President Donald Trump announced on Twitter Wednesday that he will not allow the U.S. Navy to cancel its contract with Catholic priests who serve as chaplains at military bases.
“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,” Trump wrote. “This will no longer be even a point of discussion!”
The Navy had decided not to renew contracts with Catholic priests in a “cost-cutting” move, leaving bases without enough Catholic chaplains to keep services going, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported over the weekend.
Although the Navy has an active-duty component of clergy in the Chaplain Corps, the number of Catholic priests among them is small. It was to make up for that shortage that the service contracted with priests to lead services on U.S. bases.
Vice Adm. Yancey Lindsey, the commander of Naval Installations Command, explained the decision by explaining that “We have a responsibility to use our limited resources wisely in meeting the needs of our personnel. Therefore, we will reduce redundancies and capture efficiencies by realigning resources.”
He had pointed out that religious services will be cut only at bases where those services are readily available in the surrounding community outside the base.
Religious services would continue on overseas bases and on Navy ships.
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