Holy Cross Religious Studies Professor Analyzes Case for Military Chaplain’s Sainthood

Joanne Pierce, professor of religious studies. Photo by John Buckingham

The Conversation

In early Christianity, soldiers could be baptized only if they refused to kill another human – today, Father Emil Kapaun, a U.S. Army chaplain and a war hero, is being considered a candidate for sainthood by the Catholic Church.

In an article for The Conversation, Joanne Pierce, professor of religious studies at Holy Cross and a scholar of medieval liturgy and worship, traces the connection between military bravery and spiritual heroism throughout the centuries. 

According to Pierce, although "it might seem unusual to associate priestly ministry with the violence of war," there has been a long history of religious figures accompanying armies to the battlefield.

"For many Catholics, Kapaun's selfless actions during combat and imprisonment would demonstrate extraordinary heroism, not just in fighting the armed enemies, but also in what the Vatican calls 'offering of one’s life' for other human beings," says Pierce.

To read the full article, go to TheConversation.com