business of serving as chaplain to the American war machine.

No such luck. Meet the new warrior shepherd, Archbishop Timothy Paul Broglio.

Comments were turned off on this particular post, so discussion of this post by the usual suspects (myself included) surfaced at Jay Anderson's Pro Ecclesia.

DarwinCatholic also weighed in with a very good post on the Catholic Church's pastoral obligations to soldiers -- with reference to Fr. Vincent Capodanno, killed while ministering to men on the battlefield in Vietnam, for whom a cause for sainthood has been opened; as well as the testimonies of two Catholic chaplains of the Nazi-era Wehrmacht (German Army).

As for Archbishop Timothy Paul Broglio, the Boston Pilot has further details about his new position as head of the Archdiocese of Military Services:

“I am indeed privileged to take the reins from Archbishop O’Brien,” said Archbishop Broglio at a Nov. 19 news conference at the military archdiocese’s headquarters in Washington.

The new archbishop, who has never been in the armed forces, said he has encountered members of the military in countries where he served in the diplomatic corps. He said his primary goal will be to find more chaplains. Currently there are about 300 Catholic military chaplains serving U.S. troops.

“The greatest resource of our [archdiocese] is our priests,” Archbishop Broglio said. “Chaplains are committed to letting the light of Christ shine.”

In the new post, he will be in charge of the spiritual, pastoral and sacramental care of the 375,000 Catholic active-duty U.S. military personnel and their 800,000 family members; 200,000 Catholics in the Reserves and National Guard; 30,000 Catholic patients in 172 Veterans Affairs hospitals; and 66,000 Catholics in government service overseas in 134 countries.

As the statistics indicate the overwhelming responsibility of the archdiocese is for the personnel of the military services, both at home and around the world. As well as those who are in the care of the Veterans Affairs medical facilities. Equally though the archbishop has the pastoral care of some 66,000 Catholics in United States’ government services across the globe, many of them in diplomatic postings for the United States.

Archbishop Broglio is to be installed as head of the military archdiocese Jan. 25, the feast of the Conversion of Paul, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

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