The McCain Conference—the annual ethics conference for service academies and allied institutions held at the US Naval Academy’s Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership in Annapolis, MD—this year focused on moral injury and the profession of arms. Providence‘s executive editor, Marc LiVecche, currently the McDonald Visiting Scholar at the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics, and Public Life at Christ Church, Oxford University, and contributing editor Chaplain (COL) Timothy Mallard, Command Chaplain for US Army Europe, spoke on a panel discussing theological and pedagogical perspectives on moral injury. They were joined by then Midshipman Maggie Dods, who recently commissioned into the US Marine Corps and who in the fall will be a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, studying for a masters of philosophy in modern Middle East studies.

LiVecche offered a theological framework for addressing killing in combat as an inoculation against the advent of moral injury. He does so by picking a friendly (and summary) fight with Reinhold Niebuhr’s portrayal of killing in combat as a moral paradox.

Chaplain Mallard spoke on the place of the soul in the profession in arms and moral injury as a strategic level crisis in the profession of arms.

Watch the video of the panel discussion below or at the Stockdale Center’s YouTube channel here.

Program Notes: Background reading: Marc LiVecche’s “Reinhold Niebuhr & The Problem of Paradox,” and Timothy Mallard’s, “The (Twin) Wounds of War.”