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ROTC presence not endorsement

Letter to the Editor | Monday, April 10, 2006

In his April 5 letter (“Pandora’s box”), James Parrot argues that the presence of ROTC on Notre Dame’s campus constitutes endorsement of the war in Iraq. Not so. The training of military officers has been part of Notre Dame’s history for over sixty years, well before our country went to war in Iraq. Sustaining an ROTC program does not constitute endorsement of any particular military action, it simply recognizes the Church sanctioned right of nations to raise armies and defend themselves.

Since Parrot chose to compare sponsorship of ROTC with endorsement of “The Vagina Monologues,” let me make another comparison. Unlike prostitution, sexual abuse of a minor and extramarital sex, which are always morally wrong, the rightness or wrongness of a particular military action is a matter of prudential judgment. George Weigel in the January 2003 issue of “First Things” offers a compelling argument justifying the invasion of Iraq in light of Catholic just war tradition.

Archbishop O’Brien of the Archdiocese of the Military Services says Catholics may, in good conscience, participate in the Iraq war. Catholic moral teaching allows room for disagreement on this issue. Even if Notre Dame were to officially support the war in Iraq, it would not necessarily be contradicting the teachings of the Church. A discussion about the war in Iraq would be a good thing, but please leave the ROTC programs out of it.

Tom ArandaalumnusClass of 1995April 8