The Catholic Worker Movement is out of step with Catholic teaching. Members of the group protested outside the University of Notre Dame’s ROTC offices this week.
“It saddens us that one of the preeminent universities is training warriors,” said the Rev. Ben Jimenez, a Catholic priest from Cleveland.
The protest ended as Notre Dame police quietly pulled some of the protesters aside — fewer than a dozen in all. The protesters were doing a re-enactment of the martyrdom of St. Marcellus, a third-century soldier who became a conscientious objector after he’d converted to Christianity.
How about other soldier-saints, like St. Acacius, St. Adrian of Nicomedia, St. George (the dragonslayer), St. Joan of Arc, St. Louis IX? How about the call to arms issued by numerous popes, including Pope Pius V at Lepanto or Pope Urban II at the First Crusade? What about the very clear Tradition within Church teaching, enumerated even in the Universal Catechism today, that allows for self-defense and just war?
A personal decision for pacifism and against armed resistance to violence is admirable and a special calling for a Christian, but it is not and never has been a requirement to be imposed upon all people and the whole Church.
A soldier who fights when called by his nation in a just and honorable fashion, respecting the dignity of persons and in as restrained a manner as possible is not a contradiction of Catholic orthodoxy or orthopraxis. It is to Notre Dame’s honor that it is forming the future warrior-leaders of our nation in a context of Catholic moral principles.
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