by Brian Roewe, NCR
At least one U.S. parish will pass on “serving those who serve” this weekend.
In a letter dated Wednesday, Fr. Timothy Taugher, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Church in Binghampton, N.Y., alerted his bishop that the parish would not participate in the bishops’ conference-approved collection this weekend for the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services.
Using the tagline “serving those who serve,” a bulletin insert provided by the military archdiocese that promoted the collection describes Catholic military priest-chaplains as “the last line of spiritual defense for the men and women who ﬁght our wars. They bless our troops with the healing power of the sacraments and good counsel. And they need YOUR SUPPORT.”
That support won’t come from St. Francis parish. Taugher told NCR he voiced his decision to Bishop Robert Cunningham as a way to “break the silence to the bishops and our leadership” regarding recent U.S. wars and to address the perception of a creeping militarism in churches at odds with the message of Jesus.
“This was addressed to the overall concern about militarism in our culture, and I think also the frustration that as a church and a people of faith, how do we preach the Gospel of peace, and preach the Gospel of nonviolence in this time of militarism?” he said.
In his letter, Taugher — a member of Pax Christi USA and of an upstate New York group called Friends of Franz Jagerstatter — prayed for an authentic church founded on nonviolence, and “that by our witness we will help lessen war and violence in our world.”…