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BETHESDA, Md. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Maryland military hospital is cutting ties with Catholic clergy who provide pastoral care to veterans and active military personnel.
The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center issued a cease and desist order to a group of Franciscans that has served the facility for almost 20 years.
According to the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, Catholic pastoral care was terminated on March 31, just before the beginning of Holy Week. It had previously allowed Franciscan friars from the Holy Name College to minister to patients.
The U.S. military archdiocese released a statement on Friday lamenting the removal of the friars and revealing the contract was "awarded to a secular defense contracting firm that cannot fulfill the statement of work in the contract."
"As a result, adequate pastoral care is not available for service members and veterans in the United States' largest Defense Health Agency medical center either during Holy Week or beyond," the archdiocese continued.
Commenting on the decision, Military Archbishop and Catholic bishops' conference President Timothy Broglio relayed, "I fear that giving a contract to the lowest bidder overlooked the fact that the bidder cannot provide the necessary service. I earnestly hope that this disdain for the sick will be remedied at once and their First Amendment rights will be respected."
Besides the Franciscans who ministered at the hospital, the one Catholic Army chaplain assigned there is currently set to leave the Army, leaving only the new secular contract to care for Catholic needs.
"The refusal to provide adequate pastoral care while awarding a contract for Catholic ministry to a for-profit company that has no way of providing Catholic priests to the medical center is a glaring violation of service members' and veterans' Right to the Free Exercise of Religion," the archdiocese asserted.
Although the Friday press release mentions that the hospital is meeting Catholics' needs during Holy Week, the archdiocese retorts, "without Catholic priests present at the medical center, service members and veterans are being denied the constitutional right to practice their religion."
In an Easter Telegram post, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., a fallen-away Catholic, weighed in, "This happened under our 'Catholic' POTUS, Joe Biden. Not just another failure, incredibly embarrassing and wrong."
The congresswoman went on to write, "This is another attack on the church, and this time, directed at our military. Reinstate Catholic Pastoral Care at Walter Reed immediately!"
Under Joe Biden, the military has become increasingly weak, woke and anti-Catholic.
In August 2021, Biden's Department of Defense issued its abortion-tainted COVID-19 jab requirement for troops. The mandate was not rescinded until January 2023. Reports indicate the military discharged nearly 8,500 servicemen who refused the gene therapy shot.
In June 2021, the Army changed its policy to allow so-called transgenders to openly serve. The Army News Service reported that "[a] Soldier's gender identity will no longer be a basis for involuntary separation or military discharge, denied reenlistment or continuation of service, or subjected to adverse action or mistreatment."
In October 2022, the Heritage Foundation released its 2023 Index of U.S. Military Strength, which rates our military "weak."
According to Heritage, "This is the logical consequence of years of sustained use, underfunding, poorly defined priorities, wildly shifting security policies, exceedingly poor discipline in program execution, and a profound lack of seriousness across the national security establishment even as threats to U.S. interests have surged."
The analysis by Heritage concluded: "As currently postured, the U.S. military is at growing risk of not being able to meet the demands of defending America's vital national interests."
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