Thursday, May 29, 2008

War Stress's Take Toll on Military Chaplains

From this morning's NYT:

Just as it has claimed so many other members of the military, the war in Iraq has taken a toll on chaplains. Although they do not engage in combat, chaplains face the perils of war as they move around Iraq to visit troops. None have been killed, but some, like Chaplain Brunk, have been wounded. Many report post-traumatic stress disorder and other stress problems.

In the past year, the Army has begun to recognize those problems among chaplains and is ensuring that those suffering from stress disorders receive medical treatment at military hospitals.

The work these people do is tremendously difficult, far harder than parish or chapliancy work stateside. I served as a civilian member of the Department of Defense for seven years and had the opportunity to work with many uniformed members. I greatly respect what we ask them to do. If I had been younger when I began the ordination process, and if don't-ask-don't-tell had not been in place, I might well have thought about the chapliancy corps.

Pray for our military chaplains and all those whom they serve.

Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


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