Friday, August 29, 2014

"He Transformed The Hut Into A Cathedral": A Chaplain Hero Of The Korean War

My brother the Mad Colonel passed on this video about Chaplain Emil Kapaun, a Roman Catholic priest and US Army chaplain who gave his life to serve and inspire his fellow prisoners in a Chinese prison camp during the Cold War.   A real treat to hear a recording of his voice in this video.  Father Kapaun was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2013.[

Here’s an excerpt from the Medal of Honor citation, as posted on the US Army website here.

"Once inside the dismal prison camps, Kapaun risked his life by sneaking around the camp after dark, foraging for food, caring for the sick, and encouraging his fellow Soldiers to sustain their faith and their humanity. On at least one occasion, he was brutally punished for his disobedience, being forced to sit outside in subzero weather without any garments. When the Chinese instituted a mandatory re-education program, Kapaun patiently and politely rejected every theory put forth by the instructors. Later, Kapaun openly flouted his captors by conducting a sunrise service on Easter morning, 1951."

 It’s interesting how closely Kapaun’s story mirrors that of Padre John Foote, a Canadian Army chaplain captured at Dieppe in 1942.   Both men seemed to sense that the conditions of captivity called forth the greatest needs of soldiers for hope and spiritual comfort.   Foote was fortunate enough to come home, unlike Kapaun, but both are icons of service and corps pride to chaplains and padres today.

 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

An Anglican Haven In Florence

This piece appeared this week in the quarterly newsletter of the Anglican Military Ordinariate (aka Canadian Forces Anglican Chaplains).  Since I edit the AMO newsletter, this publication is no great distinction.  


Worship is a big part of tourism for me.  I like the experience of the different, but also enjoy the sense that the Anglican Communion gives me a spiritual home wherever I go.  In this case, it was a gracious and historic Anglican expat church in Firenze (Florence), Italy, a city which may be my new favourite place in the world. MP+


The last edition of this Newsletter featured an account of Ann Bourke’s visit to Camposanto Teutonic, the chapel of the Swiss Guards at the Vatican.   I would like to suggest another destination for any readers fortunate enough to visit Italy, St. Mark’s (The English Church), Florence.   

 

The English were once the most prominent foreign community in Florence, and St. Mark’s is the city’s second oldest Anglican church, founded as part of the Anglo-Catholic movement of the 19th century.    Today it continues to serve the expatriate community and all English-speaking visitors to Florence.   St. Mark’s is part of a chaplaincy of the Church of England in Tuscany that includes two other churches in Siena and Bologna, and is also home to an Old Catholic congregation.  

 

The current chaplain is LCol. (retd.) William Lister, a former British Army padre.  I asked Father Lister how his ministry in Tuscany compared to his experience as a military chaplain.  He told me that “Florence has been an enormous blessing. It is not dissimilar to military chaplaincy in many ways - it is a discrete, ex-pat community - largely from Commonwealth countries and many with a military background. It is very much a 'chaplaincy'. We are a 'gathered community' joined by any and all English-speakers who find themselves in  Tuscany/Emilia Romana (including both tourists and students).”

 

NewImage

 

The church is located within a palazzo dating from the 16th century.  From the street, St. Mark’s is not especially noteworthy, but the interior is calm and serene.  The artwork is quite lovely, and much of it, as Fr. Lister told me, was contributed by the first members of the congregation, many of them leading figures in the 19th century’s Pre-Raphaelite movement.  Today St. Mark’s maintains a strong liturgical tradition and is a centre of the local arts scene, particularly music, opera, and painting.  

 

NewImage

 

St. Mark’s has a strong connection with the military, in that the interior contains two stone memorials commemorating members of the British Army who fell during operations to break the German Gothic Line during the Italian Campaign.   Many of these men are buried just outside Florence in the Commonwealth Cemetery at Girone, including over 30 Canadians.  Our own Padre Don Aitchison, chaplain to Toronto’s 48th Highlanders, tells me that he will likely be travelling to St. Mark’s later this year along with the 48th’s Honourary Colonel and other members to dedicate a memorial to the regiment’s fallen.   That dedication is planned for All Soul’s Day, and Padre Aitchison has promised an account of that trip for a subsequent AMO newsletter.

 

St. Mark’s maintains a number of apartments for short and long-term visitors, which would make an ideal base camp for a visit to Florence.  Details may be found on the church website.  St. Mark’s also features in Love and War, a new novel by the British author, Alex Preston, published by Faber.  Fr. Lister tells me that the novel’s hero is an Anglican priest and secret agent, which makes this sound like an irresistible read for the remainder of the summer, even if the Telegraph didn’t particularly like it..


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Military Picture Of The Week


NewImage
























This image, courtesy of the UK MOD, is of 'Vera', a seventy year old aircraft and one of two surviving Avro Lancasters from World War Two, on her way to landing at RAF Conningsby.  Vera’s home is the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum just outside Hamilton, Ontario.  Vera is being teamed up with Thumper, the Lancaster from the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, for a series of events.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Book Review: A Point Of Balance: The Weight And Measure Of Anglicanism

This book review appeared in the Summer edition of the quarterly journal (well, newsletter, really) of the Canadian Armed Forces Anglican Military Ordinariate , the body of Anglican chaplains in the CAF.   The newsletter is pretty rubbish and prints any old thing (I can say that, I’m the editor).  MP+

 

 

NewImage




A Point of Balance: The Weight and Measure of Anglicanism

Ed. Martyn Percy and Robert Bork Slocum, Moorhouse, 2013

 

 

 

Anyone who has served with the RCAF will likely know the adage about the venerable Sea King helicopter, that it is not one aircraft but rather “several thousand parts flying in close formation”.  Much the same thing has been said about Anglicanism.   In one of the first in this collection of essays, Martyn Percy tells a story about the Anglican theologian Henry Scott Holland who, while watching a flock of starlings flying over Cuddeson College, “remarked how like the Anglican Church they were.   Nothing, it seemed, kept the flock together - and yet the birds moved as one, even though they were all apart and retained their individual identity” (20).

 

This slim book of essays, part of the Canterbury Studies in Anglicanism series, is accessible and challenging.  The book’s contributors are British and American clergy and faculty, and all of them ask essentially the same question, namely, what keeps the constituent parts of Anglicanism flying in close formation?  This question is especially urgent since, as Percy notes, much has changed in the century since Holland watched the starlings over Cuddesdon.  Today the “flock” of Anglicanism contains birds of more than one type.  “Evolution - through cultural and theological diversity - has meant that many Anglican provinces have evolved to ‘fit’ their contexts, and the ultimate diversity of the species clearly threatens its unity” (20).

 

An example of this diversity is found in A. Katherine Grieb’s essay on scripture.   She notes that scripture, long seen as the “glue” of Anglicanism, is read and understood differently throughout the Communion.   Ugandan Anglicans, who largely practise a very pentecostal version of Christianity, hear the bible within the African oral tradition as “a deposit of authoritative and ‘universally’ recognized African like sayings”  and through the filter of the African Eastern Revival (32).  Thus a text like Deuteronomy 28:22a,27-28 is heard by many as a description of AIDS as a divine punishment for sin.    There are thus profound hermeneutical differences separating Anglicans in Uganda and other African countries from their counterparts in the first world.   Hermeneutics as well as Uganda’s church history and post colonialism thus drive many Ugandan Anglican’s understanding of sexual ethics.  Grieb suggests that process of “scriptural reasoning”, first adopted by scholars of Christianity, Islam and Judaism, might be a way forward and away from further fracturing of the Communion along North/South lines.  The principles of scriptural reasoning include a respect for the sacredness of the other’s texts, a recognition of differences, and a shared sense of hospitality and “God’s purpose of peace among all” (40).

 

In a similar vein, Tom Hughson proposes a rethinking of mission as “receptive ecumenism” in which Anglican churches in the North find ways to listen to those churches in the South which hear the gospel amidst suffering rather than affluence, and thus act as bridge, helping a post-Christendom North to understand the South and to hear the gospel anew.  Other writers explore reconciliation as spirituality (Philip Sheldrake), and koinonia as a gift of the Spirit (Robert D. Hughes).  In a section on praxis, Simon Taylor reflects on the changing nature of the parish in the contemporary Church of England, and Paula Nesbitt offers hard data on clerical and lay ministry and suggestions on how ministry models might adapt to the needs of the contemporary church.

 

All of these essays are undergirded by a faith in what one scholar has called the “collective mind” of the church, and a belief that the Spirit “leads the Church into further penetration of the Truth” which will become apparent over time.  This process of leading is not rapid or easy, and the authors all recommend the virtues of patience, hospitality, and attentive listening to one another as our best resources and hope in this difficult and confusing time.  All the book’s contributors agree that our unity is desirable, indeed, commanded of us, and that no Anglican should say to another, “I have no need of you”.  In the words of Robert Runcie, as quoted by Percy, “Politeness, integrity, restraint, diplomacy, patience, a willingness to listen, and above all, not to be ill-mannered - these are the things that enable the Anglican Communion to cohere”. 


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Seen On The Run

Taken around 07:30 along the Grand River, Kitchener, ON, using the camera from my iPhone.

 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Blessing And A Limp: A Sermon

Preached at St. Columba’s Anglican Church, Waterloo, Ontario.   Readings for Sunday, 3 August, the 8th Sunday After Pentecost (Proper 13A)

Genesis 32:22-31, Psalm 17:1-7, 16; Romans 9:15; Matthew 14: 13-21

Sometimes the best gift you can give a fellow clergy person is the gift of time.  My rector was just getting back from a month off this weekend and it seemed right to let her rest a bit longer and let me preach, for which, since I don’t preach much these days, I was grateful.   The genesis (pardon the pun) for this sermon came from something said by the participants in this week’s excellent Sermon Brainwave podcast.  I’d be lost without those guys to spark ideas. MP+

Jacob said, "Please tell me your name." But he replied, "Why do you ask my name?" Then he blessed him there. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared." The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. (Gen 32:29-31)

 A blessing and a limp.   What an odd combination.  Sometimes the early books of the Old Testament seem as strange to me as anything out of any myth or fairytale.    The stories can seem odd and mysterious, and while we listen to them reverently in church, we struggle to make sense of them and wonder how they are relevant to our lives.  Today I would like to focus on our first lesson, and I am going to suggest that the combination of blessing and limp are keys to understanding how this reading helps us understand what makes us distinct as God’s people and followers of Jesus.

In today’s reading from Genesis, Jacob is nervously waiting to hear whether his brother Esau has forgiven him for cheating him out of his birthright.    Jacob has sent his family and goods ahead of him in hopes of getting Esau to calm down, and is anxiously waiting for news.   During the night a mysterious man appears, and the two wrestle each other.  We aren’t told why they struggle or who started it.   Jacob clings to the man, even after the stranger injures his hip, and then, with the dawn coming fast, the stranger begs Jacob to let go.  

That detail about the stranger wanting to escape before the dawn is curious, isn’t it?  In folktales and myths the night is often a time of magic and enchantment that has to end at sunrise.  Likewise, in many myths, names can be magical and powerful.  Knowing someone’s true name often gives others power over them.   The stranger refuses to give Jacob his name, but gives him a blessing.   He also gives Jacob a new name, Israel, “for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed”.  And then the sun has risen and the stranger has gone, leaving Jacob with a limp, a new name, and a role to play in the creation of God’s distinct people, Israel.

So what’s going on here?   Who is the mysterious stranger?  Why does Jacob wrestle with him?  Why does Jacob get both a limp AND a blessing?   And what does this story have to do with us?   

Those are a lot of questions to throw out in a short summer sermon, but let’s take a few minutes to try and think through them.

We don’t know exactly who the stranger is, but it seems that he has some relationship to God.  Genesis 28 tells of how Jacob slept along in another lonely place and dreamt of angels ascending and descending a ladder to heaven.  This story, which also happens at night in a lonely place, reminds us of that dream and suggests that the wrestling stranger may be an angel.  He certainly seems connected with God in some way, since he gives Jacob a blessing in return for his freedom, and Jacob, as the sun rises, concludes that somehow that night he has “seen God face to face”.  So why, if the stranger is an angel, or even God himself, does Jacob end with a blessing AND a limp?  That seems like an unattractive package.   I for one wold be happy just to have the blessing.

But what if Jacob’s limp is a key to understanding this story?  What if the story of Jacob at Penniel is about what happens when we encounter God? And what if the story is about how the encounter with God marks us in some distinct and permanent way?

All of us at some point have sought God for a blessing.   It certainly happened at our baptism, or when we brought our children or grandchildren for baptism.  It happened when we came before God with our loved one to see God’s blessing in marriage.   Perhaps the encounter wasn’t a pleasant one, but was more like Jacob’s wrestling match, when we struggled with God in some dark night of the soul, in a hospital or a tragedy or a suddenly empty home, when God seemed distant, or more like an enemy than a comforter, and we grappled with God praying that tragedy might turn into blessing.  And maybe that blessing happened, or like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemanee, we grappled with God in hard and anxious prayer only to learn that God’s will would lead us down another, unwelcome, path.  

We are like Jacob in that we seek God, we ask for the blessing, sometimes even struggle for it, but we are also like Jacob in that our relationship with God marks us and changes us.   We are not marked in the sense that we are physically injured and have to limp but we are changed, and in the eyes of the secular world, sometimes our Christian identity can look like a handicap.

Take our baptism.  We are literally marked, in water and oil, with the sign of the cross, and as we grow older and grow in the faith we come to realize that baptism changes us.   We learn that we are called to stand with God in the world, to renounce Satan, the “evil powers of this world” and “all sinful desires that draw [us] from the love of God”.  You may not walk with a limp after renewing the baptismal covenant every time you stand in the congregation and welcome the newly baptized, but you marked by these words.  The baptismal covenant might be seen by some as a handicap, since it limits one’s ability to follow our culture and find freedom, identity and self-realization in things like the pursuit of wealth and sexual expression, but to Christians the baptismal covenant is a definition of our spiritual freedom as Christians (see St. Paul, Romans 8:21).

Take our worship.   Not only do we give up pleasant Sunday mornings to sit in church, but we hear things in our readings and lessons that mark us and change us.   Our gospel reading today, Matthew’s account of the miracle of the loaves and fishes, marked us and changed us.  The disciples look at the hungry crowds and say to Jesus “send them away”.  Jesus doesn’t let the disciples off so easily:  “you give them something to eat”, he tells them (Matt 14:16).   One of the lessons of this story is that the compassion Jesus feels for the crowds translates into responsibility for his followers.  Gospel readings such as this one have a cumulative effect in shaping us as Christians.  They teach us that others, strangers we might prefer not to know, have a claim on our time, our money, and our compassion.  As Christians, we are meant to grow into what Paul calls the maturity and the fullness of “the full stature of Christ” (Eph 4:13).  Some might call that a handicap.  We disciples would call that freedom.

Being a disciple of Christ means that we are, or should be, marked out and made visible in the world.  Sometimes that marking is self-sacrificial, and seems more like sharing the wounds of Christ than it seems like a blessing.  Take the Christian community in parts of Iraq today, whose homes are marked by Islamist groups with the Arabic symbol “nun”, the first letter of the word Nazarene or Christian.  That marking, that graffiti that comes in the night, means a choice between hasty flight, death, or renouncing the faith.   Or I think of two Americans who are marked by their discipleship by a horrible illness.  Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol are two medical missionaries, with Samaritan’s Purse, who contracted the terrible disease Ebola while working with patients in Western Africa.  They knew the risks, but I am guessing that they went to practice medicine in Africa because they follow a Saviour who took the hand of lepers and other outcast.   Again we ask, is this marking, as the doctors become the sick in an isolation ward, a handicap, something to be pitied, or is it freedom?  I can’t help but compare these two medical missionaries with the Australian couple who recently went to Thailand, where the surrogate mother they had hired had just given birth to twins.  The couple returned with one healthy baby, and abandoned the other, who was born with Down’s Syndrome. Was that choice an expression of freedom, or was it pitiful and wrong?  We would hope that no persons of faith would act like that Australian couple. 

The story of Jacob and the stranger in the night remains mysterious to me.   I can’t explain all of it, but I think that the keys to the story are the blessing and the limp.   I think they remind us of our own calling to follow God, to draw close to him and even struggle with him.   The story of Jacob reminds us that faith is a risky business.    Discipleship shouldn’t leave us unchanged.  When we draw near to Jesus, even grapple and struggle with him as he calls us to leave our old selves and old ways, to take up our cross and follow him,  we can be struck in all sorts of unexpected ways.   We can find ourselves walking differently, talking differently, living differently.  We aren’t the same.  To some, who see only the limp, this might be a thing to be feared or pitied.   But for us, we who follow the Saviour who walks on pierced feet, we know we are walking in the right direction, even if we are walking differently than we did before.

Amen.

 

 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Theology: John Milbank On The Church

Time to breathe life into a semi-regular feature of this blog.  It really depends on what I’m reading in any given week and whether I remember that it’s Friday.

John Milbank is a contemporary British theologian, sometimes associated with a school of thought known as Radical Orthodoxy.  He’s a difficult thinker to engage, since his project is a prolonged engagement with modernity and philosophy that demands a lot of the reader.   However, in this paragraph, from the Preface to the Second Edition of his book Theology and Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason (Blackwell Publishing, 1990, 2006) he offers a helpful comment on how the church, understood broadly, and its worship and liturgy can only be understood in terms of the economy of the Trinity.

“So in the Incarnation, God as God was able perfectly to fulfil the worship of God which is nevertheless, as worship, only possible for the creature.  This descent is repeated and perpetuated in the eucharist which gives rise to the ecclesia, that always ‘other-governed’ rather than autonomous human community, which yet is the beginning of universal community as such, since it is nothing other than the lived project of universal reconciliation.  Not reducible to its institutional failures and yet not to be seen as a utopia either, since the reality of reconciliation, of restored unity-in-disparity, must presuppose itself if it is to be realizable (always in some very small degree) in time and so must be always already begun.  The Incarnation was the ‘impossible’ arrival of that always-already and for that reason involved the coincidence of a finite personality with an infinite hypostasis.  The concrete social realization of the always-already must run, as Rowan Williams frequently emphasizes, only through and despite the mess of constant institutional wranglings and renegotiations, as well as inter-personal tribulations (since we must not forget that ‘Church’ may most be there when two or three idly or perplexedly wander beside a river).  Although ontologically non-reactive, it is always temporally present despite temporal false deprivations."

Military Picture Of The Week

 

 

A nice example of international interoperability.  A Polish helicopter overflies soldiers from the Royal Canadian Regiment during recent training in Eastern Europe.   More photos and background here.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Is PTSD A Defence For Moral Lapses? The Case of Senator Walsh

 

In yesterday’s post on military medals and integrity, I mentioned that embellishing one’s credentials is a fairly common failing.   A case in point is U.S. Senator John Walsh (Democrat, Montana), who has in past tweaked his resume to make it sound more impressive.  According to today’s New York Times, Senator Walsh’s congressional bio once said that he was a graduate of the University of Albany, State University of New York, when “he actually earned his B.S. degree from what was then known as Regents College, an adult learning institute that issued degrees under the umbrella of the University of the State of New York”.  That may not seem like a big deal, and Senator Walsh amended his bio (without comment) when a political newspaper looked into his credentials.  

A bigger deal, reported today, is that when Senator Walsh was an officer in the US Army, and was a student at the US Army War College in Carlisle, PA in 2007, he appears to have plagiarized the final paper for his Master’s degree.  The NYT piece offers numerous examples of how Walsh included the material of other authors in his essay without quotation marks, often changing a word or two.  While some of these sources were footnoted, the absence of quotation marks is crucial.  Any undergraduate knows (or should know) that quotation marks tell one’s reader that the words and thoughts are not one’s own, and any attempt to suggest otherwise is a serious instance of academic dishonesty. A War College faculty member is quoted in the NYT article as saying that the importance of academic honesty is something that is made quite clear to the students - “We drill that in incessantly”. 

A postgraduate degree in contemporary western militaries is a significant rung on the career ladder to senior rank, or, in military slang, a “check in the box” necessary for promotion.   While any university instructor will tell you that academic fraud is a serious problem on college campuses, one would hope that military officers would have a sounder understanding of personal and professional integrity than a callow undergraduate.

Senator Walsh has told the Associated Press that his war experience in Iraq led to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which affected his judgement.   “I don’t want to blame my mistake on PTSD, but I do want to say it may have been a factor.  My head was not in a place very conducive to a classroom and an academic environment”.   In the same interview, he said that he “didn’t believe” that he had plagiarized his paper.

It’s tempting to think that in the hyper-partisan climate of US politics, Senator Walsh’s opponents will try to exploit this story.   A Montana Democrat is already using the words “smear campaign”.   However, to be fair, the Senator’s military credentials, including his War College degree, doubtless made him an attractive candidate in the first place.  At some point the voters will decide, but the story does raise a troublesome question about whether PTSD can be used as a defence for lapses of moral judgement, even if, as in the Senator’s case, it is a curiously high-functioning form of PTSD.  

It would be interesting to hear the Senator comment on the following hypothetical scenario.   A young veteran, attending college, is sitting in his or her professor’s office.  They are discussing the student’s  paper which, like the Senator’s, uses other people’s ideas without properly acknowledging them.  The veteran pleads PTSD.  What should the professor say?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Medal Charges May Seem A Small Thing, But They Say Much About Military Culture

This is a soldier’s resume, if you know how to read it. 

Two days ago the Globe and Mail reported that an officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force, Lt. Col. Debbie Miller, has been charged following an investigation to determine if she wore medals on her uniform that she was not authorized to wear.   It’s not clear from the article what the medals are.   In an earlier version of this post, I incorrectly inferred from the article that the medals might have been the Order of Military Merit, awarded for “exceptional” performance of one’s duty, and the Canadian Forces Decoration Medal, or CD, awarded to all ranks who have completed twelve years of service of good conduct. Thanks in part to blog reader Edwin King, I learned that Lt. Col. Miller was in fact awarded the OMM and has certainly earned the CD and clasp, since she was first commissioned in 1981.   In 2012, a court martial found Lt. Col. Miller guilty of twice presenting a document saying she had passed a Physical Fitness test which she had in fact failed, but the investigation mentioned in the G&M article appears to be about medals.

Napoleon once said of medals that “A soldier will fight long and hard for a scrap of ribbon”, which may explain why, in military culture, wearing medals (also known as decorations) that one has not earned is significant offence.   Google “Stolen Valor” and you will find websites dedicated to exposing or “outing" individuals, many of them civilians, wearing medals and/or military uniforms that they have no right to wear.

To those outside military culture, it may seem odd that a person would want to risk the humiliation of being caught in such a masquerade.   However, as Dr. Johnson once observed, “Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been at sea”.  In a culture, particularly US culture, where the military may be the only public institution that still commands respect,  one could see why some might want the counterfeit respect of being taken for a member of the military.  But even within military culture, the wearing of medals is rather like walking about with one’s curriculum vitae pinned to one’s chest.   In general there are three types of medals, given for good service (like the Order of Military Merit), given for particular tours or deployments (such as to Afghanistan), or medals indicating length of service (such as the CD).   There are also uniform items that connote particular qualifications and elite status, such as the Ranger tab indicating special forces training with the US military, an especially coveted and respected item in the Canadian Army.   Some militaries are more lavish with medals than others.   Our American friends, for example, tend to wear more decorations than do their Canadian and British colleagues.

To go on parade with one’s decorations, earned through sweat, danger, and hard service, is an act of pride.   In military slang, a large collection of medals is known as a “rack”, and a “big rack” is looked on with favour.  I can attest that going on parade with few, or in my case, despite nine years of service, no medals, requires some humility, and I can therefore understand why a soldier, even a senior officer who should have known better, might give into the temptation of wanting to appear more seasoned than he or she really is.   I suppose it could be seen as the military equivalent of burnishing or falsifying one’s resume.    The temptation to exaggerate ons accomplishments has often proved irresistible for the high as well as the low, as is seen in this week’s New Yorker profile of US Vice President Joe Biden, who has been known to exaggerate his credentials during his career.  As Evan Osnos says of Biden in that article, “Looking over the record of his exaggerations and plagiarism, I came to see them as the excesses of a man who wants every story to sing, even at the risk of embarrassment”.

The four principle virtues of the Canadian Armed Forces are Courage, Integrity, Loyalty and Duty.   A soldier, particularly an officer, should understand that these virtues do not permit one to embellish one’s rack or resume, no matter how much they might want their story to ‘sing”.  Perhaps the best antidote to this counterfeit glory is the humility often seen in those who wear their medals lightly, as in the soldier who says that his or her award for valour was really earned by their unit, or in the saying, often heard by Canadian soldiers with the CD, that it was given for 12 (or more) years of “undetected crime”.


Mad Padre

Mad Padre
Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's notional musings, attempted witticisms, and prayerful posturings.

Followers

Blog Archive

Labels