cover image Invisible Scars of War: A Veteran’s Struggle with Moral Injury

Invisible Scars of War: A Veteran’s Struggle with Moral Injury

Dick Hattan. Woodstock Square, $16.95 trade paper (188p) ISBN 978-1-7327-4100-3

In a moving and thoughtful debut, Hattan, a priest in the Independent Catholic Church, analyzes the cultural cost of the Vietnam War while reflecting on the spiritual damage one suffers in war. Hattan, a native of Chicago, examines his powerful emotional crisis of faith and morality when he served with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam in 1971 at age 24. Describing himself as “a young white Catholic boy,” he had long been drawn to the church and, during the war, felt torn between following the “nonviolent Jesus I read about in the Gospels” and acting on his love of country. Hattan ponders what he believes to be the church’s inconsistent teachings—“If all life is sacred, why did the Church go to the mat on abortion, but not on war?”—and charges the church with having failed to support those returning home from tours of duty. With no welcome home parade or acceptance, Hattan describes how veterans suffered moral and literal injuries, and suggests that a National Day of Forgiveness could serve as a kind of spiritual healing. With candor and insight, Hattan offers options to those who seek inner peace from war’s personal demons. (BookLife)