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Is it moral to take The Oath of Enlistment for service in the armed forces of the United States. It is a solemn oath before God to support and defend the U.S. Constitution. Would this be a moral act considering the U.S. Constitution provides for freedom of speech, freedom of religion, separation of church and state and at least implicitly denies the Kingship of Christ and the Catholic Church as the one true religion?

The Oath of Enlistment:
"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."
It is moral.

The very fact that for more than two centuries of Catholics could take that oath without any qualm of conscience should indicate that there is nothing wrong with the oath.

Firstly, one is not by this obliged to accept every last principle in that Constitution, but to defend those who would try to undermine the republic which is based on it. It does not demand that one say "freedom of religion is a good thing". 

The "separation of Church and State" is a twisted principle but does have some truth to it. There is a distinction between Church and State since each have diverse ends which are linked. The practical reality of a secular government favoring no religion at all is certainly against the Catholic ideal, but in the pluralistic society that is the US is a practical reality, as much as Catholic France tolerated the Huguenots for a time out of a practical necessity.

Just because you see serious flaws in your spouse that need to be corrected eventually does not mean that it is immoral to make those vows by which you are married. Defending that marriage and her does not require that you support and encourage her flaws. Neither does the Oath of Enlistment require that he who takes it to profess that freedom of religion or other flawed ideas are morally good and principled things. It just requires that one defend and support the institution which was created by the Constitution to the extent required by moral and human law.
(11-29-2018, 03:12 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: [ -> ]It is moral.

The very fact that for more than two centuries of Catholics could take that oath without any qualm of conscience should indicate that there is nothing wrong with the oath.

Firstly, one is not by this obliged to accept every last principle in that Constitution, but to defend those who would try to undermine the republic which is based on it. It does not demand that one say "freedom of religion is a good thing". 

The "separation of Church and State" is a twisted principle but does have some truth to it. There is a distinction between Church and State since each have diverse ends which are linked. The practical reality of a secular government favoring no religion at all is certainly against the Catholic ideal, but in the pluralistic society that is the US is a practical reality, as much as Catholic France tolerated the Huguenots for a time out of a practical necessity.

Just because you see serious flaws in your spouse that need to be corrected eventually does not mean that it is immoral to make those vows by which you are married. Defending that marriage and her does not require that you support and encourage her flaws. Neither does the Oath of Enlistment require that he who takes it to profess that freedom of religion or other flawed ideas are morally good and principled things. It just requires that one defend and support the institution which was created by the Constitution to the extent required by moral and human law.

Thank you for the advice, MagisterMusicae! I do plan to enlist with the National Guard. I suppose I was just being scrupulous.

Do you have any sources you could point me towards that would help me discern whether acts are moral or not. I am having a lot of trouble with this, I do not understand the underlying principles. My spiritual director told me not to overthink things and that it is usually self evident whether or not something is a sin, but I just don't know where the line is.
(11-29-2018, 02:56 PM)roverbeck Wrote: [ -> ]Is it moral to take The Oath of Enlistment for service in the armed forces of the United States. It is a solemn oath before God to support and defend the U.S. Constitution. Would this be a moral act considering the U.S. Constitution provides for freedom of speech, freedom of religion, separation of church and state and at least implicitly denies the Kingship of Christ and the Catholic Church as the one true religion?

The Oath of Enlistment:
"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

I have taken that and similar 'oaths' over the years without hesitation. It is an oath to a thing, a 'Caesar-like' thing a thing second to God ("One Nation under God..."), not above.

Then, as Jesus said; 

NAB: Luke 20: 22-26 Wrote:22 Is it right that we should pay tribute to Caesar, or not? 23 And he, aware of their malice, said to them, Why do you thus put me to the test? 24 Shew me a silver piece. Whose likeness, whose name does it bear inscribed on it? When they answered, Caesar’s, 25 he told them, Why then, give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s. 26 And they said no more; they were full of admiration at his answer, finding no means of discrediting his words in the eyes of the people.


A country is in control, physically, by 'Caesar'. It is an oath, before God, who is ultimately in control, but is a 'witness' to the oath. One would not want to violate their allegiance to God, that is primary and the oath is limited in scope, since we only take an oath to the concept of a government/governance as expressed in the Constitution. It does not come between you and God or your orders would be unlawful. You can't have two masters and God is always the 'Head Master'.

Bear in mind, there are literally thousands of priests and a few bishops of The Catholic Church who are or have been Military Chaplains (Commissioned Federal Officers), who have taken the oath with out exception to the wording. Are they all in sin? I doubt it and I doubt any 'officer' or other government official who has taken this or other 'government' oaths, is in grave sin at all because of that oath. How one carries out that 'office', under that oath is an entirely different situation.