The Washington Post

Navy help wanted notice: one priest

The Trident submarine USS Nebraska, guided by tugboats at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base (Bruce Lipsky/AP)

Take, for example the FedBizOps solicitation number: N4223714RC002X2, a Navy request for a Roman Catholic Priest for the submarine base at King’s Bay, Ga.

There’s a long list of regs involving things like “convict labor” and “segregated facilities” and “affirmative action for workers with disabilities” as well as a “contractor policy to ban text messaging while driving.”

We thought that Web site an odd place to advertise for a priest — after all, you could just call the Archdiocese for the Military Services here in Washington.

But, as it turns out, there is a chronic shortage of Catholic military chaplains as aging priests hit the military’s mandatory retirement age of 62, and replacements are not, for now, available — though the number of seminarians in the pipeline has increased substantially.

So the Navy appears to be contracting out for help maybe from retired priests. Hey! What about recently retired Pope Benedict XVI? He might be able to fill in maybe — part-time.

Oh, wait. There’s something in the solicitation about the need to “Buy American”— and he’s German.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.


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