on Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 11.37 am by Peter Owen
categorised as Church of England, General Synod
Reports of Wednesday’s broadcasting debate are linked here and of the ACNA debate here.
On other matters there is this.
Martin Beckford in the Telegraph Church of England warned against thoughtless criticism of Armed Forces by senior padre
While I agree with the “senior padre” about hamfisted theo-political preaching, I wonder if his pointing out that chaplains do not carry arms is a little disingenuous. If the situation is anything like what prevails among the Chaplain Corps of the US Navy, which provides chaplains for the USMC, it is. USN chaplains are also unarmed – but are accompanied by fully armed and trained Religious Programming Specialists (chaplain’s assistants). The difference between shooting an enemy combatant oneself and, say, turning to the person next to you and saying, “RP Smith, be so good as to shoot that man” seems… Read more »
I don’t know the situation of chaplains in the US or UK, but in Canada a) chaplains are unarmed and b) chaplains cannot exercise command over anyone except other chaplains.
An armed chaplain would be a violation of the Geneva Conventions and would invalidate the chaplain’s protectyed status under the Conventions.
Interestingly, those redoubtable clergy who feel called to minister to Gays and dying HIV patients in hospices (a la Francis of Assisi with the local lepers of his day) are under the same sort of evangelical scrutiny as are service chaplains. What is needed in our Churches is that radical openness to everyone that is the commitment of Jesus Christ in the Gospel. The Franciscan Prayer is a constant reminder of the need for a quality of unconditional love that will transform our world and the Church: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let… Read more »
Well, the RPs are there specifically as the chaplains’ bodyguards. I suppose it’s possible that they operate under standing orders to do so without the chaplain actually having to say, “Shoot him, please.” But if Canadian chaplains can’t exercise command over anyone except other chaplains, how on earth do they run an office? Not all RPs serve with chaplains attached to USMC units; most assist chaplains in the fleet with administrative office work, setting up for religious services, and running on-board ships’ libraries. Do Canadian chaplains have to do all their own paperwork, answer their own phones, and do the… Read more »