Evangelical Navy Chaplain Forced to Resign
Due To Doctrinal Repression By A Roman Catholic Superior

The Washington Times is reporting that an evangelical U.S. Navy chaplain serving in Italy was forced to resign from the Navy due to a doctrinal dispute with his Roman Catholic superior. Lieutenant Commander Philip Veitch, ordained by the Reformed Episcopal Church, had preached the following in one of his sermons:

"No saint, no minister, no priest, no person ordained or unordained -- no one stands between us and God, but Christ Jesus. Christ Jesus, in the Holy of Holies, is the meeting point between the sinner and the triune God."

According to Veitch, his superior, Roman Catholic chaplain Ronald Buchmiller, was upset at his sermons because they were allegedly "unpluralistic" and "anti-priest." What that means is that his preaching was directly opposed to Roman Catholic theology, which requires a priest be of valid apostolic succession for absolution of sin. Protestants teach that forgiveness can be obtained directly from Jesus Christ, our true High Priest (Heb. 9:11). The Bible also makes clear that there is only one mediator between God and man:

1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
1 Tim 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
1 Tim 2:7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

As a result of his preaching fundamental Bible-based truths, Lieutenant Commander Veitch was charged by the Navy with "disdain, insolence, and contempt" towards his senior officer, but according to Veitch, the threatened court-martial proceedings against him would be dropped if he agreed to resign, which he did. He has now reconsidered his resignation and is attempting to withdraw it, saying "I will not have a Roman Catholic priest tell me what I can and cannot say."

Another former Navy chaplain, who had also been stationed in Italy at the same command, said he had been ordered to stop ending his prayers with the phrase "In Jesus' name."

This kind of doctrinal censorship has no place in the chaplaincy of the U.S. military. Not only should Lieutenant Commander Philip Veitch be reinstated without prejudice, but his former superior, Roman Catholic chaplain Ronald Buchmiller, should be sternly disciplined, and permanently removed from any position of authority over non-Catholic ministers. No military chaplain should be subject to any doctrinal review or censorship by superiors from another denomination.

Express your opinion and Email the U.S. Navy Chief of Chaplains,


For more on this story, see Religion Today.