Your opinion

Your opinion


What’s your honest first reaction on seeing this picture (click for a larger version)? Are you disturbed that a symbol of peace and prayer is draped on a tool of death and destruction? Or are you encouraged at a sign of prayerfulness among our soldiers in what must be a milieu of death and desctruction?

  • I have a mixed reaction.  I’ve heard a lot about the number of conversions among the troops over there, so this could be a sign of the prayers that the particular troop has that Our Lady will guide him in the terrible work he is doing.  But whatever his motive may be, it seems imprudent to display the rosary this way.

  • May our mother in the order of grace protect all our valliant soldiers through her constant intercession and bring them victory against the forces of evil arrayed against them and the Iraqi people.

  • I happen to like this photo, but do understand Bryan’s concern. I attended Pilgrimage 2000 at Fenway and was really distressed to see so many kids wearing their rosary beads like a necklace (which seems to be common among Latinos, but these kids were white and it just seemed disrespectful), or putting them around their do-rags or whatever dopey things they had on their heads. I said something (nicely, I think) to a few kids about treating rosary beads with respect.

  • Just another thought – it is very heartening to think about conversions among servicepeople. I was made aware recently that the consumption of pornography is pretty rampant in the military, which is understandable I suppose, but I’ve been praying lately that our servicemen have the will and strength to refrain from that nasty stuff, for their own sake and that of their families.

  • Love it. In fact it looks like one of the rosaries we collected at our parish after Dom posted a request for rosaries for the troops (last Spring?) per the Archdiocese of the Military. Our pastor donated a 100.
    I hope the GI pictured is praying his rosary!
    Hail Immaculata.

  • My immediate reaction was “…and?”  I have a lot of empathy for men and women who work under horrendous emergency conditons, whether in the military, police or fire departments, overcrowded ERs, etc. 

    And I recall Mary has often been called upon for her prayers by military forces in other times and places—as a help to Christians engaged in turning back forces of evil.  The Battle of Lepanto and Our Lady of Victory come to mind.

    Jesus named the Centurion early in the Gospels as the best example of faith in Israel, and it was a centurion who first proclaimed his divinity after the Crucifixion.  John the Baptist told soldiers to be content with their pay; he did not tell them to leave the Roman Army.

    It those who might find this strange combination of the pious and the military somehow offensive, I only ask if they work in jobs that are dangerous, or have ever experienced the horrors and dangers of war.  If they have done neither, then let them hold their judgement.

  • I’m mixed as well… happy that the soldiers have rosary beads but not sure they should have them on the barrel of a gun.

    Joanne… I was told by several marines that porn is huge in Iraq amongst the us soldiers…. it’s what’s most requested by the soldiers according to these guys. Interestingly, I became aware of this due to discussions regarding Abu G. and the underlying sexual nature of the whole thing. I pointed out that in my mind, the more one gets ‘lost’ in porn, the less one knows right from wrong in that context. A ‘sin makes you stupid’ scenerio. Interestingly, one of the marines I had this discussion with was baptized a Catholic in Iraq and yet had his girlfriend (who he lives with now) send him porn as much as possible. They mostly send it by dvd sez he.

  • I like the photo very much! A rosary displayed and prayers prayed by our soldiers in combat is most appropriate. Physical combat and spiritual combat are often fought together.

  • Even if you object to putting the Rosary on the gun barrell as being profane—take comfort in the fact that the soldier who is behind that weapon believes he will be held accountable by God for what he does—both with that weapon and that rosary.


    Don John’s hunting, and his hounds have bayed –
    Booms away past Italy the rumour of his raid.
    Gun upon gun, ha! ha!
    Gun upon gun, hurrah!
    Don John of Austria
    Has loosed the cannonade.

  • “Interestingly, one of the marines I had this discussion with was baptized a Catholic in Iraq and yet had his girlfriend (who he lives with now) send him porn as much as possible.”

    That is SO WEIRD to me – it seems so disrespectful to the girlfriend to even make a request like that. And weird that he felt no shame telling you about it. Did the girlfriend actually send him the stuff?

    Surprising that he was baptized a Catholic in Iraq. I could see a cradle Catholic not caring about Church teachings, as so many don’t, but someone baptized as an adult who is then simply a CINO? That’s depressing. I guess RCIA instructors are just as ineffectual at teaching the faith as our priests are every Sunday.  🙁

  • Who says the Rosary is primary a symbol of peace? “Give me an army praying a Rosary,” said Pope St. Pius X, “and I will conquer the world.”

    As another commenter noted, spiritual and physical combat need not be separated.

  • Joanne… no, sadly, this nice, handsome Catholic brave marine did not feel funny telling me what he told me about himself and his girlfriend… both of them are attending college and upper middle class kids from nice families. She did send him the materials whenever he asked. He didn’t find it odd that he should ask her and apparently she was not offended. He also told me that sex for money is big as well, guys have nothing to spend their money on and now there are females in the military… common sense tells you the rest.

    He was baptized because he had not been baptized before. What brought him to the Church was (Iraq) the belief in the Eucharist… something he feels strongly about and that he couldn’t find outside of the Catholic Church – at least among the clergy represented in Iraq. He’s from Texas from a non practicing Protestant family, lives up here in Mass. now.

    He’s only a CINO because he doesn’t know any better. When I can, I pass on the Faith to him… he’s a night security guard where I work… making his way through school during the day. One tour of Iraq and one in Afghanistan. He’s a good and brave guy who bought into the way of the world… but there’s hope because of his belief in the Eucharist… he’s still young.

  • “He’s a good and brave guy who bought into the way of the world…”

    That is the tragedy of the “normalization” of that stuff. It gets its hooks into otherwise decent people. But I suppose the nature of evil is to be seductive.

    Take care-
    Joanne smile

  • PED – well, nevermind…… As for the rosary, my 1st reaction was….is that our Rosie???? Looks like the rosary I gave her before she left for Iraq! I just had an e-mail from her the other day assuring me that she and her friends pray daily, and I pray daily that Our Lady keeps her cloak wrapped around her – will you join me in that prayer? And Colleen, I think the comment that females in the military leads to prostitution of them is not common sense but insulting to my niece and all the other girls over there serving our country.

  • Sorry to say that it’s human nature. It’s not that every girl is going to do it, but at least some will.

    Back in the first Gulf War, there was a Navy supply ship that was 50% women and 50% men, the first of its kind. By the time it returned to port, there were a lot of pregnant women (I forget the number).

    Put men and women into the same stressful situation with few other outlets and you’re going to see “nature” take its course.

  • Praise God and Pass the Ammo!

    By the way…I know the barrel of this gun well…It is the end of the 25mm Auto-cannon mounted on the M2/M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle.  I spent 3 years bouncing around in one of those vehicles.

    Colleen, your attempt to impugn the moral character of our fighting men in this thread is regrettable. These men are fighting and dying for our freedom and you are making a moral inventory of them?

    Mecca Delenda Est. 

  • The Lord’s way is always strange to us mortal, sinful beings.

    Who is to say that this is the beginning of——“To Jesus thru Mary”?

  • Hi, Tom:

    First – I make a point of thanking people when I learn that they are now or have been in the service. So THANK YOU very much for your service, Tom. I for one greatly appreciate it!

    But –  I do find it regrettable that pornography is so accepted among guys in our culture, even in the military. I find it regrettable also that the expectation is put on women that we will tolerate our boyfriends/husbands having it in our homes, or going to strip clubs, etc, even the practicing Catholics among us.

    This issue came up for me and my now ex-boyfriend recently in a very painful way – he was invited to a friend’s bachelor party in Las Vegas, which we both knew would involved strip clubs, etc. My boyfriend didn’t go on the trip, mostly to spare my feelings.

    The whole incident though was really upsetting to me, on lots of levels – that a practicing, otherwise very orthodox 35-year-old Catholic guy saw “nothing wrong” with himself or his friends going to strip clubs, that he saw “nothing wrong” with the expectation the groom put on the bride that she should tolerate it (and she did, the fool), that guys see “nothing wrong” with supporting an industry that doesn’t care who it exploits or hurts to make a buck, that guys tell themselves that it’s okay because the women who strip are “getting a rush” and are making lots of money from it, that pornography has been mainstreamed into our culture, and perhaps worst of all—that our church, which should be a light to the world, is completely mute about it! My post was not so much an indictment of guys who indulge in this stuff – it was more of an indictment of us and our society for treating it as though it’s healthy and morally neutral.

    Tom, you have children, correct? This is my prayer for them – that your kids grow up in a society that doesn’t treat pornographic entertainment as normal and accepted, that your daughters are never asked to indulge their boyfriend’s/husband’s desire to look at porn or go to sleazy places – it’s incredibly disrespectful to even ask! – and that your sons don’t ask women to indulge them – because besides being sinful, that type of stuff will never increase a woman’s esteem for them. As human beings, we all have sexual feelings occasionally for people other than our primary partners – but man or woman, you just don’t put that attraction on display for your primary partner and all your friends to see. That is simply cruel and wrong.

    Pornography, like abortion, perverts normal sexuality, thus nothing truly good or positive or healthy can ever come out of it. Does it surprise you that abortion and pornography have moved simultaneously out of the seedy side of town and into mainstream acceptance?

    Take care –

  • Is there anyone else that is concerned about how the picture can be perceived?  A rosary hanging off a cannon in a muslim country?  “Take our religion or die”  is certainly one way this picture could be interpreted. 

    I for one am not a fan of seeing the Queen of Peace hanging off a howitzer.

  • Joanne –

    Who is defending pornography? Are you accusing me of defending pornography?

    This thread was about a rosary hung on a gun.

    Then somebody hijacked the thread and was basically sending this message: “Oh never mind those soldiers, they’re just a bunch of porn mongers, in fact, I know one.”

    Then you write an entry that basically accuses me of defending porn. Again, who is defending porn?

    What is pornographic here is that somebody has used this thread to publicly lauder the moral piccadillos of soldiers.  Shame on you, Colleen.

    What I see here is people who cannot stand the idea of a soldier calling on the protection of Our Lady so they are interject an incident of a soldier getting naked pictures from his girlfriend. Then they interject Abu Graib.

    This thread is about us being able to sleep safe at night because of men willing to do violence on our behalf.  These soldiers cover us with the blanket of freedom. Liberals….wet their pants underneath that blanket…then these ingrates, from the warmth of their own urine and anonymity of the internet,  defame these men.

    I can personally assure you that treatment at Abu Graib is nothing compared to being on the receiving end of that 25mm auto-cannon.

    I believe the soldiers in that armored vehicle will be protected if they call upon Our Lady.  Do you?

    Joanne, you insinuate that a father defends porn and then you offer a prayer to his children?  Keep your prayers to yourself.  I use my full name on this board, when you use yours then you are entitled to get personal.

  • Dear Jaime:

    As long as our men are there protecting your capacity to write comfortably ensconced and critical of their simple piety, I am perfectly at ease with the photo.  It is no worse than a medal in a police car or fire truck.
    Our Lady traditionally has been seen as a source of protection for the military.  And there are times as the Lord said when you need to sell your tunic and buy two swords.  This happens to be one.  Otherwise, I suggest that you brush up on your Arabic and learn to pray five times a day while facing east on your prayer rug.

  • Jaime –

    Not sure this soldier had evangelism on his mind…more like personal protection/protection from evil…the Holy Rosary and the gun are both highly effective in this regard.

  • Gee John

    If I read it right, the question posed on this thread is “What’s your honest opinion of this picture?”  I don’t recall reading any addendum that says ” as long as its supportive of it”

    Our Lady is seen as source of protection for anybody who asks.  And, unless I’m not reading the right news reports, this isn’t a religious war.

    Your argument ranks right up there with “let children in the sanctuary.  What’s the big deal?”  Its about reverence. In my opinion, seeing a rosary hanging from an instrument of death is not reverent. 

    Your suggestion that if I’m opposed to the photo that I should become muslim just demonstrates how silly and small minded you can be.

  • Dear Jaime:

    Thank you first for the compliment.  But you have no idea just how silly and small minded I can actually be.  My potential is endless.

    However, I had no suggestion in mind that you covert to Islam if you opposed the photo.  My comment was meant to imply that you may be forced to covert unless you do see this as a religious war.  Certainly, al Queda and its allies see it precisely as that.

    Should you grace our good Earth with your presence for another couple of decades, you may be surprised at how quickly Islam takes over much of this world.  If you have followed events closely in Holland and Western Europe, the writing is literally on the wall there.  And signs are promising right here under our very noses for a growing Islamic movement in North America.

    I don’t think that the soldier is being irreverent.  Not in the face of death he isn’t.  Irreverence comes from people comfortably sitting in warm places with lots of good food writing to keep themselves awake.  Not on a battlefield.

  • Hi, Tom:

    My name is Joanne Meegan, I’m 35-years-old, from Roslindale, Mass. I’m an RN at the Mass General. Not really sure why it matters, quite honestly, but if you believe my prayers are more sincere if I identify myself, then I will.

    I’m puzzled by your posts, actually – I didn’t see anything in Colleen’s post that impugns the character of our military people. You honestly think that Colleen doesn’t want soldiers calling on Our Lady’s protection in a war zone? I see nothing to support this accusation. I was under the impression, that she, like me, simply feels that it’s just a shame that so many otherwise decent men and women have been snared by our secular culture into believing that pornography – like abortion or same-sex “marriage” – is harmless or even healthy.

    I wasn’t accusing you of defending anything, Tom. You seem to have misread my post as well as Colleen’s. On the other hand, I can’t recall any Catholic man I know, with the exception of one priest, Fr. Charles Higgins at St. Theresa’s in West Roxbury, ever denounce porn publicly either. (Fr. Higgins, my hero, gave a homily once on “obscenity and depravity.”)

    If there are Catholic men out there who oppose pornography, the skin industry, etc, then I wish you would be more verbal about it – because even as this stuff is mainstreamed into our society, the silence from both the clergy and the laity on this issue has been deafening.

    Take care, Tom-

  • Dear Joanne:

    I know your point exactly in the normal state of things, and I am not making exceptions for our military men when it comes to the use of pornography.

    I served in the Army back in the early to mid sixties.  When I was stationed at Fr. Leonard Wood, Mo, our fort’s commanding general forbid “Playboy” to be sold on base.  That was about the extent of legal porn in those days.  How long his order stood I don’t know as I shipped out soon after that.

    At my next assignment in Fort Greeley, Alaska, some guys had “Playboy” centerfolds on the inner wall locker doors.  But that was about the extent of it.  There was neither a great demand nor any overt displays.  Life was ok without porn.

    Yet, I also understand that under horrendously dangerous and stressful situations, men may take some form of poor relief in porn.  Being natural doesn’t mean it’s right, but it does make it understandable.

    And it makes it human.  Unless you are under the same kind of life-threatening situations that these men (and some women) face on a daily basis, it might be a good idea to withhold judgement.  Why anyone would seize on this issue is a mystery to me.

    I am sure that there are even graver sins one can commit, such as leaving innocent people open to sudden terrorist attacks.  That these troops are willing to die for you and Jaime should be reason for your prayers for their safe return and a successful mission at lessening attecks here and tyranny there.

    That they struggle with temptations is the reason for prayers and Confession not civilian condemnation.

  • Joanne,

    I am a man and I know that this has nothing to do with this particular thread……but……..


    There is no justification for this.  It is as heinous as homosexuality.  The CCC goes even so far as to include it under the same heading.  CCC 2354. 

    If those who are engaging in pornography are defending in my country, I would say this…..STOP IT!!!!!  You are not helping your moral state of mind by engaging in this action…..I will pray that you stop…It is a grave offense against God and you must stop.

    Who do you want me to write, call, talk to, etc….?

    Oh yeah, civic leaders:  Stop distributing it!!!!!!  TODAY!!!!!


  • Hi, John:

    As I noted above, I thank all military people for their service to our country – in fact, I thanked a patient of mine today, a very nice gentleman who was a Korean War vet! I try to treat all my patients well, of course, but once I know that someone is a vet, they do get extra special treatment. And thank you also, John, for your service.

    Maybe I was not explaining myself very well – I guess I just feel that the *normalization* of that stuff is what is really a shame. It’s no shock to me that men in any situation take advantage of pornography, especially in a setting of life and death situations – like you say, it undoubtedly makes them feel that they have some refuge from the frightening situations they find themselves in! It’s no shock that men in any situation take advantage of the fact that lots of women offer them casual sex. It just makes them human to do so, and if I seemed to be judging them, I’m sorry. You are absolutely right – I have no right to do so! What people do is between them and God – I’m aware of that, but thank you for reminding me.

    I just feel like it’s tragic that 1. porn is so accessible and 2. the stigma has been erased from it – because it has so many unfortunate consequences for both men and women. I am just feeling hurt and upset right now for the reason that I described in my post above – a brush with pornographic entertainment in a totally non-military situation!

    The truth, John, is that the acceptance of pornography makes me feel very vulnerable and frightened, so I would be very grateful if more men would condemn it, at least in non-military situations.

    Take care, John, and thank you again!
    Joanne smile

  • Dear Joanne—

    God bless you for your concern.  I think that the degradation of people (not only women are the victims) by the porn industry has had disastrous effects in our society.  It seeps into almost everything that we do from the grocery checkout magazine rack to NFL football games—and that is only the “tamer” stuff.  I remember being stunned in Chicago by CTA bus ads on the outside of the bus advertising unisex underwear in the most blatantly sexual fashion.  My kids were small then and it made me angry that they were exposed to this kind of trash.

    There is some hope, however, as the Senate under Senator Sam Brownback is now holding hearings on the extent and nature of the porn industry.  And it has been noted that there is a decline now on the number of porn sites on the Internet.

    Part of the issue and apparent hypocrisy regarding porn has to do with the decrease in modesty generally in society.
    This shows up even at Sunday mass.

    I am grateful for your concerns about our troops.  They are often lonely, in great danger in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places, and under horrendous stress.

    Most people have no idea of what military life is like unless they are vets or families living in military homes.  And even fewer people know the profound hardships of being in or near combat zones.

    Please do continue to pray for our troops.  Let me say that many are devout believers and avoid porn like the plague.

    And thank you, Joanne, for your courage and humility in such a great reply.

  • Oh,

    I forgot to add….my opinion of the picture…..

    Sad and wrong!!!!!  To take one of the most visually Catholic symbols and wrap it around a gun is uncontionable, regardless of the motive.

    While I support owning and using firearms, to disgrace, yes disgrace the rosary in that manner is sad….

    Own and use the guns….but it is a different weapon than that of the rosary.  It is a spiritual weapon….separate but equal.  Don’t mix the two.

    Sad I tell you, sad.


  • Thank you, John, for your kind reply!

    I agree with you, John, that people need our prayers to resist temptation – in fact, if you read the posts above, that *was* precisely my prayer, and the post that started this livewire debate!

    I think we are all in agreement too that it is the *purveyors* of porn who deserve our contempt. Like the abortion industry, that is an industry that does not care who it exploits or hurts to make a buck, including our troops and their families. While abortion might be a more grave sin because it takes a life, it’s easy to see why our Church teaches that the skin industry is so evil – something need not take a life to exact a huge toll in human suffering.

    Please click on the links below to see what degenerates run this industry! 

    I hope we all agree too that as Catholics, we have an obligation to fight the mainstreaming of pornography, eg, by writing letters to the editor, contacting advertisers, asking our priests to speak out more about it, etc.

    It’s interesting – we can see by the contentiousness of this thread the strong negative emotions that are evoked by the mere *discussion* this topic – it’s easy to see how the *consumption* of the stuff can raise those emotions even more intensely. Pornography just touches so many people’s lives in so many negative ways, I guess that is what I find so unnecessary and tragic.

    Take care, all –
    Joanne smile