Archbishop lauds military service, calls for new Christian knighthood
October 27, 2010
In a brief lecture delivered October 25 at the United States Air Force Academy, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver praised military service as a potentially ennobling vocation and called for a new Christian knighthood.
“Military service is a vocation, not simply a profession,” he said, adding:
The word “vocation” comes from the Latin word vocare, which means to call. In Christian belief, God created each of us for a purpose. He calls each of us by name to some form of service. No higher purpose exists than protecting other people, especially the weak and defenseless. This is why the Church, despite her historic resistance to war and armed violence, has held for many centuries that military service is not just “acceptable.” It can also be much more than that. When lived with a spirit of integrity, restraint and justice, military service is virtuous. It's ennobling because – at its best – military service expresses the greatest of all virtues: charity; a sacrificial love for people and things outside and more important than oneself. It flows from something unique in the human heart: a willingness to place one's own life in harm's way for the sake of others.
“The Church needs men and women of courage and Godliness today more than at any time in her history,” the archbishop concluded. “So does this extraordinary country we call home in this world; a nation that still has an immense reservoir of virtue, decency and people of good will. This is why the Catholic ideal of knighthood, with its demands of radical discipleship, is still alive and still needed. The essence of Christian knighthood remains the same: sacrificial service rooted in a living Catholic faith.” “A new ‘spirit of knighthood’ is what we need now -- unselfish, tireless, devoted disciples willing to face derision and persecution for Jesus Christ. We serve our nation best by serving God first, and by proving our faith with the example of our lives.”