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.