Monday, November 10, 2014


Veteran’s Day, Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 2014  --  THE WAR TO END ALL WAR, DID NOT
We still believe more weapons and soldiers there will be helpful?

From Fr Emmanuel Charles McCarthy  --
 “November 11 was a legal holiday commemorating the return to peace on November 11 at 11 a.m. when the armistice that ended Word War I took effect on that day at that time in 1918. It was declared a legal holiday with these words:
Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; etc.
An armistice is an agreement made by opposing sides in a war to stop fighting. It is derived from the Latin armistitium, which is composed of arma, 'arms' and stitium, 'stoppage.'”

Haven’t we had enough fallen heroes—and vastly greater numbers of fallen enemies, plus innocents caught in crossfire?   The courage of those who fought and died is known and often commemorated.
It’s time to take the lives of those who lived or died in war, but would not kill, seriously into deep consideration.  Was it fear, revulsion, their faith, the Gospel, that motivated their refusal to fight?  Is it more heroic to kill for country, or follow one’s conscience, to respect all life even the enemy’s, even under imminent threat of one’s own death, risk to friend and family?  What would Jesus do?  And those who don’t know Jesus, and those of little or no faith?

What does it mean to refuse, or desert, the hell of war?  Some, as in the case of Detroiter Eddie Slovik in WWII Europe, have done so, knowing full well that they would die executed reluctantly by their fellow soldiers for doing so.

These are horrible questions to answer for human nature, especially when violence has reached fever pitch, wars breaking out persistently in every corner of the globe.  It’s beyond human capacity to follow Jesus in this path of unconditional nonviolent mercy, but calling on God’s grace, it’s what we’re all asked to do.

There are many whose courage—as committed peacemakers, perhaps even those “deserters,” in past wars and current circumstances—should be brought to mind.

From WWI  -
Ben Salmon, principled Catholic father, 19 years old, who refused induction, died a few years later from complications of prison abuse.
Journalistic accounts of recent, and previous resistance to war by members of the Peace Churches, traditionally Quaker, Anabaptist, Mennonite, and Church of the Brethern, among others.

From WWII --
Margarette Sommer – Catholic social worker in Germany who risked her life, saving many Jews.
Fr. Alfred Delp – Priest and writer who organized against the Nazi regime, hanged by the Gestapo in 1945.
Fr. Maximillian Kolbe –Priest and saint who took the place in Auschwitz of a man to be executed because someone had tried to escape.
Fr. Max Joseph Metzger  Priest and prolific journalist who wrote against the Nazi regime, and was beheaded by the Gestapo in 1944.
Blessed Franz Jagerstatter – Austrian Catholic farmer and father, beheaded in Berlin for refusing to be part of Hitler’s army.
Eddie Slovik – petty thief and Catholic, drafted into WWII, who determined he could not fight—executed by firing squad.
Otto Schimek – Austrian 19 year old executed in Poland for refusing Wermacht orders.  [I’m researching to write articles on him now]

More recently --
Dorothy Day – On refusal to participate in nuclear attack civil Defense drills in N.Y. 1957.  {at link skip down to the paragraph just before the title “Why We Do It.”}
Mother Theresa – Risks crossing Beruit’s Green Line in the midst of war to rescue Muslim children.
Paul Chappell – West Point grad, military family, deployed to Iraq—now works to create a nonviolent peace force as well trained as the military.
Kimberly Rivera – Mother of Four, Sentenced to Military Prison for Emigrating to Canada, Refusing to Serve in Iraq.
Camilo Mejia – Wanted service in Iraq to advance his opportunities in the U.S., found that killing changes you, went AWOL, imprisoned.
Joshua Casteel – West Point grad, evangelical Christian, interrogator at Abu Graibe in Iraq, realized war violates the Gospel, became C.O.

These lists are a small sampling of an ever increasing number—those helping move the world away from war, towards the Gospel way of peacemaking.

Illumination by Kathy Brahney

11-11-14 Feast Day of another veteran, St. Martin of Tours,   316? – 397 AD
Veteran of Roman army who became a conscientious objector, and bishop.
“A conscientious objector who wanted to be a monk; a monk who was maneuvered into being a bishop; a bishop who fought paganism as well as pleaded for mercy to heretics—such was Martin of Tours, one of the most popular of saints and one of the first not to be a martyr.

Born of pagan parents in what is now Hungary and raised in Italy, this son of a veteran was forced at the age of 15 to serve in the army. He became a Christian catechumen and was baptized at 18. It was said that he lived more like a monk than a soldier. At 23, he refused a war bonus and told his commander: "I have served you as a soldier; now let me serve Christ. Give the bounty to those who are going to fight. But I am a soldier of Christ and it is not lawful for me to fight." After great difficulties, he was discharged and went to be a disciple of Hilary of Poitiers.”

References – in order

No comments:

Post a Comment