Proper Roles and Behavior for Catholic Men
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Catholic Christian Men in the Military
A man who is a devout Christian can be a member of the military in good conscience. Men are rightly called upon to defend their nation against dangers and aggressors of various kinds. Some just military actions are not so much a war as a military intervention. Such actions are just if they do not deliberately harm or target non-combatants, and if the use of force is commensurate with the needs of the mission. Sometimes larger scale action is necessary, even to the extent of war. A war can be just, if it is carried out in a just manner and for just and compelling reasons.

There are two types of military action: offensive and defensive. Soldiers can justly defend themselves and their nation and their nation's allies. Soldiers can also, in some circumstances, be called upon to defend any innocent person or group. Such just actions must be carried out in a just manner and for a just reason.

Soldiers can also, in some circumstances, be called upon to take offensive action. A just war, and just military action in general, is not only defensive. For example, in World War II, the Allies took up the offensive on D-day, conducting a large-scale invasion of territory held by the enemy. Smaller offensive action can also be justified, with a just means and a just end. It is not necessary, in order for a war to be just, for the just nation or group to be on the defensive. For example, prior to World War II, the Allies would have been justified in making a pre-emptive strike against the enemy, on the grounds of the overwhelming danger to a great number of free and innocent persons.

Men in the military are called upon by God to be good examples of what a man should be. Men in the military should not swear excessively, should not use pornography, should not have sexual relations outside of marriage, and should not use drugs or commit any criminal offences. Men in the military should encourage other soldiers, of the same or lesser rank, to behave honorably and justly, and to excel at the skills and knowledge needed by soldiers.

Some men in the military are leaders by reason of rank. Men of higher rank must encourage, instruct, and advise soldiers under their command. Men of higher rank must give just orders, and must ensure that their orders are clear and practical. Men of higher rank must discipline those under their command, sometimes harshly, but they must always ensure that such discipline is ultimately beneficial to the one disciplined. Also, orders and discipline must be accompanied by instruction, encouragement, and advice.

Should women be soldiers?

God intends men and women to have different roles in the Church, the family, and society. Men are meant to have roles of teaching, leadership, and authority over other men and over groups that include men, women, and children. Women may have authority over other women and over children. Men are intended by God, when necessary due to the sinfulness and violence in this world, to be soldiers who defend their nation and who defend what is good against what is evil. In a society that is well-ordered according to God's will, there would be no women soldiers.

Now God called Joan of Arc to a role in the military, even to lead the men of the army of France. But He did so as an exception, because of the disorder in a sinful world. Such is the case also with Deborah. She was leader in order to put to shame the men who were not taking their proper roles. So also, this may be the case with you and some other women in the military. In a society in perfect order according to God's will, there would not be women in the military. Because of the disorder in society, women are permitted by God to enter military service as this improves an otherwise worse situation. But it is not the best situation either. I believe that some women are called, and others are permitted, by God to enter military service. But only because, in a disorderly society, it improves an otherwise worse situation.

Unfortunately, in the present situation, some women have rank and authority over men in the military. It is contrary to the will of God for women to have rank and authority over men in the military. However, when such is the unfortunate case, the men under such authority must still obey. But they should also understand that a well-ordered military would have no women in authority over any men.



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