I'm not talking here about their material needs (though that too one gathers is a scandalous story) but their spiritual ones.
A Priest Downunder has picked up a story I missed in the Australian, from Angela Shanahan, pointing out that there is no Catholic chaplain posted with our troops in Afghanistan. It is not for want of volunteers (though there is a general problematic shortage of catholic military chaplains) - but because all the available chaplain billets have been filled by protestants...
Yet, according to Shanahan, Catholics make up the largest declared religious group amongst the troops, at 39%.
And so we are asking our soldiers to risk death in a war zone without access to confession and the Eucharist.
This is a truly disgraceful situation, particularly given the increasing death toll.
The problem seems, in large part, to be all about Defence Force bureaucratic intransigence (and thus a subset of a much bigger and very intractable issue).
Do read the whole article.
And once we have a Government again (should that ever occur), write to the Minister of Defence and protest!