Catholic Chaplains to the British Forces in World War I
Father Oliver P. Rafferty, S.J., will outline some of the complexities facing the Catholic Church in Ireland and Britain as it sought to minister to combatants during the Great War. Anti-Catholicism was pervasive in British society in the early 20th century, a sentiment exacerbated by the ill-fated attempt at revolution in Dublin at Easter 1916. Yet time and again the pastoral effectiveness of Catholic priests was praised by non-Catholics in contrast, unfairly, to the ministry of the clergy of other churches. Ultimately the experience of the war confirmed for the Church its role in ministering to those engaged in warfare despite the ambiguities arising from Christ's teaching on the matter of violence.
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