Military Dioceses

As we have seen in the other pages in this section, the ancient Orders of Chivalry survive, and maintain the religious and charitable spirit of their forebears. But changes in warfare have swept the armored knight from off the battlefield, while political alterations have seen the vast majority of the governments of the Earth enact legislation and policies opposed to the teachings of the Church — and this includes the very few remaining countries where the Church is the “Established” religion of the State. There are, today, perhaps only two armies which may in any sense be called “Catholic,” and both are minuscule: the Papal Swiss Guard, and the tiny army of the Order of Malta. One might well think that the particularly “military” aspect of Chivalry is dead. But one would be wrong.

Coat of Arms for the Archdiocese of the Military

Thousands if not millions of Catholics are under arms today in the uniforms of many different countries. Whereas, in the days of Chivalry, such as these would be expected to shed their blood in defense of the Cross of Christ, today they must do so entirely for the goals of their rulers, whether these be selfish, altruistic, or both — even as in the time of the Roman Legions before the Church was legalized by Constantine. In that era, Catholic Legionaries were among the most effective soldiers serving the Emperor, whom they obeyed just as steadfastly as they refused to worship him. Some Emperors were quite content to allow these men their odd religion, so long as they served well; others attempted to force their Christian servitors to forsake their religion, even if that meant eliminating their best soldiers from the ranks. In some ways, it was a very modern time. But the refusal of those brave men to give up their God led to the martyrdom of many and the first wave of military saints to grace the Church’s calendar.

Color Guard at the 2011 Memorial Mass in Washington D.C.

The Catholic soldier of today, despite the technological changes of the modern battlefield, is as dependent for survival on the Grace of God as ever were any of his predecessors. Moreover, the strains modern deployment can put on family life also requires effective action by the Church. In the Catholic chaplaincies of the World’s armed forces one can see today the same spirit of religious devotion and military fervor that characterized the knights of old.

Historically, this is not too surprising, because the work of priests in accompanying armies does go back much further than the emergence of the modern national militaries. In 742, the Council of Regensburg sanctioned the attendance of priests upon military campaigns to confect the Sacraments for soldiers. St. Louis IX of France was perhaps the first monarch to give a distinct legal status to military chaplains. In 1773, Maria Theresa of Austria arranged for the appointment of a military bishop. Those countries that embraced Protestantism appointed military chaplains of their own faiths: but as the 19th century wore on, and most countries became multi-faith, their military chaplains reflected this. In the United States Catholic Chaplains were banned from the armed forces until the Mexican War; this was one of the reasons for the defection of the San Patricio Battalion (though physical abuse and the looting of Catholic churches by other American troops also contributed). The government in Washington swiftly remedied this situation, and Catholic chaplains served with great distinction on both sides in the Civil War. The year 1864 saw chaplains of all nations and denominations granted non-combatant status. Henceforth, if captured they had to be returned to their own lines, unless they elected to care for POWs.

U.S. Navy Lt. William Dorwart, a chaplain assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), leads a congregation during Mass in San Diego

In the Catholic Church, prior to 1986, those countries with sufficient numbers of Catholic soldiers had “Military Vicariates,” bodies which encompassed all the Catholics chaplains of the nation under a Bishop responsible to the Pope. Since 1986, when Bl. John Paul II issued the apostolic constitution Spirituali militum curae, each national Catholic military chaplaincy has become a “Military Ordinariate;” a diocese in its own right. The military archbishop or bishop is a full diocesan member of the given national bishops’ conference. The boundaries of his diocese cover the entire nation, as well as anywhere abroad his country’s troops may be serving. Often, his cathedral will be a venerable church of long-standing historic connections with the military. The parishes are any chapel where Catholic chaplains minister to soldiers, sailors, airmen, and their families. Under these challenging conditions — made more complex by the extreme mobility of the flock — the bishop and his clergy attempt to conduct as far as possible the normal life of a diocese: liturgy, confirmations, catechesis, pilgrimages, devotions to Our Lady and the Saints (especially the military ones and the patrons of the various branches), counselling, aid to the impoverished, and so on. During multinational peacekeeping missions, the military diocese of the participating nations are responsible for the spiritual welfare of their own soldiers — there are no UN, NATO, EU, or other international chaplains as such , though in such situations chaplains are always ready to assist those of allied countries or enemy POWs.

Lt. William Dorwart, a chaplain assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, baptizes the son of Command Master Chief Mark Rudes and Tina Rudes in the ship's forecastle

These dioceses are generally established by agreement between the national government and the Holy See. Traditionally, whenever a regime was intent on secularizing its subjects, it would abolish whatever chaplaincies — military as well as Parliamentary, university, or whatever — served its people. Today, most governments with a large number of Catholics in their armed forces have come to realize that they fight better when their spiritual needs are served — regardless of how distasteful the regime in question might find the Church’s teachings on, say, abortion or same-sex “marriage.” In practice, the military diocese must work in concert as far as personnel goes with the local government’s Chaplain Corps — not only in terms of employment standards, but also as regards working with chaplains and soldiers of other religions.

All of that having been said, the spiritual life of these formations is often rich and full. Especially for those countries engaged in active conflict, the realization that death may be lurking in the near future adds an immediacy and urgency to military piety. Depending on the country, a number of devotions that the Crusaders would have been familiar with may be found. The reason is simple: regardless of the motivations of the government at war, for the soldier himself the ideals of honor and self-sacrifice are essentials. Regardless of whether the civilian authorities intend to make the world safe for democracy or just to liberate some of the natural resources of a neighboring country, those on the front-line fight for their comrades beside them and for those they leave behind. Whatever the era or the place, one thing always remains constant for the Catholic-in-arms: “Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friends.”

INTERNATIONAL

Spirituali militum curae
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_jp-ii_apc_19860421_spirituali-militum-curae_lt.html

International Military Apostolate
http://www.apostolatmilitaireinternational.com/

EUROPE

AUSTRIA

Military Ordinariate of Austria
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Ordinariate_of_Austria

Military Diocese of Austria
http://www.mildioz.at/

Catholic Chaplaincy of the Austrian Army
http://www.bmlv.gv.at/organisation/beitraege/mil_seelsorge/kath_ms/start.shtml

St. George’s Cathedral, Wiener Neustadt
http://www.mildioz.at/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=96&Itemid=34

Military Church of St. John Nepomuk, Vienna
http://www.mildioz.at/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=23&Itemid=30

Garrison Church, Vienna
http://www.bmlv.gv.at/organisation/beitraege/mil_seelsorge/kath_ms/stiftskirche.shtml

War Memorial Crypt, Vienna
http://www.bmlv.gv.at/organisation/beitraege/mil_seelsorge/kath_ms/krypta.shtml

St. Severin Chapel, Enns
http://www.mildioz.at/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=99&Itemid=36

Military Chapel, Eisenstadt
http://www.mildioz.at/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=98&Itemid=42

Soldiers’ Church, Klagenfurt
http://www.mildioz.at/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=100&Itemid=44

Garrison Church, Goetzendorf
http://www.mildioz.at/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=101&Itemid=47

Military Church, Salzburg
http://www.mildioz.at/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=18&Itemid=26

Soldiers’ Church, Innsbruck
http://www.mildioz.at/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=308&Itemid=96

St. Barbara Chapel, Innsbruck
http://www.mildioz.at/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=309&Itemid=97

Soldiers’ Chapel, Lienz
http://www.mildioz.at/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=447&Itemid=122

BELGIUM

Military Ordinariate of Belgium
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Ordinariate_of_Belgium

Diocese of the Armed Forces
http://www.army-chaplaincy.be/fr/index.php

Co-Cathedral of St. James on the Coudenberg, Brussels
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89glise_Saint-Jacques-sur-Coudenberg

BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

Military Ordinariate of Bosnia-Herzegovina
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Ordinariate_of_Bosnia_and_Herzegovina

Office of the Catholic Pastor, Armed Forces
http://www.mod.gov.ba/en/text.asp?id=53

CROATIA

Military Ordinariate of Croatia
http://www.vojni-ordinarijat.hr/

FRANCE

Diocese of the French Armed Forces
http://dioceseauxarmees.catholique.fr/

Patron Saints
http://dioceseauxarmees.catholique.fr/saints-patrons.html

Cathedral of St. Louis of Les Invalides, Paris
http://dioceseauxarmees.catholique.fr/cathedrale-saint-louis-des-invalides.html

Dome Church of Les Invalides, Paris
http://www.invalides.org/pages/dome.html

Chapel of the Military School, Paris
http://dioceseauxarmees.catholique.fr/chapelle-de-lecole-militaire.html
http://www.aumonerie-ecole-militaire.fr/chapelle/

St. Louis Military Chapel, St. Mandrier
http://dioceseauxarmees.catholique.fr/chapelle-de-saint-mandrier.html

Chapel of Val de Grace, Paris
http://dioceseauxarmees.catholique.fr/chapelle-du-val-de-grace.html

Center of the Priory of Dinard
http://dioceseauxarmees.catholique.fr/prieure-de-dinard.html

Chapel of St. Cyr, Coequidan
http://dioceseauxarmees.catholique.fr/coequidan.html

Church of Our Lady of the Armies, Versailles
http://www.notre-damedesarmees-catholique-yvelines.cef.fr/NOUV/notrehist.html

GERMANY

German Military Diocese
http://www.kmba.militaerseelsorge.bundeswehr.de/portal

Catholic Military Chaplaincy
http://www.katholische-militaerseelsorge.de/

St. John’s Basilica, Berlin
http://www.johannes-basilika.de/

GREAT BRITAIN

Bishopric of the Forces
http://www.rcbishopricforces.org.uk/
http://www.catholicchurch.org.uk/forces

Cathedral of St. Michael and St. George, Aldershot
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathedral_Church_of_St._Michael_and_St._George

Royal Air Force Chaplains Branch
http://www.raf.mod.uk/chaplains/

Royal Army Chaplains’ Department
http://www.army.mod.uk/chaplains/chaplains.aspx

HUNGARY

Hungarian Military Diocese
http://www.ktp.hu/

IRELAND

The Chaplaincy, Irish Defence Forces
http://www.militarychaplaincy.ie/

ITALY

Italian Military Ordinariate
http://www.ordinariato.it/

Patron Saints
http://www.ordinariato.it/jsp/static/patroni.jsp

St. Catherine in Magnapoli Church, Rome
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Caterina_a_Magnanapoli

Church of the holy Shroud of the Piedmontese, Rome
http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiesa_del_Santissimo_Sudario_dei_Piemontes

The Pantheon, Rome
http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantheon_(Roma)

LITHUANIA

Lithuanian Military Ordinariate
http://www.lcn.lt/en/bl/kitoshs/mo/

St. Ignatius Loyola Church, Vilnius
http://www.svignotas.lt/Page/view/id/80/name/Bažnyčios%20istorija

St. Michael the Archangel (Garrison) Church, Kaunas
http://lt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kauno_%C5%A0v._arkangelo_Mykolo_(%C4%AEgulos)_ba%C5%BEny%C4%8Dia

NETHERLANDS

Dutch Military Ordinariate
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niederl%C3%A4ndisches_Milit%C3%A4rordinariat

POLAND

Military Ordinariate of Poland
http://www.ordynariat.wp.mil.pl/pl/index.html

Cathedral of Our Lady, Queen of the Polish Army, Warsaw
http://www.katedrapolowa.pl/

Polish Military Parishes
http://www.ordynariat.wp.mil.pl/pl/340.html

PORTUGAL

Military Ordinariate of Portugal
http://www.ecclesia.pt/castrense/

Memorial Church, Lisbon
http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igreja_da_Mem%C3%B3ria

SLOVAKIA

Military Ordinariate of Slovakia
http://www.ordinariat.sk/

St. Sebastian’s Cathedral, Bratislava
http://www.ordinariat.sk/175/katedrala-sv-sebastiana-v-bratislave-krasnanoch.php?mnu=135

Military Parish of Ss. Cyril and Methodius, Nitra
http://www.dravec.sk/

SPAIN

Military Archdiocese of Spain
http://www.arzobispadocastrense.com/arzo/

Cathedral of the Armed Forces of Spain
http://www.arzobispadocastrense.com/arzo/index.php/iglesia-catedral-de-las-fas.html

Vatican and Military Parish of San Francisco, Cadiz
http://www.vaticanacastrense.com/index2.html

ASIA

INDONESIA

Military Ordinariate of Indonesia
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indonesisches_Milit%C3%A4rordinariat

PHILIPPINES

Military Ordinariate of the Philippines
http://www.cbcponline.org/jurisdictions/m_ordinariate.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Ordinariate_of_the_Philippines

Shrine of St. Therese, Doctor of the Church, Pasay City
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrine_of_St._Therese,_Doctor_of_the_Church

AFP Chaplain Service
http://www.afp.mil.ph/chaplain/home.html

SOUTH KOREA

Military Ordinariate of Korea
http://www.gunjong.or.kr/

OCEANIA

AUSTRALIA

Australian Catholic Defence Diocese
http://www.military.catholic.org.au/

Royal Australian Navy Chaplains
http://www.navy.gov.au/Counselling_%26_Religion

Royal Australian Army Chaplains’ Department
http://www.army.gov.au/PRINCHAP/Welcome.asp

NEW ZEALAND

Military Ordinariate of New Zealand
http://www.catholicmil.org.nz/

AFRICA

KENYA

Military Ordinariate of Kenya
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:RhwCQS-z-vsJ:www.kec.or.ke/subsubsection.asp%3FID%3D19+Military+Ordinariate+of+the+Kenya&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&source=www.google.com

SOUTH AFRICA

Military Ordinariate of South Africa
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Ordinariate_of_South_Africa

UGANDA

Military Ordinariate of Uganda
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Ordinariate_of_Uganda

THE AMERICAS

ARGENTINA

Military Diocese of Argentina
http://www.ordinariato.mil.ar/main.asp

Major Chaplaincy of the Argentine Army
http://www.capellaniamayordelejercito.ejercito.mil.ar/

Major Chaplaincy of the Argentine Navy
http://www.ara.mil.ar/capellania/

BOLIVIA

Military Diocese of Bolivia
http://www.iglesia.org.bo/guiaeclesiastica.htm

BRAZIL

Military Archdiocese of Brazil
http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordinariado_Militar_do_Brasil
http://arquidiocesemilitar.blogspot.com/

Office of Pastoral Care of the Army of Brazil
http://www.exercito.gov.br/web/guest/sarex
http://www.dgp.eb.mil.br/portalsarex/sarexdgp.asp

CANADA

Military Ordinariate of Canada
http://www.cccb.ca/site/eng/dioceses/military-ordinariate

Canadian Forces Chaplain Branch
http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/cfcb-bsafc/index-eng.asp

CHILE

Military Diocese of Chile
http://www.iglesia.cl/castrense/

COLOMBIA

Military Diocese of Colombia
http://www.obispadocastrensecolombia.org/

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Military Ordinariate of the Dominican Republic
http://ced.org.do/historiadelordinatariocastrense.html

ECUADOR

Military Diocese of Ecuador
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Bishopric_of_Ecuador

EL SALVADOR

Military Ordinariate of El Salvador
http://www.iglesia.org.sv/2011/castrense.html

MEXICO

Corporation of Military Clerics
http://clerigoscastrenses.com/

PARAGUAY

Diocese of the Armed Forces and the National Police of Paraguay
http://www.episcopal.org.py/pagina/8/54/0/0/fuerzas-armadas-y-policia-nac.html

PERU

Military Diocese of Peru
http://www.obcastrense.org/

Religious Support in the Army of Peru
http://www.ejercito.mil.pe/index.php?option=com_docman&Itemid=507

UNITED STATES

Archdiocese for the Military Services of the United States
http://www.milarch.org/site/c.dwJXKgOUJiIaG/b.6287817/k.3DFD/Home__Archdiocese_for_the_Military.htm

Catholics in the Military
http://www.catholicmil.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=frontpage&Itemid=185

National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces
http://ncmaf.org/

Military Chaplains Association
http://mca-usa.org/

U.S. Air Force Chaplain Corps
http://www.usafhc.af.mil/

U.S. Army Chaplain Corps
http://www.chapnet.army.mil/

U.S. Army Chaplaincy
http://www.army.mil/info/organization/chaplaincy/

U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps
http://www.navy.mil/local/crb/

VENEZUELA

Military Ordinariate of Venezuela
http://www.ordimil.org.ve/index.htm

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