What an example
Colorado Springs, Colo., Mar 10, 2009 / 10:11 pm (CNA).- Archbishop of Denver Charles J. Chaput addressed Catholic cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs on Monday, telling them the military profession is “honorable” and urging them to become virtuous leaders who serve their country best by serving God first.
The archbishop discussed war, the nature of obedience, and the need to recognize that people matter more than things.
Referring to Homer, W.B. Yeats and Robert E. Lee’s comments on war, Archbishop Chaput acknowledged that war is “tragic,” “brutish,” and a sin “against our brothers, against god and against our own human dignity. The archbishop noted that despite its “hideousness” war also demands noble traits such as skill, discipline and self-sacrifice.
He said war began with “our turning away from God in Genesis,” causing a “permanent dilemma” where Christians must pray and work earnestly for peace despite knowing that wars will take place.
“Peace is not simply the absence of war. Peace is the presence of justice,” he explained. “The irony of human affairs is that sometimes evil is so pressing and so destructive that the innocent can’t be defended except through the cost of blood and lives.”
Virtuous military leaders are “vital” in defending a free people, the archbishop said, because securing peace and conducting war are “morally loaded enterprises.”
“This is also why the military profession is not simply necessary or useful, but honorable,” he told the Air Force cadets. “It’s why your vocation as future military officers matters. It’s why your lives matter – to serve God by serving other people in the vocation He calls you to.”
“A life lived honorably always bears fruit in the souls of the people who follow us,” Archbishop Chaput concluded. “So live honorably, serve unselfishly, think clearly and love your Catholic faith. We love our nation best when we offer it the best we have -- the witness of our convictions. We serve our country best when we serve God first.”
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