The recent controversy at Marquette University with the rescinding of a contract to Professor Jodi O’Brien has put a spotlight on the contradiction of Marquette, a Catholic Jesuit University, hosting three base schools of the military on campus, School of Army, Navy/Marines and Air Force. There has been no response by Fr. Wild, S.J., Archbishop Listecki or the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to these letters. However, when it comes to issues of militarism in our society I, sadly, do not expect much of response. If you have a response email:
(This is a viewpoint that appeared in the January 28, 2010 Marquette Tribune}
Brief History of Reserved Officers Training Programs and Universities
In response to the Letter to Teachers of Morality and Ethics at Marquette University, Doctor Maguire of Marquette University Theology Department made this statement on the morality of military training and teaching on campus.
This letter was written to four faculty members that teach ethics and moral theology at Marquette. The occasion was the announcement that Father Massingale had won an award as the outstanding teacher at Marquette. This event reminded me of the 1960′s when another theology department at Marquette supported efforts to fight institutional racism. Now that we are engaged in a struggle against institutional militarism at Marquette and the Theology Department is silent. As sadly expected, none of the four parties responded to the letter. However, their ignoring the letter does not change my opinions expressed or the urgency of my message, so I have decided to share the letter. Bob Graf
Marquette University, A Jesuit Catholic University, Hosts Four Departments of Military Science That Teach War to Students from Fourteen Local Colleges and Universities.
How much money does Marquette gain from hosting military departments on campus?
On Dec. 7, 2008 a group of about 10 MU students, during the peak study time for exams, handed out in the Marquette Library over 1000 small pieces of paper with “What Would Jesus Join?” on one side and the link to the Debate Forum on the other side: Debate Forum
In Sept. 1982 the President of St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN., Father Hilary Thimmesh, O.S.B., commissioned an ad hoc “Committee on Values and the ROTC” to answer the question: “Does the sponsorship of ROTC at Saint John’s University constitute endorsement of values opposed to the Christian and Benedictine character of the University?”
In their May 1983 final report the Values Committee by a 6 to 2 majority answered affirmative to the original question put to them. A copy of the full report is available. (Editor’s note: Despite an extensive 2 year campaign by members of the Ant-ROTC community using this report ROTC remains at ST. John’s.)
Dear Father Wild S.J., President of Marquette University; Father Harak S.J., Director of the Center for Peacemaking; and Ms. Stephanie Russell, Executive Director of Office of Mission & Identity, Marquette University:
On September 30th I wrote to the three of you, thanking you for allowing “Peacefest” to commemorate 40 years of resistance to the military presence on campus and the 40th anniversary of the Milwaukee 14 action against the selective service system. I suggested two ways we could go in the movement for “Marquette To Be Faithful to the Gospel and No Longer Host Departments of the Military.” I thought that as leaders in value education at Marquette you could support these two suggestions, but having not heard from any of you the last ten days I need to take your answer as NO to both suggestions. So now I am appealing to a greater audience for a response.
My mother taught me that “charity begins at home.” As the recent article in America Magazine points out, we must teach justice and peace along with charity at our universities. Justice and Peace also begin at home. Shortly, Marquette University will send students and staff to SOA Watch at Fort Benning to protest the school of the army that trains soldiers from Latin America in ways that violate our moral conscience. Yet the same students and staff hesitate to resist the School of the Army at Marquette that trains men and women in the same military values, contrary to our Christian faith, as those taught at Fort Benning.
Jesuits taught me, for 13 years of my education, that the “end does not justify the means” and to be like St. Ignatius or Blessed Franz Jägerstätter: not to cooperate with evil, even if it means insults, injuries and even death.
Yet Marquette University ignores the words of Salvadoran Jesuit Ignacio Ellacuria, one of the martyrs who inspired SOA Watch, who said, when talking to John Dear S.J. in 1985 about ROTC, “Tell the Jesuits of Georgetown that they are committing mortal sin because they are supporting the forces of death which are killing our people.” (Father John Dear S.J. in National Catholic Reporter Online article — Jan. 8, 2008)
My appeals to you three respected leaders at Marquette University have fallen on deaf ears; I now appeal to the community of women and men of all faiths to discuss, debate and teach on all Jesuit campuses the question: Is it moral for a Jesuit University to host military training on campus? I also urge all Jesuit universities to take some space on campus to build a Garden of Resistance to grow healthy food for those who are hungry and as a symbol of resistance to unjust political systems and wars.
Together we are Growing Power, and can resist and overcome evil.
Last October a student wrote in the Marquette Tribune (1): “A man with what appeared to be a military rifle ran past the first-floor windows of Lalumiere Hall around 7:45 p.m. on Oct. 10”. The student ran upstairs to find out what was happening. “On the mall, I found my gunman and seven or so more. Another platoon was conducting similar maneuvers across the lawn. They marched, they huddled around platoon leaders’ orders, and they aimed at air and yelled, ‘Bang’!” It was just ROTC students playing ‘war games’ on campus but it was still a “frightening and disturbing experience”.
The reality behind the “war games” on campus is the fact that Marquette is teaching ‘war’ to students from nine local colleges and universities in the Milwaukee metro area for the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force.
More dangerous than the ‘war games’ at Marquette are the teachings of these four military departments that are contrary to Christian values. For example, whereas the Army manual (2) teaches that Army values take priority, the Christian faith teaches: “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.” (3)
In the ‘60s during another ‘immoral and unjust’ war the Christian spiritual writer Thomas Merton wrote: “It is absolutely clear to me that we are faced with the obligation, both as human beings and as Christian of striving in every way possible to abolish war.” (4) In 1968 after successfully waging a campaign to rid Marquette of “institutional racism,” Marquette students turned their attention to stopping the teaching of war on campus. Inspired by the nonviolent action of the Milwaukee 14 in September of 1968 Marquette students and friends began a 40-year campaign to end military training at Marquette.
Now forty years later it is up to us — citizens of Milwaukee; people of faith; students, staff, teachers, and alumni of Marquette — to renew the movement to follow Gospel values at Marquette. This time the movement is not for racial equality but for peace.
(1) Marquette Tribune, Oct. 10, 2007 (2) Army Field Manual, [FM 22–100, Chapter 2–32], (3) Catechism of the Catholic Church 224 (4) The Hidden Ground of Love by Thomas Merton
Sign the MUPeace petition
“The responsibility for war rests not only with those who directly cause war, but also with those who do not do everything in their power to prevent it.” — Pope John Paul II cited in “Catholic Relief Services: the Beginning Years” by Eileen Egan (NY: Catholic Relief Services, 1988), pp. 155–156
Simply stated, we believe that to “participate in an unjust war is to cooperate with evil” (1) and a citizen or institution “ is obliged 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.” (2) We also believe that “subjects who are aware of the injustice of a war are obliged to refrain from fighting, even if their prince (government) attempts to coerce them, since one must place loyalty to God ahead of loyalty to the prince (government).” (3) Putting this together with the military statement on values that “if you’re to be an Army leader and person of integrity, these values (religious beliefs) must reinforce, not contradict, Army values”, (4) we are obliged by our Christian conscience to say. “Marquette, Be Faithful to the Gospel, No Longer Host the Departments of Military Science. (5)
• 1 Holy Card for Blessed Franz Jägerstätter, • 2 Catholic Catechism (2242)
• 3 Francis de Vitoria S.J. Treatise “On War”, • 4 Army Manual (FM-22–199, Army Leadership), • 5 MU Peace Petition
On March 23, 1980, Archbishop Romero of El Salvador made the following appeal to the men of the armed forces:
“Brothers, you came from our own people. You are killing your own brothers. Any human order to kill must be subordinate to the law of God, which says, ‘Thou shalt not kill’. No soldier is obliged to obey an order contrary to the law of God. No one has to obey an immoral law. It is high time you obeyed your consciences rather than sinful orders. The church cannot remain silent before such an abomination. …In the name of God, in the name of this suffering people whose cry rises to heaven more loudly each day, I implore you, I beg you, I order you: stop the repression.”
The day following this speech, March 24, 1980, Archbishop Romero was murdered by military trained in the USA at a department of military science, SOA.
“Subjects who are aware of the injustice of a war are obliged to refrain from fighting, even if their prince attempts to coerce them, since one must place loyalty to God ahead of loyalty to the prince.” (Francis de Vitoria Dominican, 1483–1546 from treatise, On War)
Marquette University is the “base school” of the Army in the Greater Milwaukee Area for nine colleges and universities. Help us close this School of the Army, SOA.
Marquette University is one of 23 of the 28 Jesuit Universities in the country that host the military. MU is one of the few Jesuit universities that host all departments of the military, Army, Marines, Air Force and Navy. The MU School of Military Science trains young men and women for the military from Marquette, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and as well students from eight other local colleges and universities.
“John Paul has said there is no legal or moral justification for military action (in Iraq). He has also expressed concern that war would harm relations between Christians and Muslims.” (Catholic News Service, March 22, 2003)
Currently, departments of military sciences at Marquette are recruiting and training young men and women to fight in Iraq. This is a war that is clearly illegal, immoral and unjust, fulfilling not a single one of the criteria for a just war either in its lead up or its conduct since the invasion and occupation of that country.
Marquette University’s School of Military Science is the base school for many local Milwaukee colleges and universities. These include:
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Alverno, Carthage College, Concordia University, Carroll College, UW Parkside, Mount Mary ----For example The Marquette University Department of the Army is the base school all of the4 above Milwaukee colleges and Universities.
“The concept of a ‘preventive war’ does not appear in the ‘Catechism of the Catholic Church.” (Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope)
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] )
“When soldiers and DA civilians take the oath (of service), they enter an institution guided by Army values. These are more than a system of rules. They’re not just a code tucked away in a drawer or a list in a dusty book. These values tell you what you need to be, every day, in every action you take. Army values form the very identity of America’s Army, the solid rock upon which everything else stands, especially in combat.”
The Military Does Not Allow for any Selective Conscientious Objection even to a war one’s faith and conscience declares unjust.
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)
Our nation must also make provisions for those who in conscience exercise their right to conscientious objection or selective conscientious objection. (USCC Statement 12/07}
St. Alphonsus de Liguori (1696–1787)
John Paul II
“War in Iraq a crime, says Vatican”
“On top of this, most of our universities and high schools train young people how to murder other people in an evil program called Reserve Officer Training Corp, or ROTC. This work goes against everything Jesus gave his life for, everything we stand for. While I was in Central America in 1985, Salvadoran Jesuit Ignacio Ellacuria talked about ROTC, ‘Tell the Jesuits of Georgetown that they are committing mortal sin because they are supporting the forces of death which are killing our people.’ He was assassinated in 1989.” (Father John Dear S.J. in National Catholic Reporter Online article — Jan. 8, 2008)