U.S. Army tries to stop Priests from reading at the pulpit
The Army eventually reversed course, but it still resulted in the Bishop's letter being censored.


This is another major blow to religious liberty. I really am astonished at this.

On Thursday, January 26, Archbishop Broglio emailed a pastoral letter to Catholic military chaplains with instructions that it be read from the pulpit at Sunday Masses the following weekend in all military chapels. The letter calls on Catholics to resist the policy initiative, recently affirmed by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, for federally mandated health insurance covering sterilization, abortifacients and contraception, because it represents a violation of the freedom of religion recognized by the U.S. Constitution.

The Army’s Office of the Chief of Chaplains subsequently sent an email to senior chaplains advising them that the Archbishop’s letter was not coordinated with that office and asked that it not be read from the pulpit. The Chief’s office directed that the letter was to be mentioned in the Mass announcements and distributed in printed form in the back of the chapel.

Archbishop Broglio and the Archdiocese stand firm in the belief, based on legal precedent, that such a directive from the Army constituted a violation of his Constitutionally-protected right of free speech and the free exercise of religion, as well as those same rights of all military chaplains and their congregants.

Following a discussion between Archbishop Broglio and the Secretary of the Army, The Honorable John McHugh, it was agreed that it was a mistake to stop the reading of the Archbishop’s letter. Additionally, the line: “We cannot — we will not — comply with this unjust law” was removed by Archbishop Broglio at the suggestion of Secretary McHugh over the concern that it could potentially be misunderstood as a call to civil disobedience.

The AMS did not receive any objections to the reading of Archbishop Broglio’s statement from the other branches of service. Continue Reading.

Archbishop Broglio has visited us twice. He is a good man. Please pray for him and for our nation.
So not only were chaplains told not to read the letter, but an Obama administration official edited a pastoral letter . . . with church buy-in?

Didn’t people flee across an ocean-sized pond to be free of this kind of thing?
Chaplain Donald L. Rutherford is the Army Chief of Chaplains, and he is a Roman Catholic priest.  It sounds like there may be a little struggle going on here as to who is actually in charge, the Major General Rutherford of the Bishop. 
I do not condone what happened at all, but I think I can provide a different "slant" as to why this happened.

For those of you who may not have served (and I don't mean that to sound condescending). obedience is very much stressed in the Army (can't speak for the other branches). They beat it into your head; it doesn't matter if you like the President, soldiers have to be willing to obey his orders without hesitation. So anything that can remotely appear to be a call to defy the president, or anyone in your chain of command for that matter, is quickly squashed.

Additionally, I can tell you that the Army is very sensitive to the religious needs of its soldiers. Even in basic training, religion was a priority. I was not a Catholic when I was in the Army, but I remember going to church on Sundays (while I was in basic) just so that I could get away from the drill sergeants. It was like the only power you had over drill sergeants; they knew that if they prevented you from attending religious services, they would get nailed. Churches and chaplains are everywhere soldiers are, and if a soldier wants to go to Mass, no one's going to stop him (unless he has an absolutely important mission to go on, and even then they will make sure he can go once he or she has completed their mission). One of the first training sessions I received when I became a non-commissioned officer was religious sensitivity training. So the Army does not like to get in the way of religion.

Is it suspect that Secretary McHugh altered the letter? Yes. But I would bet money that had the letter been read as written, some officer or NCO would have reported it anyways (even Catholic ones sitting in the pews). In their minds, it's all about combat readiness.

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