Like many of the 750,000 living veterans in Australia, Deacon Gary Stone has spent the past few days struggling with a diverse range of emotions following the release of a report into SAS war crimes in Afghanistan. Source: The Catholic Leader.
These emotions ranged from shock to disgust, to anger and grief, as we have become more aware of criminal behaviour by rogue operators within the Special Air Service Regiment and an apparent culture of silence and misplaced loyalty that perpetuated this.
As I have prayerfully reflected on an appropriate response I had an image reminiscent of the disciples of Jesus standing before the crucifixion in bewilderment.
How could this have possibly happened, and where do we go from here?
Fascinatingly, I have reflected and imagined the emotions that so many of our good priests must have gone through, as they became aware of the criminal behaviour of some of their brothers in the clerical abuse scandal.
This sad and sorry story has a long way to play out, yet I would just hope that our wider community can understand that for us veterans this alleged behaviour is so utterly reprehensible, so inconsistent with our values and indeed incomprehensible.
We have been formed, and served, as peacemakers, with great compassion and involving significant sacrifice, suffering and loss.
In faith we can only be consoled that like Jesus, we will rise again, but in the meantime there will be justice needed for perpetrators, and consolation and support needed for many innocent and not so innocent victims of what is truly an evil turn of events.
Deacon Gary Stone is a permanent deacon in the Brisbane Archdiocese. He served for decades in the army as chaplain and founded the Veterans Care Association.
Brisbane deacon and veteran reveals dismay over shocking SAS war crimes (The Catholic Leader)