What makes a good Army Chaplain?

Hello everybody,

Thank you for you advice on the quality of ablutions in officers' messes.

I have been doing some soul searching recently and have decided to combine my passion for matters military with my religious convictions.

Therefore, I have signed up for a degree in divinity starting in September and intend to join the Army as a chaplain once I am ordained.

I am keen to develop the necessary skills of a good army chaplain and decided to ask you boys for advice.

Therefore, what are the characteristics and traits of a good chaplain?
A Good Padre is a listening ear and a quiet Theologian. I did a few courses at Amport House in my development. I am no angel and did a years course at Belfast Bible College doing a one night a week at knowing Gods Will and a prep course. A debrief with the Sky Pilot after an attack is very good. I have done too many tours and was toured out. I sought peace in the Church. My Archdeacon & CO have told me that I should follow the route. Good luck my friend.

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Do P Coy. Keep it religious lite. Do the odd patrol and go and live on the forward bases when you can. If you end up writing letters of condolences keep it along the lines of "Your son/husband/brother was very brave, he did his duty, he was not in great pain or discomfort and he knew he was with his brothers" no matter what actually happened.

Thats about it really - Padre's - I assume they are still called Padre's that stick to that are greatly admired and respected.
Beaten too it by Schaden, P Coy or AACC, nothing like a Padre with with an arduous course under his belt.

The ability to appear a little distant like you're constantly getting messages from above but to be able to tune into the lads when they want to speak to you.

The ability to take a joke from the lads like in the film "The Odd Angry Shot", where the give the Padre a wanking machine.
You need to do an ironing familiarisation course before attending gay parades. Or any parade, in fact.


Book Reviewer
Never mind what they say to be a good Chaplin you need a combination of things

The look a little bit shabby - sort of down on your luck.
The Moustache a kind of Hitler affair.
A Bowler Hat.
A Cane.
Your boots - rip the sole of one and leave it flapping at the toe cap.
The walk - get it right practise, practise, practise, - twirl the cane and shuffle.
If you can get a young sidekick then your onto a winner.

If you can get all of those things right - you'll be a Chaplin my son and the boys will love you for it.

Make sure you give the lads the patter about the seventy two virgins before they blow themselves up......fuck, sorry...wrong army.
Don't listen to them.

An efficient Padre will, on being approached for solace, will listen but have the ability to switch onto the 1000yd stare. He will then slide-back-to-the-now while slowly smiling at his (probable) habitué. If the Padre then slips an 18" roll of cheese wire from his pocket he will have got his point across; the visitor will have an epiphany - guaranteed.

Or that may have been a film I saw.


Book Reviewer
Morale Bag. Always, always, always carry a morale bag. A Mars Bar or suchlike will improve ones outlook for a few minutes on stag at O-Shit hundred hours.

Don't be a Bible Basher. Keep the religious stuff to the church and for when someone asks for it.

Have a quirk. Be known for a little oddity that will make you readily identifiable in a conversation 10-20 years later.

Don't be judgemental. Even if you don't like the guy in front of you, you still treat him the same as all the others in your 'flock'.

Don't use Werthers Original. The children are now wise to them and you will need something new to entice them into your vestibule...
Being willing to sit in the naafi bar with your gold card out gettin the lads and yourself suitably rat arsed.
A good chaplain:

a. Likes a drink

b. Plays rugby

c. Can spot a malingerer

d. Is not all chutney

e. Most importantly, he is not Roman Catholic
A good chaplain:

a. Likes a drink

b. Plays rugby

c. Can spot a malingerer

d. Is not all chutney

e. Most importantly, he is not Roman Catholic
You've just reminded me of a Padre who played rugby for Aldershot Services circa '74. He was the only player allowed into the clubhouse in his tracksuit, this was because he was such a foul-mouthed and dirty sod on the pitch.
Drink like a fish, smoke like a chimney, dont bite when they try and find a chink in your armour and after the shit hits the fan, dont talk too much, listen.

I think we corrupted ours, he now drinks, smokes and plays poker.

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