Catholic military chaplaincy

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The Catholic Military Pastoral Care is the military pastoral care of the Roman Catholic Church .


The military pastoral care is the oldest church group pastoral care . As early as the Milan Agreement of 313, one can speak of an orderly Christian military chaplaincy. In the 6th century, the Decretum Gratiani documents that clergymen were entrusted with the permanent pastoral care of soldiers with the approval of Pope Pelagius I. 742 of the operation was on Archbishop of Mainz Boniface at the German National Council ( council Germanicum ) clerical the bearing arms and the participation in war prohibited. Excluded from this regulation were those priests who were designated to accompany the army and to hold the services and to administer the sacrament of penance. 769 in a capitular of Charlemagne these determinations are repeated; they are likely to have been valid for the entire Middle Ages.

With the rise of standing armies in the early modern period, the military chaplaincy also became a permanent institution. The field chaplains , however, were no longer voluntary companions of the army , but were under oath and were subject to military discipline. In the 16th century, military chaplaincy began to be institutionalized with the establishment of its own vicariates general for the army.

Canon Law

In the decree Christ Dominus of the Second Vatican Council (1965) the establishment of military vicariates ( → vicariate ) was ordered, "because extraordinary care must be taken in the spiritual care of soldiers because of their special living conditions."

Under canon law, the military chaplaincy is divided into "military vicariates", which are comparable to a diocese . With the Apostolic Constitution Spirituali militum curae (1986), the military vicariates to be established, now called military ordinariates , were legally equated with the dioceses and are managed according to statutes drawn up by the Holy See . At the head is the military ordinary , who is equal to a diocesan bishop . In Germany, the County is a part-time exercised by a diocesan bishop. All soldiers and their family members belong to his jurisdiction .

A further subdivision of the military ordinariates is not specified for the whole church and is handled differently. Military chaplains are not real pastors and do not lead a parish, but a pastoral care district; this is called the “ military parish ” in Austria .

See also


  • Alfred E. Hierold , Ernst Josef Nagel (ed.): Church mandate and political peace building. Festschrift for Ernst Niermann, Military Vicar General 1981–1995 (= Theology and Peace . Volume 11). Kohlhammer, Stuttgart a. a. 1995, ISBN 3-17-013724-7 .
  • Catholic Military Bishop's Office (ed.): Church under soldiers. 50 years of Catholic military chaplaincy in the German Federal Armed Forces . Cordier, Heiligenstadt 2006, ISBN 3-929413-94-9 .
  • Catholic Military Bishop's Office (ed.): Catholic military pastoral care in the Bundeswehr. A new beginning (1951–1957) . Bachem, Cologne 1986, ISBN 3-7616-0843-8 .
  • Dagmar Pöpping : Passion and Destruction. War pastor on the Eastern Front 1941–1945 . Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019, ISBN 978-3-525-54145-6 .
  • Dagmar Pöpping: War Pastor on the Eastern Front. Evangelical and Catholic Wehrmacht chaplaincy in the war of annihilation 1941–1945 , Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2017, ISBN 978-3-525-55788-4 .
  • Matthias Pulte: The permanent deacon as a military chaplain. Canon law and state church law aspects for a new service position in the Catholic military chaplaincy in Germany (= Munster Commentary on Codex iuris canonici . Supplement 33). Ludgerus Verlag, Essen 2001, ISBN 3-87497-240-2 .
  • Martin Röw: Military chaplaincy under the swastika. The Catholic field pastoral care 1939-1945 , Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh 2014, ISBN 978-3-506-77848-2 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Decree Christ Dominus, Chapter III, III, 43.
  2. ^ Alfred E. Hierold: Art. Military Pastoral Care. In: Joseph Listl, Heribert Schmitz, H. Müller (eds.): Handbook of Catholic Church Law. 2. fundamentally rework. Edition. Pustet, Regensburg 1999, ISBN 3-7917-1664-6 , p. 557.