Chaplain Service strengthens collaboration with Defence Ethics Programme

CWO Sophie Desjardins holds a Certificate of Appreciation received from Padre (Maj) Peterson on behalf of the RCChSC
Padre (Maj) Michael Peterson thanked Defence Ethic Programme Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Sophie Desjardins and her staff, on behalf of Padre (LCol) Claude Pigeon, Commandant of the Royal Canadian Chaplain Service School and Center (RCChSC) and WO E.J. Bruce, Sergeant Major, for serving as subject matter experts for the Chaplain Intermediate Course 2018 held in Borden in September. Photo: WO E.J. Bruce, Sergeant Major, RCChSC

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By Padre (Captain) John Funelas, Unit Chaplain, 8 Wing Trenton

The Royal Canadian Chaplain Service (RCChS) and the Defence Ethics Program (DEP) have been working closely to deliver the Chaplain Intermediate Ethics Course – a required course for chaplains. This year marked an even closer collaboration, with guest instructors from DEP visiting the Canadian Forces Chaplain School and Centre (CFChSC).

DEP staff led by Dr. Stephen Hare and Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Sophie Desjardins inspired their students with their enthusiasm, optimism, and insights about this renewed collaboration.

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is a world leader in supporting its members in terms of ethics and spirituality. It has a values-based ethics code taught to and practiced by all members of the Defence Team. The DEP oversees ethical issues, and the RCChS focuses on spiritual and moral support. Part of the chaplains’ mandate is to be an ethical adviser to command teams, and practically to all members.

The RCChS and the DEP continue to explore more productive collaboration for training, research and networking. The common goal is to provide the best service to members as they grapple with ethical dilemmas and issues unique to military life.

All CAF members receive training in ethics. They learn about CAF ethical principles and values that are based on respect for the dignity of all persons. They also learn about the DEP analytical tool: the assessment of the situation, ethical considerations, options and risks, and committing into action.

Training alone is not enough. Our ultimate goal is for all members to develop the habit of ethical thinking and doing, so that they can naturally make ethical decisions when confronted with tough situations and dilemmas.

As a padre, I feel humbled and honoured for the opportunity of being part of that journey. The DEP and RCChS teamwork is on a journey as well. Homer’s words in the Iliad are reassuring: “The journey is the thing.”

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