Carl Jung, in his book, The Undiscovered Self (1958) has this arresting phrase—“where the Church is notoriously weak, as in Protestantism.” In the United States Army, where I have been a chaplain for the past two years, one understands how weak modern Protestantism really is.
It has been discouraging to note the small attendance at weekly worship services, not only my own services but those conducted by other Protestant chaplains also. To condemn the Army for the religious indifference so many soldiers develop is wrong. The Army gives its approval and support, both moral and financial, to the religious program, and displays its concern to provide for the religious needs of all personnel. The scarcity of worshipers at chapel services and personal conversations convince me that the religious loyalty of most Protestant men is shallow.
The Roman Catholic situation offers a striking contrast. Though Catholic personnel in the Army is lower percentagewise than Protestant, Catholic services are crowded. A Catholic chaplain has merely to announce a service and the men will gather, whereas the average Protestant chaplain’s best promotional work has minimal results. At my post, Fort Bliss, Texas, attendance at Catholic services normally runs twice that of Protestant services. Even an equal attendance would still speak of Protestant weakness, since only one fourth of the men are Catholic.
Protestants with whom I have discussed this problem all have some convenient rationalization: Generally the line is that “Catholics come only because they have to.” But Catholics “have to” only because they are committed to their faith, and most Protestants stay away because they are not deeply committed.
Some exceptions exist. A Protestant chaplain with ...1
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