Panel to discuss ROTC presence at Notre Dame
Letter to the Editor
On Wednesday, Pax Christi-ND will host a discussion on peace. Peace — specifically how we are to come to peace, especially in light of the teaching of Catholic Tradition. These are difficult times for peace, true peace, yet they give us the opportunity to discuss how we might best accomplish Jesus' ends while remaining faithful to His lived example. We have two competing ideas in the Church's history regarding how we might most properly come to true peace.
One, the Just War tradition, advocates a reasonable and controlled use of discriminating force as a possible last resort. The other and lesser-heeded tradition is that of pacifism, which claims to serve Christ's aims by eliminating from possibility the use of force. Certainly both have some basis in both Christ's own witness and in the Tradition of the Church that has followed. Which are we to follow today, in the present climate of overwhelming military buildup and massive institutional violence?
How are we best to serve Christ together? Our conversation is ever more relevant considering our present surroundings, those of a major Catholic institution. There are groups here with definite opinions on the war issue, as well as many who haven't had the opportunity to consider the problem at all. We have one of the largest ROTC programs in the country, and our university has clearly stated which tradition it has chosen to follow. How are we to understand the presence of ROTC on campus, and how can we form each other — both our future soldiers and non-combatants — to understand the weighty and pressing issues in the present world climate?
We hope that our discussion will help to answer those questions. Two professors of theology, professor Todd Whitmore and Father. Michael Baxter, are willing to discuss with us both the Just War tradition and the pacifist tradition, respectively, in the hopes that all of us can come to deeper understanding and richer faith. We hope that you will come; we hope more strongly that you will come and find insight.
Pax Christi — Notre Dame
April 16, 2000
All Viewpoint Stories for Monday, April 17, 2000