By Tom Quiner
Marc was stationed in Afghanistan for thirteen months.
The place sounds like a living hell. He said you never knew when violence could erupt. Marc, a friend of mine, was there to rebuild roads. His unit wasn’t there to destroy; they were there to build. And yet an invisible sniper took aim at Marc one day and pulled the trigger.
The bullet headed for his brain. By the grace of God, it missed, but not by much.
Marc heard it whizz by, shockingly close to ending his life.
This is but one of the stories he has to tell about being stationed in that hellhole known as Afghanistan. Others are much worse. He witnessed things you just don’t want to have to ever see in a lifetime.
And yet our soldiers do. No wonder they return home carrying such emotional (and physical) baggage.
Like twenty-five percent of our soldiers, Marc is Roman Catholic. He said Eucharist was his lifeline to sanity. Because only eight percent of military chaplains are Catholic, soldiers have sporadic access to this central sacrament of their faith. Marc was stationed in a place where he could receive it once a month. Some soldiers stationed in remote areas might only receive once a year.
When you know you might die tomorrow, or today, the Sacrament of Communion is particularly foundational to maintaining sanity.
It appears the government shutdown is going to affect soldiers’ access to the Sacrament of Communion. To compensate for the shortage of Catholic chaplains, the military contracts non military priests to serve Catholic soldiers. Now there is no money to pay these priests. Evidently, priests are saying they will continue to serve without payment, but the Obama Government says no.
Writing on behalf of the Archdiocese of the Military Services USA, John Schlageter said:
“With the government shutdown, many GS and contract priests who minister to Catholics on military bases worldwide are not permitted to work – not even to volunteer. During the shutdown, it is illegal for them to minister on base and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so.”
In keeping with their modus operandi to hurt the little guy during the shutdown, the Obama Government actually threatens to arrest Catholic priests who wish to volunteer their services to help our soldiers.
The Obama Government has consistently cast themselves in an adversarial relationship with the Church. This latest action is but their latest. Their disdain for the Church is only rivaled only by their disdain for the Republican Party. Banning priests from serving our soldiers is a win/win move for an administration that relishes hurting the little guy.