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Combat Trauma and Moral Fragmentation: A Theological Account of Moral Injury


Moral injury, the experience of having acted (or consented to others acting) incommensurably with one’s most deeply held moral conceptions, is increasingly recognized by the mental health disciplines to be associated with postcombat traumatic stress. In this essay I argue that moral injury is an important and useful clinical construct but that the phenomenon of moral injury beckons beyond the structural constraints of contemporary psychology toward something like moral theology. This something, embodied in specific communal practices, can rescue moral injury from the medical model and the means–end logic of techne and can allow for truthful, contextualized narration of and healing from morally fragmenting combat experiences.

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