Moral injury was defined by Veterans Affairs clinicians in 2009 as the consequence of “perpetrating, failing to prevent, bearing witness to, or learning about acts that transgress deeply held moral beliefs and expectations.” Under the extreme, morally ambiguous conditions of war, moral injury occurs through:
Reflection on memories of the use of personal agency that violates core moral beliefs;
Inner judgments against oneself;
Feelings of unresolved grief, guilt, anger at the failure of others or self to behave morally, shame, betrayal by leaders, seeking to make amends, and wanting to die;
A collapse of personal moral identity and a meaning system that supports it.
I am adding a new resource to my website, Brite Divinity School. There has been much discussion and education on how the soul is damaged in war. It is most encouraging to learn of an accredited educational institution focused on moral injury. It is now clear that war can damage deeply held moral beliefs of those who engage directly in combat or anyone who is exposed to severe traumatic events; including loved ones, especially children, who live with a parent suffering from the symptoms of PTSD. We cannot repair the souls affected by truamatic events overnight, but the more we become educated on the subject and aware of the symptoms of PTSD we can make a difference.