M.1 I am not much of a believer… how can I find a foundation for my military life? Is it worth believing?
Everyone has their own reasons for joining the military. One day you may ask questions regarding the fundamental reasons why we wage wars. Faith in God can help you find answers. Christians have a strong foundation for their lives, and for their (military) actions. The reason is that we believe we are part of something greater than ourselves. This belief can help you greatly in your personal choices as a member of the military.
In spite of their aversion to violence, Christians are not absolute pacifists – what needs to be done to defend the weak needs to be done – but the ultimate aim for the military is that it will be redundant one day because peace will reign the world. Although that may not seem to be very likely today, it is a great vision to strive for. And if all the inhabitants of the earth would sincerely strive for this, global peace would be a reality!
Must Christians be pacifists?
The Church strives for peace but does not preach radical pacifism. Indeed, no one can deny either the individual citizen or particular governments and alliances the fundamental right of armed self-defence. War is morally justifiable only as a last resort. The Church unmistakably says No to war. Christians should do everything possible to avoid war before it starts: They oppose the stockpiling of arms and trafficking in weapons; they fight against racial, ethnic, and religious discrimination; they work to put an end to economic and social injustice and thus promote peace [Youcat 398].
Should we pray for peace?
The fifth commandment forbids the intentional destruction of human life. Because of the evils and injustices that accompany all war, the Church insistently urges everyone to prayer and to action so that the divine Goodness may free us from the ancient bondage of war [CCC 2307].
Are there limits to our task to avoid war?
All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war. However, "as long as the danger of war persists and there is no international authority with the necessary competence and power, governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defence, once all peace efforts have failed" (Gaudium et Spes 79) [CCC 2308].
“Peace expresses itself only in peace, a peace which is not separate from the demands of justice but which is fostered by personal sacrifice, clemency, mercy and love” [Pope Paul VI, 1 Jan. 1976]