A Medal for "The Good Thief"

I was reading about a Father Emil Kaupan, a Catholic chaplain who will soon be awarded the Medal of Honor:

Capt. Kapaun was also Father Kapaun, a Roman Catholic chaplain who will be awarded the Medal of Honor on Thursday, 60 years after his death while a North Korean prisoner. The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in the U.S. military.
 
Pretty amazing guy.  Some of the highlights:

He would bike from position to position so he could minister to soldiers, hearing confessions, performing last rites or administering Holy Communion.

He often celebrated Mass using the hood of a Jeep as an altar.

He was awarded the Bronze Star for valor for running through enemy fire to carry wounded soldiers to safety.

He stayed behind to minister to the wounded soldiers, knowing he was putting himself in danger of capture by the enemy.

He came to the aid of a wounded American soldier after U.S. troops surrendered in a battle.Pushed the aside an enemy soldier ready to execute the man, then carried that wounded American away -- on a four-mile death march.

He risked his own life to  Chinese soldiers from killing wounded POWs who were slowing the march, then persuaded unwounded POWs to help the wounded.

Imprisoned with 200 other soldiers at a camp near Pyoktong, North Korea, he would sneak through the camp ministering to other prisoners, bringing hot coffee and hot water.

To keep his fellow POWs from starving, he would break out of the camp at night, steal food and sneak back in to give it to those who needed it the most, his nephew said.

No wonder his fellow POWs nicknamed him "The Good Thief."

War chaplaincy is a tricky thing. One the one hand, the soldiers fightin for their country need spiritual ustenance as much as, or more than, other citizens. Soldiers in battle face the most grueling experiences that human beings can face. They need solace to keep them from cracking up. On the other hand, chaplains can give a patina of acceptability to one country's aggression against another. They face enormous risks, but they are there in the service of the fighting forces. Whatever their motives, they are invaluable to their country's war effort.

But, given the ethical miasma they work in, chaplains can bring a touch of humanity to war, especially in the face of a brutal enemy and under dispiriting conditions. Bravo to Father Kapaun for blooming where he was planted -- on the frozen fields of battle in Korea.