Tuesday, March 07, 2006

St. Ignatius, Jesuit ROTC, and All ROTC

In the latest issue of The Sign of Peace journal, we published a series of reports from Jesuit schools that have ROTC. Our intent is that this is just the beginning: we wish to call into question why any Church institution would support ROTC. In this blog we post some of the material that could not fit into the journal, and we hope you will join the fray. Before we begin, we also want to point any readers from Jesuit schools to another blog focused specifically on the SJ connection to ROTC. Check it out at: www.myspace.com/jesuitintegrity

Okay, in the next post is the piece that spurred us to run the series in the first place. It is from Bob Graf and appeared in the Marquette Tribune. After it, we post some of the angry letters to the editor, then his response. For sake of a good discussion POST ALL COMMENTS to this entry.


At March 09, 2006 12:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The following is the commentary that sparked a campus wide debate at Saint Louis University in the Winter and Spring of 2005. To read other articles, commentaries, and letters to the editor, please visit http://www.unewsonline.com and enter "rotc" in the 'search site' box.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

RJ Sak

"ROTC does not respect pro-life ethic"

by R.J. Sak
February 24, 2005

In the business classes I've taken at SLU, evaluating organizations is a routine practice. The standard benchmark for such analysis is the mission statement.

A while back, I revisited the mission statement for Saint Louis University. SLU intends to "transform society in the spirit of the Gospels...to support efforts to alleviate injustice...and to nurture commitment to the promotion of faith and justice." Indeed; we talk the talk, but are we walking the walk?

I think we can agree that the faculty, staff and employees at SLU go the extra mile to serve students-thank you.

However, there is a matter that many of us do not agree on. Does SLU practice what it teaches by sponsoring the United States Air Force's Reserve Officer Training Corps? It is my opinion that the United States military does not respect the pro-life Gospel ethic. Although awkward for some, the question must be addressed.

A fair reading of the Old Testament raises semantical questions. What does "thou shalt not kill" imply? Shalt not kill whom? Or what? How about self-defense? Who is really innocent, anyhow? The potential for theological headaches and late-night discussions are dizzying. Fortunately, the Hebrew Scriptures promise a Messiah. This person is to be "the Word made flesh." By definition, Christianity holds that Jesus Christ is the promised truth-teacher. Therefore, the statements and objectives of Christian, Catholic and Jesuit organizations can be logically compared to the standards and principles of Jesus Christ.

The Sermon on the Mount is a summation of truth. At the nucleus is an invitation to "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Resist not evil with evil." Nonresistance to evil prohibits the ending of human life. Jesus affords no circumstance for this tenet to be transgressed. Therefore, Christian organizations cannot sanction killing or sponsor organizations that justify the use of lethal force. This is basic moral responsibility assuming Catholic identity and accepting Christian mission.

The United States military authorizes lethal and deadly force as a justifiable response to aggression. Although "just war theory" is the typical line of reason, Catholic theology affirms that moral limitations of justification apply even when engaged in defensive combat. Thus, even when cloaked in self-defense, ending a human life remains a gross act of divine disobedience.

To quote Thomas Merton, "The God of peace is never glorified by human violence."

Dramatic indeed! In climax, the tragedy of pure conflict may only be resolved through submission to martyrdom and acceptance of death. Body broken and blood spilled. The passion is the victory. Truly ours is faith worth dying for.

As students, we are responsible to hold our University accountable to its mission statement. Because ROTC justifies evil and rejects the seamless garment of life, SLU is compelled to disassociate itself from ROTC. The Gospel speaks for itself. "Blessed are the peacemakers" means war studies are not blessed. This adulterous relationship must end. Now is the time to swell this world with children of peace.

The truth has been told. Let the dialogue carry on. Personal disarmament is the heart, and the demilitarization of our campus is the marrow of the message. So, we who are hopeful, we who are vulnerable, stand up and be counted! St. Ignatius' own transformation from violence into wholeness is our blessing. We walk as the sons and daughters of Saint Louis University for the greater glory of God.


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