Archbishop Edwin O’Brien of the US Military Archdiocese sent a letter to Catholic military chaplains for today’s feast day:
As our preoccupied Nation struggles through the volcanic sights and sounds of war, portrayed live and graphically, a universal prayer is raised for a quick end to hostilities, for the welfare of our troops and for the innocent Iraqi men, women and children whose lives are threatened.
Long after the hostilities cease the debate likely will continue as to the moral justification for the armed force recently initiated by the United States and its allies. It is to be hoped that all factors which have led to our intervention will eventually be made public and that the full picture of the Iraqi regime’s weaponry and brutality will shed helpful light upon our President’s decision.
Given the complexity of factors involved, many of which understandably remain confidential, it is altogether appropriate for members of our armed forces to presume the integrity of our leadership and its judgments and therefore to carry out their military duties in good conscience. Meanwhile, we encourage our military leadership in its scrupulous efforts to avoid innocent civilian casualties and to use no more force than necessary to attain stated goals. Now, more than ever, our prayers are with our President and all those associated with him in decision-making.
The admiration which the members of our military enjoy today has rarely been higher, and rightly so. It is regrettable that it takes a situation such as this to make so manifest the pride in and esteem for our armed forces on the part of our countrymen. The professional values which guide our military are of the highest quality. The personal capacity and willingness to sacrifice self for the good of neighbor permeate our military community, offering unique and welcome witness to our American culture. What respect and gratitude they deserve!
Sounds like Archbishop O’Brien disagrees with the Pope and the Vatican, at least according to how some people interpret the Pope’s comments. (Thanks to Bill Cork for the link.)