Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Joining Up During A Time Of War
Next to the priesthood, what higher calling is there for a young Catholic man?

It's come to my attention that the son of a regular visitor to the Lair has just joined the Marine Corps. For the sake of discussion, I'm going to step out of the box.

Here's a young man who's father is a success in his chosen profession, and with that, it goes to say that he very well may be financially well to do. I readily admit that I don't know the family situation all that well, but what we have here is someone who could be best described as a Son of Privilege.

I'm fairly sure that this young man is aware of this... yet he's choosing a rough road for himself. And that's putting it mildly. In all reality, it's a road filled with pain, misery, deprivation and sorrow. And to make this even more baffling, both his mother and father are supporting him. What in the hell would make individuals support such a preposterous notion as this?

I think I know why... they're Catholic.

Right before I retired, I read a report out of the DOD with the various demographics from all the various branches of the Armed Forces, and it had the Corps as the "most Catholic" (40%). That got me to wondering why. Then the glaringly obvious punched me right between the running lights. Catholicism has always stress self sacrifice, always stressed that service to something greater than ourselves is not only admirable and heroic, but in an odd sort of way... in an undeniable Catholic sort of way... demanded of us.

Now I don't want anyone to misunderstand me, It's not that I'm saying that Catholics have cornered the market on patriotism. Far from it. Some of the best Marines I ever served with weren't Catholic.

What I am getting at is that when a young Catholic man has SO MUCH, such safe avenues he can take in his life, such a damn comfortable life to look forward to... I'm really not all that suprised to find out that he's chosen that (very often painful) road less traveled. And why not? Catholics have been doing that for almost 2,000 years.

Oh, and remember that "road filled with pain, misery, deprivation and sorrow" I spoke of? For some whacky reason, it ends up being a road filled with pride, happiness, fullness and joy. Strange how it works out that way, huh?

Father Vincent Capodanno (Congressional Medal of Honor) signs up for Combat Duty with The Marines during The Viet Nam War

Rear Admiral John J. (later Cardinal) O'Connor, USN Chief of Chaplains. Cardinal O'Connor served in combat with the Marines during the Korean War

A Shepherd and his flock. The South Pacific, WWII


Anonymous Franklin Jennings said...


9:20 PM  

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