November 7, 2011

Pope Benedict said the Church must continue to provide pastoral services to military personnel wherever they are stationed, to help them "carry out their mission in the manner of Christian charity."

He made the remarks Oct. 22 to a meeting of several hundred military bishops who are responsible for the pastoral care of Catholics serving in the armed forces of their respective countries.

Pope Benedict said the Church's pastoral service to men and women in the military aims above all at spiritual assistance.

In particular, he said, the Church should help military personnel carry out their actions in harmony with "the first and greatest commandment, love of God and neighbour.

The Christian soldier is called to be a soldier for the sake of love," he said.

The pope pointed to several examples of how soldiers carry out this "exercise of charity": aiding victims of floods or earthquakes, assisting refugees, clearing mine fields and engaging in peacekeeping missions in countries torn by civil conflict.