Monday, 6 September 2010

Scandalous neglect of our troops in Afghanistan

I'm not talking here about their material needs (though that too one gathers is a scandalous story) but their spiritual ones.

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!


R J said...

Both in Australia and in America, Catholics make up an exceptionally large proportion of the armed forces (and of the police forces). This business about the chaplains with Australia's military makes me wonder, not for the first time, how much simple vulgar anti-Catholicism of the Norman Vincent Peale kind has determined Australia's recent foreign policy.

How much, for example, was our betrayal of East Timor for 24 years brought about by a Masonic / Israeli lobby in Canberra for which East Timorese, being 99% Catholics, were ipso facto pond scum? (Of course this sectarianism had to be dressed up as a defence of "anti-communist" Indonesia, but given successive governments' total failure to oppose communists in Australia's own universities, trade unions, churches, and media networks, that had to be a joke all along.)

Just askin'. Of course, being a sensitive progressive caring sharing postconciliar Catholic in 2010 I'm aware that really anti-Catholicism doesn't exist, Masonic lobbyists never do bad things, Israeli lobbyists never do bad things, and only evil fascist racist rednecks who drop their aitches ever suggest that such lobbies do.

Anonymous said...

Would that be like the Israeli lobby that controls US foreign policy, by any chance?

+ Wolsey

Terra said...

I hate to spoil a good conspiracy theory, but this is the same bunch of people that can't pay the troops the right amount of money, can't equip them with stuff that actually works, can't even ship the dead back home with honour, and stuff up every major procurement.

The whole Defence establishment needs a thorough shakeup. Of course the couple of people who have actually tried have all lost their jobs....

A Canberra Observer said...

And apart from the good chaps in the Military Ordinariate, might one also theorise that the general wetness of the rest of the Australian Church hierarchy might also be at play here - this isn't a priority when sitting beside global warming etc is it?

And of course, everyone goes to heaven anyway, don't they?