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September 29, 2010

Dear Archbishop Listecki, Archbishop of Milwaukee; Rev. Robert Wild S.J., President of Marquette University; Ms. Stephanie Russell, Vice President of Mission and Identity; Rev. Simon Harak S.J., Director Marquette University Center for Peacemaking:

What does it profit a Catholic Jesuit university in choosing to host military training on campus at the cost of its soul? We have been asking this question for years and encouraging Marquette University to close the Schools or Departments of Army, Navy/Marines and Air Force on campus. We have presented how these regional officer military training centers on campus, besides being academically questionable, teach values that are contrary to moral and ethical values that Marquette professes to stand for. The four of you have previously refused to answer the question: “Is it moral or ethical for Marquette University to host Departments of Military Sciences on campus?” However, your silence has spoken volumes to many faculty and students of Marquette University and to many people of good faith and conscience in Milwaukee and beyond. Your silence, by purposefully not addressing one of the premier questions of our age, if not of the ages, has indirectly and emphatically said YES to the teaching of values of loyalty to military over conscience and to the training of killing without thought or conscience [see:“Killing Without Conscience”].

Sign of Contradiction

Why does Marquette make this choice? Is it for money? All colleges and universities are required by US law to offer military recruiting on campus and to make ROTC available in order to receive federal funds. However, MOST schools for academic, ethical, or moral reasons choose NOT to host military departments on their campuses. Marquette, however, is in fact only one of two colleges and universities in the State of Wisconsin to offer all three Departments of Military Science, Army, Navy/Marines and Air Force on its campus … and the only one that is Roman Catholic. And, in the USA, it is not alone.

Is it possibly for pride and glory, reasons St. Ignatius of Loyola asks us to REJECT if we are to follow the way of Jesus? Salvadoran Jesuit Ignacio Ellacuria said in 1985, when talking about military training at Georgetown, which equally applies to Marquette University in 2010: ‘Tell the Jesuits of Georgetown that they are committing mortal sin because they are supporting the forces of death which are killing our people.’ Is this pride and glory?

St. Ignatius
surrenders his weapons

Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King Jr., St. Ignatius of Loyola, Gandhi as well as and particularly Jesus Christ, whom we recognize as God Made Man, have renounced the ways of war and violence taught today on the campus at Marquette University to students in the greater Metro Milwaukee area. If any of the four of you can justify Marquette University hosting military departments on campus please say so and publicly state your reasons. As concerned Christians, in the face of continued wholesale murder in illegally occupied countries, continued condoning of torture, displacement and other egregious offenses prohibited under the articles of the Geneva Convention, we are having a difficult time understanding your justification(s). Your continued silence is killing innocent people each and every day around the world, in DIRECT OPPOSITION to the teachings of those most impressive figures of history whom we individually, as a nation and universally respect and admire. Have we not enough deceit and hypocrisy from the leaders of our so-called democratic government? Have we not enough complicity with a military machine that has all but exercised total control over this country … which is one of the inevitable next steps at the behest of a corporately controlled state.

St. Ignatius said, “Love ought to show itself in deeds over and above words.” Dorothy Day said: “…people need to be disturbed, that their consciences need to be aroused.” Gandhi said: “Be the change you want to see.” Martin Luther King said: “Never again will I be silent on an issue that is destroying the soul of our nation…” Jesus said: “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do unto me” and “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God”.

Now your silence says you support military training and teaching of values contrary to Gospel values on campus. Out of love for Marquette University and to demilitarize education in all of our schools we ask the four of you to Be Faithful to the Gospel, Close the base Schools of Army, Navy/Marines and Air Force on the university campus, speak out against injustice and begin the healing process.


Omar Barbarena, Charlie Behnke, Dr. Frank Blair, Dave Concoran, Barb Corcoran Dianna Dentino, Joyce Ellwanger, Leigh Estabrook, Gloria Feeney, Bob Graf, Gregory B. Gregory, Rick Guerard, Janice Sevre-Duszynska, Mary Krolikowski, Michael Komba, Sr. Virgine Lawinger, O.P., Brian Madden, Debbie Metke, Paul Mozina, Jessie Read, Joe Radoszewski, Rosalie Riegle, John Scott, Bill Sell, Jerry Stein, Neal Styka, Don and Roberta Timmerman on behalf of persons Breaking the Silence

Anyone wishing to sign this open letter please send us your name at

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