Defend Us in Battle: Catholic Chaplains in the British Military

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Book Details

Format: Paperback (411 pages)

Publisher: Sacristy Press

Date of Publication:

ISBN: 978-1-78959-358-7

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The Catholic Church has always had regard for the spiritual and pastoral welfare of those in the military and for centuries priests have ministered to armed forces personnel in war and in peace. The Old Testament records that priests accompanied those in battle and in the Christian era military chaplains have nobly carried forward this duty of service.   

Historians have begun to examine in more detail the concept and conduct of military chaplaincy and Defend Us In Battle traces the growth and development of Catholic chaplaincy to British armed forces from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century.

Taking as its starting point the emergence of a recognized system of military chaplaincy established by the Society of Jesus in Reformation Europe, this wide-ranging survey considers the ministry of chaplains through succeeding centuries. It relates the struggles that Catholic soldiers and sailors endured with British officialdom before being granted their own chaplains.

Chaplains have served and continue to serve all branches of the British armed forces. The size and organization of the military and the nature of warfare has been transformed but the chaplain’s vocation remains unchanged.

Defend Us In Battle describes the ministry of priests who over the centuries and across the world have voluntarily provided Catholic service personnel with the solace of religion far away from home and frequently in danger. There emerges a powerful narrative of priestly service not always known or recognized by those outside the military. 

About the Authors

Dr James Hagerty KSG is former headteacher of St Bede’s Grammar School, Bradford. He has published major studies and articles on the history of Catholic chaplaincy in the British military for international, national and local historical journals.

Barry Hudd KSG, Media Advisor to the Bishopric of the Forces, worked alongside the military in Britain, Germany and elsewhere as an accredited Defence Contractor for many years before joining the staff at Plater College, Oxford.

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