29July2009: It is an honor and pleasure for me to offer some modest reflections on "Nuclear Weapons and Moral Questions: The Path to Zero." I am grateful to General Kevin Chilton and the U.S. Strategic Command for hosting this first annual Deterrence Symposium and for inviting me to be part of this impressive gathering. I have been asked to speak at the end of what has been a long day for many of you. Believing in a merciful God, I will try to keep my reflections to a merciful length.Since this is a dinner speech, starting with a joke is a basic expectation, but I should warn you that archbishops are rarely funny. But here goes.
Catholic chaplains have a great track record and reputation for being straightforward and truthful. They don't play games or reflect negatively on other denominations. Every commander wants one of his two chaplains to be a Catholic. They tell me this outright. (from nterview with Catholic Digest, July 2007)
I'll always remember a group of forward deployed young men and women in a Gulf War mission. THey had been without cold water and supplies already for days, and still they asked me what they could sacrifice for Lent. That spirit is what makes our military a "culture of generosity".
Ratzinger said once that unless someone has wrestled with the reality of resurrection, faith can become just a pious legend. It has to rock you. The early apostles experienced that. Every Christian has to go through it. Unless you struggle with faith you're not going to have much belief. (from an interview with Catholic Digets, July 2007)
The news only shows cars being blown up. But the soldiers see hospitals being built and schools opening. Right now the sense is that they are doing good and necessary work.
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I realize more why the Lord has me here. I am practicing the corporal and spiritual acts of mercy -- comforting the dying, giving counsel to the weak, burying the dead -- and trying to be an example of faith to the men, who are some of the bravest soldiers that I have ever met. They are setting the standards and leading the way. I pray that I can do my best to be an example of courage and that the grace of God will protect us and help us through tough times of this deployment.
--Fr. Peter Jaramillo
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