AMI Conference 2023 in Mechelen

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58th General Assembly and Annual Conference of the Apostolat Militaire International
in Diocesaan Pastoraal Centrum, Mechelen (Belgium), 10 – 15 September 2023

The 58th Annual Conference and General Assembly of the Apostolat Militaire International (AMI) took place at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre in Mechelen, Belgium from 10 to 15 September 2023. A total of 44 AMI representatives attended, including the military bishops of Austria, France, the Netherlands, the Philippines and the United Kingdom, along with a representative from the newly formed Catholic Military Association of the United States. They were joined by the Director of Tweeting with God, three representatives of Military Ministries International, and for the first time, a delegation from Ukraine. In all, a total of 13 different nations were represented, from four continents.

The theme of the conference was the “Christian attitude to contemporary warfare”. A series of excellent speakers covered the war in Ukraine, the Law of Armed Conflict, International Humanitarian Law and the role of diplomacy and EU in the pursuit of peace. A visit to NATO HQ in Brussels also helped to place this in the context of current NATO operations and commitments.

As a result of these lectures, the delegates are convinced that according to the Just War concept, the defence by Ukrainian armed forces is a legitimate use of force. This is completely in line with the in 2022 published AMI statement on Ukraine, in which AMI stated that “We condemn the offensive use of force by Russia against Ukraine. We feel great sorrow and strong compassion with the Ukrainian people. We hope and pray that the violence and human suffering will end soon and that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine will be restored.” ( At the same time, within the AMI community there is the great hope that a just peace will be granted soon in the light of the Holy See’s strengths to reach it.

The Declaration of London (2020) details the AMI’s approach to the complexity of contemporary armed conflicts. At the geopolitical level there is now a clear shift to a multipolar world, with different powers claiming a role in defining the new order. All continents are affected. Conflict can take many different forms, such as total war, hybrid war and wars of communication. For Catholic military personnel, it is vital that when deployed they operate within an ethical and legal framework that is compatible with Catholic teaching, and that they are able to follow their conscience at all times.

The AMI Action Plan was updated to reflect several new initiatives. A dedicated AMI social media team will reinvigorate the AMI’s use of this vital means of communication and evangelisation. The three strategic working groups will now meet quarterly to refine and update the AMI’s approach to many of key topics addressed during the conference. This will support the AMI’s role as the Catholic military advisor to other international organisations. As the vast majority of military personnel are young people who are not officers, the Conference also endorsed creation of the post of Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Executive Committee. In the working groups will be room for expert volunteers to support AMI’s strategic advice to international organizations on subjects as Spiritual first aid, Humanitarian law issues, Ethical aspects of warfare (artificial intelligence, killer robots, LAWS – Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems – and also Biological, et cetera, …) and Chemical weapons. Furthermore, another goal for AMI will be to keep reaching out the other Christian organizations such as MMI – Military Ministry International.

The free Catholic Military Connect app (in eight different languages) has been created in close collaboration with Tweeting with God. It supports Catholic military in their faith wherever they are, and is a vital asset for evangelisation. The Conference took forward a number of initiatives designed to increase familiarity with the app.

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, and strengthened as an international military family and community, the AMI continues its work to inspire Catholic military to grow in faith wherever they may be serving throughout the world.

Conference lectures, video testimonies and photographs will be made available on this link.