57th General Assembly and Annual Conference of the
London, 21-25 August 2022
Forty eight representatives of the Apostolat Militaire International (including three military bishops: The United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands) and a representative of the Military Ministries International (MMI), coming from 12 different nations on 4 continents, took part in the annual AMI Conference and 57th General Assembly in London. They were very glad after two COVID-years to be at a conference where they could meet each other in person. The Assembly voted unanimously for full membership of the Military Ordinariate of Slovakia.
An eloquent group of speakers delivered excellent lectures on topics relating to the history and constitutional position of the Roman Catholic church with respect to the Anglican Church in the United Kingdom. They presented talks on leadership and moral responsibility within the military, church-state issues as context for understanding Moral Injury.
The central theme was Moral injury. Several keynote speakers delivered lectures explaining the difference between Moral Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), ways to prevent, detect and treat MI situations. All lectures are available on the AMI website.
Based on experiences concerning Moral Injury within their individual countries, the delegates recommend that AMI on its web site and Catholic Military Connect (CMC) app:
1. Collect more information about Moral distress and clarify the difference between Moral Injury and PTSD;
2. On the CMC app develop a toolbox (within the “spiritual first aid” section) with tools that can be used at the young soldier level to reduce the effects of Moral Injury—including options for sharing experiences and testimonies between all ranks of military, including military veterans.
3. Assist in the collection and processing of data about Moral Injury experiences.
The Catholic Military Connect app had been released during the Lourdes Military Pilgrimage last May, with a special message of endorsement of Cardinal Parolin, Secretary of State of the Vatican. Several initiatives were formulated to increase the familiarity of this app and of the AMI organization. In close collaboration with the Tweeting with God-organization, years of hard work have resulted in a free app in eight languages which supports Catholic military in their faith wherever they are: “An App for Catholic Military from Catholic Military”.
The Russian invasion in Ukraine has led AMI to deliver a statement in conjunction with AMI’s London Declaration. In Lourdes AMI offered the Ukrainian delegation to provide the CMC app translation into Ukrainian with help of an external sponsor. During the London Conference, the AMI delegates joined the daily MMI prayer for Ukraine.
During the conference, 14 more video testimonies of AMI participants were produced and will soon be available on the AMI website (www.apostolatmilitaire.com), and the Via Crucis initiative was confirmed for the next year 2023 as well.
The AMI Action Plan both records the tasks that have been accomplished and the actions in progress. The General Assembly took new initiatives to enlarge the knowledge about AMI, especially for young military; organize quarterly internet sessions around important issues for Christian military; the initiatives concerning Moral Injury and establishing a database of volunteers to support AMI’s strategic advice to international organizations.
Based solidly on the Declaration of London 2020, the AMI organization, inspired by the Holy Spirit, continues to work on strengthening the faith of the military all over the world and inspire them to grow in faith and grace in their countries and organizations.
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