Thursday, October 28, 2010

AB Chaput Talks A Catholic Version Of Spiritual Warfare At US Air Force Academy

This Air Force Unit Patch is no longer in service.  Note the cross in the upper right hand quadrant.

Archbishop Chaput recently gave an address to the Catholic cadets at the US Airforce Academy.  In the past I've written articles about the atmosphere of coercion instilled by Evangelical followers of dominionism and how that's been aimed at cadets who belong to other religions.  A recent posting from the Religious Freedom Foundation chronicles the fact that many cadets, Catholics included, feign conversion as a necessary component in protecting their careers.

The agenda of the New Apostolic Reformation is no secret.  The website talk2action chronicles this agenda in great detail.  What interests me is the influence the NAR seems to be have with conservative Catholic leaders like Chaput.  The NAR leadership is actively engaged in Spiritual Warfare against Catholicism, but has cleverly separated charismatic Catholics from their otherwise 'demonic Catholic' agenda.  Any time I read or hear a Catholic bishop use spiritual warfare terminology I hear NAR in the background. 

Another concept for the NAR military adherents is the notion of  being 'crusader's', and although they make it seem like it's all about chivalrous attitudes in the military, the NAR agenda is most definitely anti Islamic.  In the philosophy and theology of the NAR contains a pronounced eschatalogical bent which is centered on Armageddon occurring in Israel between the Israeli State and the Islamic hordes.  The NAR truly desires to bring on Armageddon in order to usher in the Second Coming.

Chaput seems to have decided that answer for Catholics exposed to this pressure at the Air Force Academy is to become a Catholic version of an NAR warrior.  The following is an excerpt of his sermon.  It is heavy on fear and heavy on the idea of becoming a crusader for Christ.

The world is full of talented failures -- people who either didn't live up to their abilities, or who did, but in a way that diminished their humanity and their character.

God made us to be better than that. And our nation and our Church need His people to be better than that. Scripture tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Ps 111:10). Wisdom -- not merely the knowledge of facts or a mastery of skills, but wisdom about ourselves, other people, and the terrain of human life -- this is the mark of a whole person. We already have too many clever leaders. We need wise leaders. And the wisest leaders ground themselves in humility before God and the demands of God's justice.  (Jesus was never about fear of God, which is why He taught His disciples to refer to God as Father. Jesus bent over backwards to teach the opposite of fear, which is love.  Truly wise leaders lead from a sense of empathy and compassion as well as a sense of responsibility for the advancement of their subordinates and accountability for their mission.)

People my age would do well to remember that. The reason is pretty simple: The older we get, the more clearly we see -- or think we see -- what's wrong with the world. It also gets harder to admit our own role in making it that way.

Over my lifetime, I've had the privilege of working with many good religious men and women, and many good lay Christian friends. Many of them have been heroic in their generosity, faith, and service. Many have helped to make our country a better place. And yet I think it's true -- I know it's true -- that my generation has, in some ways, been among the most foolish in American history. We've been absorbed in our appetites, naïve about the consequences of our actions, overconfident in our power, and unwilling to submit ourselves to the obligations that come with the greatest ideals of our own heritage......(I just laughed when I read this as I could hear the JPII generation in the background making infinite numbers of disparaging statements about aging hippie blue hairs---leaving out Chaput of course.)

After warning about the potential damage for Catholics in the secular assault on the separation of church and state, and a few words on the ignorance and anti religious agenda of the mainstream media, AB Chaput then goes on the describe the thinking of St Bernard of Clairvaux on the attributes of a Crusader and ends his sermon with the following:As St. Ignatius Loyola wrote in his "Spiritual Exercises" -- and remember that Ignatius himself was a former soldier -- each of us must choose between two battle standards: the standard of Jesus Christ, humanity's true King, or the standard of His impostor, the Prince of This World.

There is no neutral ground. C. S. Lewis once said that Christianity is a "fighting religion." He meant that Christian discipleship has always been -- and remains -- a struggle against the evil within and outside ourselves. This is why the early Church Fathers described Christian life as "spiritual combat." It's why they called faithful Christians the "Church Militant" and "soldiers of Christ" in the Sacrament of Confirmation. (I'm sure Constantine had just a bit to do with Early Church Fathers conceiving Christianity in more militant terms. Early Christians were not noted for voluntarily joining the Roman military.)

The Church needs men and women of courage and Godliness today more than at any time in her history. So does this extraordinary country we call home in this world; a nation that still has an immense reservoir of virtue, decency, and people of good will. This is why the Catholic ideal of knighthood, with its demands of radical discipleship, is still alive and still needed. The essence of Christian knighthood remains the same: sacrificial service rooted in a living Catholic faith. (That's supposed to describe the priesthood as well, but I don't notice Chaput selling his 'castle', or Burke his lace 'armor'.)

A new "spirit of knighthood" is what we need now -- unselfish, tireless, devoted disciples willing to face derision and persecution for Jesus Christ. We serve our nation best by serving God first, and by proving our faith with the example of our lives.  (Devoted disciples, but not apostles because that's Chaput's job.)


I find this stuff very very scary because these young men and women operate some of the most sophisticated and lethal military hardware on the planet.  I am very concerned as to whose orders our 'crusaders' will follow when push comes to shove.  Here's a quote from a talk given at a somewhat secretive gathering of Evangelical Baptists.  The speaker is an Air Force B2 bomber pilot:

"I'm going to have to separate myself from the service of this nation if it's required in order to propagate the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. I'm not going to disregard my responsibilities. But if there ever comes a time when there is a priority to be made, a decision to be made, it must always rest in the work of the Lord and the Lord's army. Because that commission is greater than the one I received from the United States Air Force Academy."

This is a treasonous statement.  It's also Christian heresy as Jesus was not a general, and did not call for the formation of any army under the banner of His cross. 

The leadership of the NAR calls themselves the New Apostles because they want their followers to take their messages as new teachings and directions from the Holy Spirit.  This then gives them the authority to change the Gospel message any way they see fit.  It convinces pilots of our B2 bombers that in conscience they have a commission greater than the one they received from the citizens of the United States.  The very citizens whose money paid for the construction of the bomber and the pay loads they fly.  This is a nice inexpensive way for the NAR's new jesus to equip his army.

I personally believe the most charismatic and convincing of these 'New Apostles' are nothing more than the equivalent of New Age channellers.  My question is who are they channelling?  It's not Jesus and it's not the Holy Spirit.  AB Chaput is making a huge mistake if he continues to align himself with this movement.  He can talk about wisdom all he wants, but when wisdom was given out, he wasn't in that line.  In the meantime one wonders if  the Air Force Academy is becoming a hot bed for a treasonous parallel Christian army.


  1. I retired from SDANG earlier this year. And I've been associated with the military in various ways for most of my life, as a dependent child, as a dependent spouse and as a member.

    Most of the professional military training I had - coming from the military mind you - stressed the absolute need for developing one's spirituality in becoming an effective military member. But never at any point did I feel they were directing the specific path to take in gaining that development. Not even the chaplains would direct a specific path.

    So I'm not sure how to take the various news reports that I've heard over the years and in particular the reports that have come out since roughly the time Bush 2 took office. Those reports just never seemed to correlate to the direct experience I've had. Maybe I've just been lucky. Or maybe there is a breakdown of sorts that hadn't shown up yet in the units where I've held assignments.

    What I will say is that with our volunteer force, and within large parameters, the military more or less reflects the larger population in the country. Yes, there are certain groups over represented and others that are under represented or even not at all - at least officially. But the attitudes are I think widely represented. The attitudes, biases and prejudices are going to be largely reflective of the population at large. So if you have a larger non-military population with certain Church Militant attitudes, you should not be surprised to find some of those same attitudes displayed by military members. The ideal of reflecting the whole population is part of the military doctrine in the US.

  2. "In the philosophy and theology of the NAR contains a pronounced eschatalogical bent which is centered on Armageddon occurring in Israel between the Israeli State and the Islamic hordes. The NAR truly desires to bring on Armageddon in order to usher in the Second Coming."

    This is a totally unacceptable psychotic world view and AB Chaput needs to wake up!!! It is a totally unchristian view. What will it take for these delusions to dissipate, evaporate, disintegrate? I can only wish that AB Chaput would have a real encounter with Jesus, and also with some spaceships and extraterrestrials.... that might wake him up!!

    "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom" is a quote that charismatics use to "prove" if one has "real faith." It is such a shallow misunderstanding of Faith.

    My stomach churns over AB Chaput's militaristic view of Jesus of which he shares with NAR. It is heresy to be in alliance with folks that are working for armageddon. It will not bring Jesus Christ, a second coming - but it will bring death and destruction and a new world order of oppression dictated by idiots with no wisdom from God. He projects his own mediocrity of Faith, treasonous beliefs, closed mindedness and blindness throughout his talk at the US Air Force Academy.

    AB Chaput is a heretic and a treasonous hate-filled ignorant man. He is a dangerous person to have in any kind of position of power in the Church or in the world.

  3. Colleen, fascinating stuff you've been writing about lately. When I listen to the conservative line, there are some things you touch on here that I'm always struck by. First, the military theme is always sounded. We are warriors, we're in a war, we face a treacherous and cunning enemy, many are duped but we must not be , etc. Does anyone who knows the early Church Fathers know of whom Chaput is speaking when he claims the trope of "Spiritual Warfare"? If so, pre-Nicene council and Constantine? I find his assertion hard to believe.

    Second, Chaput himself is always touted as "brilliant". I have to say, I've looked for it and I don't get it. My pastor quoted Chaput the other day, to the effect that we will have to answer the aborted souls in heaven as to what we did or didn't do to save them. And I thought, "As if they didn't know. They know us better than we know ourselves. They won't come accusing, they'll come in sympathy (or I guess in sympathetic misery as I'm marched to hell)."
    I've looked at this talk and the diatribe about the secular media a few weeks ago. Does anybody see this guy as brilliant, the way Benedict can be?

    It seems most of all that I keep feeling I'm being sold something. The focus is on a type of tunnel vision, sold as courageous focus but definitely a shutting out of contrary thought. As you note, it is based on fear and not fear-of-the-Lord, two very separate entities. And I keep seeing the "everybody's doing it" line, even when I see most around me pulling away from what they see as a lack of Christianity from our leaders. Still watching, still praying, still trying to marry action and contemplation.

  4. I take offense when anyone denigrates the religion of another and goes out on aggressive conversion campaigns because "our way is the only way." But in this case, I'm really disgusted because of the obvious crackpottery of NAR in whole, someone either has to be very psychologically damaged or just plain evil to want to be part of it in the first place. They're another brainwashing cult that wants to dominate not just their followers but everyone else as well.

    I also really resent these more bombastic, loony xian fringe theologies invading and distorting the contemplative, meaningful, searching Catholicism I was raised with. If authority wants to preach NAR let them abdicate their current positions.

    I bet the MRFF is already fighting this as we speak.


  5. As an outsider let me say that Chaput's apparent promotion of military exceptionalism is contrary to the Catholic faith.

    In 2009 the USA was responsible for 46.5% of the world's military spending.

    I read this quote somewhat differently "And yet I think it's true -- I know it's true -- that my generation has, in some ways, been among the most foolish in American history. We've been absorbed in our appetites, naïve about the consequences of our actions, overconfident in our power, and unwilling to submit ourselves to the obligations that come with the greatest ideals of our own heritage..." I understand him to be referring to the George W. Bush & Dick Cheney leadership.

    To reference the crusades in the context of two immoral wars (so says JP2) continuing in Islamic states is the height of irresponsibility.


    word verification: corse, Italian for races

  6. The reference to the crusades and crusaders also shows an astounding lack of understanding of history. At the time of the crusades they Caliphate looked positively educated, enlightened, tolerant and just, compared to the rest of Europe.

    The great library of Cordoba, one of many in the city, contained more than a quarter million volumes. That single library had more books than all the rest of Christian Europe combined.

    Here's an account from Archibald Wilberforce writing in 1898: The Caliphate of Cordova in "Spain and Her Colonies"

    "Nor was it only material splendor that was to be found at Cordova. At a time when Christian Europe was steeped in ignorance and barbarism, in superstition and prejudice, every branch of science was studied under the favor and protection of the Ommeyad Caliphs. Medicine, surgery, botany, chemistry, poetry, the arts, philosophy, literature, all flourished at the court and city of Cordova. Agriculture was cultivated with a perfection, both theoretical and practical, which is apparent from the works of contemporary Arab writers. The Silo, so lately introduced into England as a valuable agricultural novelty, is not only the invention of the Arabs, but the very name is Arabic, as is that of the Azequia and of the Noria of modern Spain. Both the second and the third Abdur Rahman were passionately fond of gardening and tree-p]anting; and seeds, roots and cuttings were brought from all parts of the world and acclimatized in the gardens at Cordova. A pomegranate of peculiar excellence, the Safari, which was introduced by the second Abdur Rahman from Damascus, still maintains its superiority, and is known in Spain to the present day as the Granada Zafari.

    Thus, in small things as in great, the Arabs of Cordova stood immeasurably above everv other people or any other government in Europe. Yet their influence unhappily was but small. They surpassed, but they did not lead. The very greatness of their superiority rendered their example fruitless. Medieval chivalry, indeed, was largely the result of their influence in Spain. But chivalry as an institution had itself decayed long before a new-born Europe had attained to the material and moral perfection of the great Emirs of Cordova...

    (After the crusades)

    "Cordova was sacked. The Caliph was imprisoned; rebellions, poisonings, crucifixions, civil war, bigotry and skepticism, the insolence of wealth, the insolence of power, a Mahdi and a Wahdi, Christian alliance, Berber domination, Slav mutineers5 African interference, puppet princes, all these things vexed the Spanish BIoslems for thirty disastrous years; while a number of weak but independent sovereignties arose on the ruins of the great Caliphate of the West.

    The confused annals of the last thirty years of the rule of the Ommeyades are mere records of blood and of shame, a pitiful story of departed greatness..."

    We should not be proud of the crusades. I say this as descendant of a man whose forces defeated 5 Muslim armies.


    (For those keeping score at home I'm Irish on my mother's side of the family.)

  7. A lot of good comments, but I need to address mjc's mention of Chaput's famous call to consider how the unborn will call us to account when we die. If the unborn call anyone to account, which I seriously doubt, it will be those who did nothing to help their mothers make a different decision or support the birth of their children. Chaput will be only one bishop in a long line of bishops who would have to answer for this.

    I would personally love to see the emphasis switch from condemnation to contemplation about how to create a world in which bringing children into it is not a fear filled decision, but a great joy. That world won't be created by military crusaders or B2 bomber pilots who answer to a higher command. That mentality can only maintain the existing mess of a status quo.

    Creating 'on earth as it is in heaven' comes through love, passion, joy, hope, and empathy which Jesus told us were all attributes of his Father's will. It's much too easy to reduce obedience to the will of the Father to acts of behavior when in point of fact that Will is about mental and emotional attitudes.

  8. p2p, what you say makes sense. I thought this quote was interesting too and can interpret it as Chaput talking about himself and his type of leadership via projection.

    "And yet I think it's true -- I know it's true -- that my generation has, in some ways, been among the most foolish in American history. We've been absorbed in our appetites, naïve about the consequences of our actions, overconfident in our power, and unwilling to submit ourselves to the obligations that come with the greatest ideals of our own heritage..."

    It sure does sound like Chaput is talking about himself being absorbed in his own appetite for power.