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Blowing the Dynamite

Monday, Oct. 8, 2010

113th Birthday of Dorothy Day

Dear Dr. John J. Pauly, Provost of Marquette University:

Thank you and your companion administrator for taking the time to talk with Joe Radoszewski and myself after the Simmons lecture. You doubted some of the statements we made questioning Marquette University hosting three Departments of Military Sciences. I will answer some of these doubts in this letter. I have footnoted most of my statements so I am sending you a copy via email, since it would be easier for you to access these footnotes with links in the text. Also, I am sending an email copy to Ms. Stephanie Russell, Father Simon Harak S.J. and Father Robert Wild S.J., since we know they are very concerned about the Jesuit Catholic identity of MU and peacemaking. Also a copy is being sent to Joe Radoszeski and to Philip Runkel, archivist for the Dorothy Day and Catholic Worker collection at Marquette University.

First, here are the statements I believe we agree on.

1) Your office, provost, and Marquette University administration have oversight on all the curricula of each school and department except the three departments of the military.
2) Marquette chooses to host the Army, Air Force and Navy/Marines schools or departments.
3) The Mission Statement of Marquette University 1
If you do not agree on any of these statements please inform us.

Second, here are the facts you questioned and our resources for making them.

1) The U.S. Army owns its half of the building it shares with the Navy and Air Force. (The source for this fact is a military official of the Army whose name I promised not to use. However, this would be a fact that you could easily verify, or not.)

2) There are public and private universities that have refused to host Departments of the Military for academic, ethical and moral reasons.


The clearest example of a university refusing to host a Department of the Army on academic grounds that I know of is at the Northeastern Illinois University. You can contact the Provost, Lawrence P. Frank, Dr. Shelley Bannister or Dr. Cris Toffolo. You can read Challenge to ROTC on Campus at NEIU, filed by Women’s Studies Department and Associated Faculty in April 2009. 2 The challenge was in part based on the academic qualifications of the instructors and course content that was to be accredited.

Perhaps, like me, you are unable to get a copy of the detailed curricula at the Department of the Army at Marquette. If you can get a copy my guess is you will find that some of these courses do not meet the academic standards of Marquette University.

However, I am able to find, on the Marquette University web site, a list of the instructors in the school of the Army at Marquette. You can find the academic qualifications of instructors in the Department of Military Sciences at Faculty and staff of the Army at MU. 3 I suggest you check the academic resumes of the following four, the last two of whom, for some reason, are no longer listed on the page.

Master Sergeant Mark Harrell, Senior Military Instructor; SFC James Breakfield, Training NCO; Staff Sergeant Dennis Davidson, Adjunct Military Instructor; and Major George L. Petropoulos, Assistant Professor of Military Science & Leadership.

Moral and Ethical:

Provost Pauley, you questioned my statement that major universities in the USA do not host Departments of Military Sciences on moral and ethical grounds.

Please check out any of these leading academic universities in the country such as Harvard, Yale, Cornell or Columbia at: 4 and you will find that they, like the majority of colleges and universities in the country, do not host any Departments of the Military on campus. The moral and ethical reasons they give for this decision not to be a host school vary, but most cite discrimination by the schools of the military toward gays and lesbians as the main reason. There are many articles on this subject of moral and ethical reasons not to host, and most of those articles criticize the university for this position. Here is one example on the ban of ROTC on campus: Columbia University: No ROTC On Campus As Long As … 5. Columbia sends their ROTC students to Fordham, Catholic Jesuit School.

While discrimination might be the primary reason for non-Catholic private universities to ban military departments on campus, for a Catholic Jesuit University like Marquette, there are other moral and ethical values practiced by the military that are in direct conflict with Christian values and the teachings of the Catholic Church.

All the military academies, like West Point, require a course in ethics when training officers. But in the ROTC programs, which now account for over 80% of military officer training, no ethics courses are required. See: “Teaching military ethics to ROTC cadets.” 6

Third, there are other statements we made that you called our “opinions”. Yes, we all have our “opinions” of the truth, but some of these opinions we share with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, the Gospel and Ignatian Spirituality. The complete mission statement of MU reads under the section called Faith: “Our Catholic identity is expressed in our choices of curricula, our sponsorship of programs and activities devoted to the cultivation of our religious character, our ecumenical outlook, and our support of Catholic beliefs and values.” Here are a few of those opinions of the truth that I believe are supported by the Catholic Church’s beliefs and values; and that the schools of the military at MU teach contrary beliefs and values.

Priority of Values

Military Values: “Your personal values may and probably do extend beyond the Army values, to include such things as political, cultural, or religious beliefs. However, if you’re to be an Army leader and a person of integrity, these values must reinforce, not contradict, Army values.” (Army Field Manual, [FM 22–100, Chapter 2–32] )

Gospel Values “The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the political community.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2242) For more on Army values vs. Gospel values see Gospel Values Vs Military Values 7


The Army teaches in its military officer schools, such as at Marquette, how to kill reflexively. Cpt. Pete Kilner, ethics instructor at the U.S. Military Academy describes it this way: “Modern combat training conditions soldiers to act reflexively to stimuli—such as fire commands, enemy contact or the sudden appearance of a “target”—and this maximizes soldiers’ lethality; but it does so thru bypassing their moral autonomy. Soldiers are conditioned to act without considering the moral repercussions of their actions; they are enabled to kill without making the conscious decision to do so.” (Military Leaders’ Obligation to Justify Killing in War) 8and the blog of Cpt. Pete Kilner, Thoughts of a Soldier-Ethicist9

I needn’t tell you the Catholic Church’s beliefs and values on Killing Without Conscience10

Preemptive or “Just” War

Marquette trains officers for preemptive, or preventive, wars like the war in Iraq and the present war in Afghanistan. The war in Iraq was justified by President Bush as a “preemptive war” and the present war in Afghanistan, now that Al Qaeda is no longer present, is justified as a “preemptive war” or as a “war of necessity”. “The concept of a ‘preventive war’ does not appear in the Catechism of the Catholic Church,” (Cardinal Ratzinger Says Unilateral Attack on Iraq Not Justified - Gives Personal Opinion; Favors Decision from U.N. Zenit News Service. Sept. 22, 2002. [now Pope Benedict XIV] 11

There might be some slight debate on the question that the military trains soldiers for what is called “just wars” in the Catholic Church. However, most Catholic moral theologians would agree with Pope John Paul II who said, about the Iraq war, that it was “illegal, immoral and unjust.” Check with ethical and moral theologians at MU about this, including Father Massingale and Professor Maquire, whose teachings on this subject have influenced me greatly.


As noted above, the US Military does presently discriminate against gays and lesbians. Last summer when President Wild S.J. said that Marquette does not discriminate based on sexual identity he was excluding the Departments of Army, Navy/Marines and Air Force. The campus ROTC base school of the Army, The Golden Eagle Battalion, also discriminates based on age, marital status, criminal records, conscientious objection, etc.

Selective Conscientious Objection

The Army does not allow for selective conscientious objection. The U.S. Bishops’ Declaration on Conscientious Objection and Selective Conscientious Objection (1971) states, “In the light of the Gospel and from an analysis of the church’s teaching on conscience, it is clear that a Catholic can be a conscientious objector to war in general or to a particular war ‘because of religious training and belief.’ … we should regard conscientious objection and selective conscientious objection as positive indicators within the Church of a sound moral awareness and respect for human life.” For more on this subject view the video Soldiers of Conscience 12 in which even soldiers that were complete conscientious objectors were treated as criminals by the military.

Violence and Nonviolence

There are different ways of looking at making war . In an article called Making War 13, by Archbishop Dr. Robert M. Bowman, Lt. Col., USAF, ret., National Commander, “The Patriots” & Primate, United Catholic Church, outlines four ways of making war. The two ways he describes that are most in conformity with the Catholic Church are the Just War Theory and Nonviolent Resistance. Both of these ways of making war are, in my opinion and that of Dr. Bowman, who has been honored by ROTC, are in direct conflict with the teaching of war that goes on in the “base ROTC school of Army” at Marquette University. Read his article and I am sure he, as well as I, who favor the nonviolent resistance model, will be glad to talk with you more in detail about this matter. He is easy to reach by phone or email as I am. 14 & 15

Ignatian Spirituality

My thirteen years of formal Jesuit education and my private research and prayer on Ignatian Spirituality clearly suggest that “nonviolent resistance” to making war is the way most in conformity with the Ignatian Identity of Marquette University. I have written about this subject: A presentation I wrote for the Peace and Justice Studies Association Conference in 2009 Conversation Between St. Ignatius of Loyola and Mahatma Gandhi 16 and an article that I sent to Jesuits, The Militarization of Catholic Jesuit University Education 17 are probably the two most relevant to this conflict of Ignatian Spirituality to the officer military training departments at Marquette.

The Catholic Worker Movement

The Catholic Worker movement and Dorothy Day have taken a strong stand against military training on a Catholic campus. See: Catholic Workers and Military Training on Catholic Campuses 18. Marquette University, besides hosting the military, also hosts the Catholic Worker Archives. In her day, Dorothy Day made clear her opposition by refusing to accept honoree degrees from Catholic Universities with military training (MU twice). Her grandchildren, just last year, insisted that an ROTC recruiting office in a dormitory named after Dorothy be removed or the dormitory be renamed. 19 This was at just a partner school to another school with ROTC, but made it clear that there is a conflict in hosting Catholic Worker archives and the military on the same campus.

I could probably go on but this summary of the reasons: academic, ethical and moral, should be enough to have you at least seriously question the hosting of departments of military sciences at Marquette. Most of the information cited and discussed above is contained in our web page Teach War No More. 20 Also, there is an article in the 2003 Sign of Peace, Journal of the Catholic Peace Fellowship that gives a good overview of the subject, “ROTC at Catholic Universities”. 21

I will wait a short period for your response before making public this letter. I humbly stand to be corrected on any errors of facts or opinions on what is the truth. However, as Dorothy Day, whose 113th anniversary of her birth is today, stated, “My understanding of the teaching of the Church is that we must follow our conscience, even an erroneous conscience.” (Catholic Agitator vol.1, no.9, Dec. 1970)


Robert E. Graf


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