As a Saint Mary’s graduate about to marry a Notre Dame man, I was interested to see your article on ND-SMC marriages in the spring issue. I was horrified, however, at the conclusions. How ridiculous to assume that the declining rate is “at the expense of Saint Mary’s women.” Rather, I find it heartening that since Notre Dame went coed in 1972, Saint Mary’s women have had a broader world available to them upon graduation. These women scatter across the globe for successful careers, challenging graduate programs and generous volunteer work. I would hardly call that a loss. Such articles just foster the stereotype that Saint Mary’s women are there to pursue a husband rather than an education, and it is disappointing that you printed it.
-Brigid Coleman ’98SMC
“God? Country? Notre Dame?”mentioned that ROTC students are encouraged by the ROTC critics to take courses on war ethics. I hope these same anti-ROTC folks (ND Peacenet and Pax Christi) are being encouraged to take any course that highlights duty, honor and country.
-John M. McGuire ’49
Lakehurst, New Jersey
It is always heart-warming to observe pacifists using the freedoms won by those defending their freedom. Perhaps Pax Christi should organize a Beijing chapter where there might be more of a need for their activities. But wait. They probably wouldn’t be free to do that.
-Cmdr.William D. Hohmann ’58 USN (Ret.)
Just as we rely on our service men and women to act responsibly and ethically on the battlefield, they rely on us to act in the same manner when we deliberate their fate and the fate of their institutions in the political arena. So, just as ROTC students are required to take courses on war ethics and just-war theory, non-ROTC students may benefit from a course chronicling the military’s impacts on the social, economic and political underpinnings of American society upon which our freedom to worship is greatly dependent. Such a dual course strategy might help foster a more enlightened colloquy regarding the efficacy and virtue of having a military presence at a Catholic university.
-Michael L. Hoots ’74
With all due respect to Michael Baxter, CSC, I submit that the moral compass and character of those ROTC students and graduates of Notre Dame (including my son Lt. j.g. Norm Beznoska III ’98, USNR) far exceed those of the critics from The Observer and Pax Christi. These modern-day pacifists emulate Neville Chamberlain who shouted, “Peace in our time,” upon his return from meeting with Der Fuhrer in Munich in 1938. These sophist critics invite tyranny, bloodshed and the accompanying holocaust by condemning the very men and women of the ROTC who may someday lay down their lives to ensure their precious freedom.
ROTC students participate in Habitat for Humanity, the Special Olympics, Logan Center and the Center for the Homeless. Christian soldiers have defended their homeland and the church against evil down through the ages and will continue to do so.
-Norm Beznoska, Jr.
Congratulations for this timely and realistic appraisal of the American military profession today (“Fighting Right”). I have been waiting for someone with integrity and guts to expose the false and dangerous policy of a zero-casualty option for combatants and peacekeepers initiated by President Clinton in the Kosovo war. Unfortunately, the media and the military buried this issue, but this misguided and mistaken policy politicized the military and worse — it used an atrocity to stop an atrocity. When you consider that the lives of innocent men, women and children were sacrificed for the lives of volunteer, professional airmen dedicated to excellence in a just war (by the high-altitude bombing tactics of U.S.-led NATO), you have to believe the policy is not only extremely immoral but also every bit as horrible as the atrocities perpetrated by both sides in the guerilla-waged civil war. Clinton was wrong in his fear that the American people are unwilling to accept casualties in operations not clearly in defense of the U.S. homeland or national interest.
-David H. Stroud III
When I saw the cover of the recent issue, I felt a chill. I prayed that the iconographic image of the soldier (looking almost like a stained-glass window, with the statement “Onward, Christian Soldier”) was meant ironically and that the pages would explore critically important issues of the gospel and violence.
What I read sickened me and made me deeply ashamed of my connection to Notre Dame. The articles contained some faint and muddled reference to moral “wrangling” over issues of war and peace and Notre Dame’s connection to the military. The bulk of what I read was hardly dialogue, but rather an unabashed celebration of war, a glamorizing of the soldier, a summons to Christian participation in militarism and violence.
The gospel of Christ has one word to say to war: No! Followers of Christ must say this loudly, clearly, uncompromisingly, with prophetic fervor and courage. In the spirit of Jesus we are called to nonviolent, compassionate presence in the midst of worldly violence. We are called to merciful healing for victims of war, to prophetic critique of the folly of nations that leads to war, to tireless work for the building of justice and upholding human dignity so as to minimize the risks of war. To suggest that the role of Christians is to provide a dose of values and ethics to military strategies and institutions is a moral travesty. Notre Dame, if it is to have any moral credibility as a witness to Christ, must free itself from the seduction of the military and become instead a beacon of the gospel of nonviolence.
-William O’Brien ’81
A stroll in the stream
I read “The Power of Perambulation” with great interest and agreed with everything John Monczunski said, but for me it is called fly fishing — wading a cold mountain stream pursuing the ever evasive rainbow trout, who, believe it or not, wins most of the time.
-Jim Corcoran ’52