DIOPA Veterans Ministry – Moral Injury



“Moral Injury in veterans can be as harmful as physical wounds. It can occur when a personal moral code – one’s understanding of ‘what’s right’ – is violated.”
– Holly Arrow and William Schumacher, The Conversation

It has been said that moral injury is like a bruise on the soul, an injury that many veterans experience in silence. It is distinquishable from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in its inclusion of self-betrayal and failing to prevent, bearing witness to, or learning about acts that transgress deeply held moral beliefs and expectations.

There are always ways in which religious leaders can reframe and tend to moral injury. It can be healed when veterans feel supported by family, friends and the community.

Various parishes in the Diocese of Pennsylvania offer healing ceremonies. A Healing Ceremony is a special service shared by the Chaplin Team at the Philadelphia Veterans Hospital. It is a spiritual act of healing which incorporates role-reversal to address the moral injuries veterans have sustained. In addition, it’s an opportunity for communities to responsibly share in the healing process.

If you are interested in learning more about the Community Healing Ceremonies for Reconciliation for Veterans and Civilians, please contact veterans@diopa.org.