ROTC affirms Catholic values

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Specifically, I would like to refute St. Arnold’s point that the military and ROTC conflict with Catholic values, doctrine and scripture. Secondly, I would like to address Mr. St. Arnold’s argument regarding the U.S. military’s use of “violence as a means to its ends,” and the issue that the military is responsible for the deaths of children.

I believe that before St. Arnold argues the military and ROTC contradict Catholic doctrine, he should familiarize himself with the Church’s writings on “just war.” While it can certainly be argued that parts of the Bible address ethical behavior in war, it was St. Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologica, that first presented the general outline of what becomes the just war theory. In it, he discusses not only the justification of war, but also the kinds of activity that are permissible in war. The just war theory is specific about determining which wars are ethical and which types of warfare are ethical, as well as defending historical rules or applied agreements, such as the Constitution. The theory of just war was expanded upon by St. Augustine and supported by the founder of the Jesuits, St. Ignatius Loyola.

It does not matter which side of the just war argument St. Arnold supports. However, as I stated earlier, in order to argue whether or not the ideals of the military and ROTC contradict Catholic doctrine, one needs to closely examine the arguments for and against just war. For more information on just war theory, please visit the following website by Dr. Alex Moseley of the University of Tennessee at Martin:

Next, I would like to respond to St. Arnold’s argument regarding the U.S. military’s use of “violence as a means to its ends,” and the issue that the military is responsible for the deaths of children. The United States Army was created in June 1775 and since that time, soldiers have sworn an oath “to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” When a soldier takes this oath, he or she joins a tradition that dates back over 200 years. I should point out that all services of the United States military — the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard — take the same oath and, as such, each member of the military is dedicated to serving and protecting the United States against all enemies. This also includes preserving every citizen’s right rights to freedom of speech and religion.

Unfortunately, violence is part of that defense and as a result some innocent people die, including women and children. The U.S. military does not try to deliberately kill non-combatants, especially women and children. Any soldier who purposely kills innocent civilians is a criminal. No branch of the military tolerates those who cannot live by their values, and these individuals are dealt with harshly and, if necessary, tried as criminals in a court of law.

Finally, ROTC is focused on teaching young adults to become future leaders. Students in ROTC are educated about values and ethics that each of us will carry with us throughout our years serving our nation and its citizens — values that truly do go hand in glove with those of Marquette University. The values we learn as ROTC cadets are loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. The values that Marquette strives to instill in every student are leadership, excellence, service and faith. The values taught by the Army ROTC and the values taught by the university seem to be mutually supportive, not contradictory.

Fritsch is a freshman biomedical sciences major.

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