Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services made an appeal to fellow bishops to allow more of their priests to serve as military chaplains.
In a brief talk on the opening day of the U.S. bishops' November 15-18 fall meeting, Broglio said his flock—which includes Catholics serving in all branches of the military, their families, and those at Veterans Affairs hospitals nationwide—is ministered to by only 275 priests, a number that will decline in coming years.
Broglio said that most people serving in the military are between the ages of 18 and 28, and studies have shown that most of those who abandon the faith they were raised in do so before the age of 24.
After their service, members of the military and their families will return to the U.S. dioceses and archdioceses from which they came, "and I would like to be able to return them to you as Catholics," Broglio said.
|A CATHOLIC chaplain presides
at a Mass for military personnel
He also appealed to the pragmatic side of his fellow bishops, noting that about 10 percent of all priests ordained in the United States in an average year have prior service in the military and another 10 percent belong to families in which someone was in the military.
"More priest chaplains [to nurture vocations in the military] will mean more candidates for the priesthood," he said.