I’m guessing that most of you haven’t heard of Joshua Casteel—but you should have. Casteel passed away in August after a short battle with a very aggressive form of lung cancer. He was only thirty-two.
An Iraq war veteran, Casteel served as an interrogator at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison shortly after the abuse scandal rocked the US military. He worked to ferret out intelligence that would help US forces capture and kill al Qaeda kingpins and foil the plots of jihadists.
I met Joshua in South Bend, Indiana at a conference sponsored by the Catholic Peace Fellowship, an organization started by Jim Forest and Tom Cornell, both of whom worked closely with Dorothy Day in her ministry of hospitality to the homeless.
I remember sitting down at one of the long tables during the lunch break just as Joshua was being introduced. He had a bit of a hipster vibe about him—flannel shirt, beard and black glasses—but there was no irony or cynicism in his posture or his voice as he recited the Magnificat: [Read more…]