Answered By: Katie Hutchison
Last Updated: Sep 08, 2016     Views: 244

Here is what Fr. Patrick Manning of Walsh University had to say on the topic,

"There is certainly no problem with a Catholic Chaplain leading a simple scriptural prayer service for other Christians – we share the bible.  In that instance, it would not be a “Baptist” service, nor would it be any other specific denomination within Christianity, it would be a general service of prayer for believing Christians.

The Catholic priest could not, though, have Mass and give Holy Communion to those of a Protestant denomination, but a prayer service – especially in the context of a war or a battle, would be acceptable."

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According to Military OneSource, the Unit Chaplain's first obligations are to active duty service members and their family members. These obligations include the following:

  • Conducting worship and administering sacraments — Chaplains are responsible for making sure that service members have the opportunity to worship as they choose. This means that chaplains conduct worship services and administer sacraments consistent with their own faith and also seek out accommodations for persons of other faiths. For example, since a Protestant chaplain can't legitimately perform a Mass for Roman Catholics, the chaplain can locate a Roman Catholic chaplain to administer the sacrament.
  • Performing other religious ceremonies and services — Chaplains also perform religious rites and ceremonies such as marriages and funeral or memorial services.
  • Counseling service members and their families
  • Visitation
  • Advising commanders on moral, ethical and spiritual issues
  • Developing religious education programs and youth activities
  • Conducting seminars and retreats
  • Accompanying service members into combat
  • Combat stress intervention

For more information, visit Military OneSource or the sources listed under More Info.

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