Monday, February 10, 2014


To help follow the statements of this application,  this is the blank of the Selective Service (1968-70) form I filled out.  These four postings, the last coming next week, relate to that format. [click on to enlarge] 
 2. cont.     The basis of my convictions directly concerning the question of conscientious objection was established at the seminary three years ago.  There, in scripture courses I came to have a more mature understanding of my faith and the message of the Gospels.  In lectures and in conversations with fellow students I became acquainted with ideas, such as that of the Catholic theologian, Bernard J. Cooke, which give a greater insight as to how Jesus is both God and man.  From his description of Jesus as having to grow in the understanding of His own nature, just as every man has to, I came to feel closer to Christ.  I began to realize that He had had a very hard time deciding how to bring love into a world filled with violent solutions.  Confronted with violence He offered His love and I have decided to attempt the same. 

                It was about a year and a half ago that a priest friend of mine, Fr. Joseph Melton, asked me what I thought about the morality of war.  I realized that even with the specific situation in Vietnam, I had not, up to that point, given the matter much consideration.  Since that time I have written the Catholic Peace Fellowship, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Clergy and Laymen concerned About Vietnam and talked with people in the American Friends Service Committee, and read many of the publications of each group.  The pamphlet “Catholics and Conscientious Objection” was especially helpful.  These new sources I placed against the background I had received in the message of the Gospels and this lead to the belief I now hold.

3.            The tradition of the Catholic faith is permeated with men of God who had to disengage themselves from the dominant social system when to do otherwise would compromise their faith.  As far back as during the period of the Babylonian Captivity, in the Old Testament Shadrack, Michael [sic.], and Abednego went into the fiery furnace rather than join the cult of Nebuchadnezzar.  At the time of the Roman persecutions many died before they would alter their belief to fit the norms of the Roman state.  St. Thomas More lost his position and his life because he would not assent to the self-imposed church reforms of King Henry VIII.  The movie A Man for All Seasons presents a vivid portrayal of Thomas More’s struggle in affirming his faith.  All of these people would not deny their faith, refused to enter into contract with any system which was counter to their belief.

“The primary duty of medical troops as of all other troops is to contribute their utmost to the success of the command of which the medical service is part.”  (Army Field Manual FM-10, p. 195)  Service in the Armed forces as a non-combatant is still service toward a purpose I believe to be morally wrong.  Christ has said:  “No man can serve two masters.”  (Matt. 6:24)  In this case I cannot serve both God and the military.

              As for any moral sanction on ministering to the sick and injured my religion contains none.  It has always been part of my religious training however, that I should be involved in the work God has best suited me for.  I feel my vocation is in community development work and I would choose this over any other form.

Later I've found out that I wasn't cut out for, and couldn't make a living in, community organizer-development work.  So despite haughty vocational aspirations, I landed right back in the health professions--a physicians assistant for 33 years.


And blessed beyond all possible hopes, by my valentine of 35 + years, Ande Marie Gaines McCarthy


Pamphlet by Thomas Merton in 1967 I read then to help make up my mind -- still so much to learn.  How to put into practice what we more fully begin to believe?  The text is reprinted in a Casa Juan Diego Catholic Worker article found here, and we hope to look at this in our final Spirituality of Nonviolence course this Thursday.
{Cover art by Sr. Mary Corita, I.H.M.}

Illumination above by Kathy Brahney

No comments:

Post a Comment