President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that the U.S Navy and Department of Defense (DOD) will not be canceling its contracts with the Catholic priests “who serve our men and women in the Armed Forces so well.”
The announcement from Trump marks a reversal from a report published Saturday by the San Diego Tribune that alleged, according to the Daily Caller, that the Navy would cease to offer “Catholic masses on San Diego-area bases, citing cost purposes, though Protestant services at the bases would continue.”
“The Navy’s religious ministries priority is reaching and ministering to our largest demographic — active duty Sailors and Marines in the 18–25-year-old range,” Navy spokesman Brian O’Rourke told the Tribune, according to the Daily Caller.
He went on: “To meet that mission, the Navy has had to make the difficult decision to discontinue most contracted ministry services.”
Trump says no
Days later, the president took to Twitter to make clear that such a move won’t be happening on his watch.
According to the Daily Caller, Trump’s tweet tagged Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who declined to comment on the matter. But it seems as far as Trump is concerned, there’s nothing left to say.
“This will no longer be even a point of discussion!” he wrote Wednesday. Take a look:
The United States Navy, or the Department of Defense, will NOT be cancelling its contract with Catholic Priests who serve our men and women in the Armed Forces so well, and with such great compassion & skill. This will no longer be even a point of discussion! @CardinalDolan
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 9, 2020
Supporting our troops
According to the San Diego Tribune‘s report, it was a shortage of active-duty priests in the Chaplain Corps that led to the DOD needing to contract priests outside of the military’s ranks. But subsequent budget cuts shouldn’t have to mean that our men and women in uniform lose the religious communities they’ve built.
Even O’Rourke admitted to the Tribune that the change would be “difficult for our existing on-base congregations.”
“Military chaplains are working closely with local parishes to assist the faithful in finding new congregations,” he said, asking for “understanding, patience and support from those faithful civilians and retirees who, in their heart of hearts, want what is best for our uniformed service members and their families.”
Thankfully, President Trump is keeping a wary eye out for situations like these to ensure that those who serve, and their families, don’t have to sacrifice their faith for their country.