to the editor do not necessarily reflect
the opinions of Holy Cross Magazine or
the College. Letters should not exceed
300 words. Due to constraints of space,
we will print letters that are representative
of the response generated by any given
feature in the magazine. Holy Cross
Magazine reserves the right to
edit all letters for length and clarity.
Having just returned from a very successful 60th reunion
of the Class of 1943, I am moved to express my appreciation
for your publication of the article by
John Wiater 75. In these days of the failures of the USA to pay slight
attention to the United Nations or its manifold organizations, it was indeed
satisfying to read Johns fervent defense of the multitudinous UN programs
in support of peace, reconciliation, nation-building, the defense of human
rights, humanitarian assistance and economic developmentnone of which
receive media attention in this uncaring country.
As a former international civil servant in
the United Nations Secretariat, I can testify to the remarkable
achievements by various international organizations throughout
the developing and the developed worlds. Johns career
in Catholic Relief Services and now in an important peacekeeping
U.N. mission in Kosovo are a recital of his selfless work
in Africa and in Latin America for which he is to be congratulated.
As a fellow graduate of Holy Cross, I am proud of him and
wish him continued public service in the international sphere.
Paul D. McCusker 43
The ROTC Question
As a 1994 graduate of Holy Cross I was shocked to read that The Holy
Cross Military-Free Network is attempting to eliminate the ROTC program
from campus. At the outset, I have to admit that I was not ROTC at Holy Cross,
but I certainly appreciated and respected each and every student that participated
in the program. The idea that ROTC is being equated with teaching Holy Cross
students to be war-mongering is quite simply preposterous. These young people
are not just receiving a scholarship for college, but are taking advantage
of a remarkable opportunity to serve our country. My father, James A. Treanor
III 60 recalls fondly his ROTC experience at Holy Cross and even more
so his subsequent service in the Navy. He remained in the reserves for years
and was retired with the rank of Commander.
Living in Washington, D.C., I have come to appreciate more
and more the role of our armed services in defending our
freedom. As a staffer on Capitol Hill on 9/11, one of the
most vivid memories I have of that day is hearing a sonic
boom and watching military jets scramble above the Capitol
just seconds after members of Congress and staff were evacuated
from our office buildings. We in Washington were confronted
with a gaping hole in the side of the Pentagon and the sad
story of the many lives lost in New York and Pennsylvania.
I often wonder what would have happened to my friends and
colleagues as well as to our national psyche if that last
plane was able to reach its intended target, the U.S. Capitol.
Later that fall, when my office building (the Senate Hart
Building) was evacuated for anthrax contamination it was
the Army Reserves who filled in for the, by that time, overworked
Capitol Police force and made us all feel safe again.
Even though I have left the Senate, my day is regularly
spent on the Capitol campus. It often surprises visitors
to D.C. when they see the trenches, walls and barricades
that now dominate the landscape on Capitol Hill. Visitors
and staff alike are no longer even allowed to climb the stairs
to the West Font of the Capitol to enjoy the unparalleled
view down the Mall to the Lincoln Memorial. These are clear
signs that we are living in dangerous times, and I challenge
anyone who took the time to read the issue of Holy Cross
Magazine that paid tribute to the alumni victims of 9/11
to tell the Holy Cross community that ROTC has no place on
Mount Saint James.
I am sure that Mr. Ksen believes that he is doing the right
thing, but I invite him to come to D.C. and walk by the gravestones
at Arlington National Cemetery sometime. I would also encourage
him to read some tributes to ordinary Americans who have
done extraordinary things in service of this country the
book Citizen Soldier comes to mind. ROTC participants
are not learning to wage war, they are being educated in
one of many means to defend and, as in Iraq, spread the freedom
we enjoy. That, to most Americans and Holy Cross alumni,
is a very moral cause.
Elizabeth Treanor 94
As an alumnus of both Holy Cross and its ROTC program, I
found compelling debate in the Spring 2003 issue of the magazine.
This argument was something of déjà vu all
over again since this also raged during my years at
the College (1976-80). I distinctly remember Maj. Patrick
Townsend (of the NROTC unit) engaging Scott C. Duffy 80
(a conscientious objector), in a lengthy, impromptu debate
of Just War theory outside the mailboxes in the
Hogan lobby. It drew a crowd of 30 or so interested onlookers.
This demonstrates that Holy Cross is a wonderful place to
shape future leaders, military and otherwise. It is a school
that strives to form students who are moral, compassionate,
grounded in an understanding of history, philosophy, literature,
and theology, and knowledgeable in the sciences and mathematics.
As alumni, they leave the College not knowing what to
think but how to think and carry with them a strong
mandate to serve others. Arent these the very best
qualities that America could hope for in its Navy, Marine
Corps and Air Force officers?
Losing this pool of officer candidates would not only be
a great loss to Holy Cross but to our nation as a whole.
Andrew Engelke 80 (former Captain, USMC)
The issue of Holy Cross Magazine devoted to War & Peace represents
somewhat of an oversimplification. The interviewees/writers
are either military or war objectors. Even if one accepts
the War & Peace designator, the two are not
always separable. It is like my arrival on a C-47 at a small
base in the Mekong Delta in 1969 where I thought, What
am I doing here? The conflict and experiences between
war and peace are waged, more often than not, in an individuals
human heart while she or he is experiencing war.
Bill McCarron 64
Capt. Terence Labrecque
Thank you to Capt. Terence Labrecque for his thoughtful, balanced interview
entitled Officer, Gentleman and Scholar in the Spring 2003 Holy
Cross Magazine. I personally benefited from ROTC while attending Holy
Cross (I enrolled in Army ROTC at WPI). Not only was I able to afford college,
but I also gained the poise, self-confidence and discipline that I needed.
However, I have never been pro-warIf we could achieve a perfect world
where no one felt the need to use force to resolve conflicts, I would be
more than willing to give up my day job!
Maj. Jill Catalano Feig, M.D.,
U.S. Air Force, Medical Corps
Brooks City-Base, Texas
Pax Christi & Just War
Wonderful series of discussions on war and peace in the spring issue. In particular,
George Grattans Open Letter to the Pax Christi members
is worthy of careful reading by all of us. To be truly non-violent with Jesus
constitutes one of the biggest challenges I face as a Christian.
One quote from Gen. Trainor gave me pause for reflection: Philosophically,
the precept is that war is intrinsically evil and can only
be pursued in response to a greater evil when other remedies
are found wanting. If war is intrinsically evil, it
can never be pursued by a Christian; apart from Machiavelli,
no intrinsically evil means can be justified, no matter the
And what is a greater evil than an object that
is intrinsically evil? My/our survival? But as
Christians, personal or national survival is not a justifiable
reason for pursuing any evil. Why? Because our survival is
guaranteed: it is called our resurrection. This
is the distinguishing element of Christian ethics
vs. secular ethics. No question for the secular ethician,
my survival (personal, economic, social, political) can justify
the use of violence and the violation of his/her ethical
principles. Not so the Christian! That is why we are called
to imitate Jesus who was obedient, even unto death, even
to the death of the cross. The very challenging message admired
by Mohandas Gandhibut which he did not see being lived
by the Christians of his day.
And again, what other remedies are found wanting?
Wanting in what way? According to what standards? Again,
if the remedy we seek is survival and victory over a threatening
enemy, we are back to the challenge of Jesus Who sweated
out His decision in the Gardena decision which baffled
His followers (Peter swinging his sword) as well as Pilate
to whom Jesus said: If My kingdom were of this world
(read secular), My Father would have given Me
an army; as it is My kingdom is not of this world. And
so He suffered and died for having spoken the truth of His
mission from the Father. The truth of utter non-violence!
Thanks again for your stimulating series. I am passing it
on to my own Pax Christi group for their prayerful reflection.
Jim Powers 53
Pax Christi Atlanta
The War and Peace issue of the Magazine greeted
me upon my return from the campus on the occasion of my 40th
reunion. It resonated with my sense that this College is
a very special place with its values based on the life and
teachings of Jesus Christ.
In this light, I was particularly moved by the contrast
between two articlesthe remarkable essay by Patrick
Tigue 04, on why he is a conscientious objector and
the interview with Marine Gen. Trainor 51 on the just
war theory. Reflecting on these articles in the light of
Christs most compelling teaching, the Sermon on the
Mountblessed are the poor in spirit ... the peacemakers
... the meek ... those who mourn, are persecuted ...I
conclude that He would have been repelled by the logic of
Gen. Trainor and deeply moved by the foolishness of
I do not judge Gen. Trainor. Obviously, he is a thoughtful,
competent professional guided by many of the principles taught
to us at the College back in the 50s and 60s.
Just as clearly, and unfortunately, he represents a larger
percentage of Americans than Mr. Tigue. But the fact is that
his reasoning would be repellent to the Preacher of the Beatitudes.
How can we ever consider the killing of innocent non-combatants
as even discussable in the context of national security when
our Savior speaks as He did on the Mount, and dies struggling
against the powers and principalities and on the side of
the widows and the orphans? If the just war theory can justify
the fire bombing of Dresden, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima,
or the invasion of Iraq, then the just war theory doesnt
belong in Jesus Church.
Thank you for your commitment to open discussion of these
compelling issues. I am gratified that you gave space to
both of these perspectives, as well as the other fine articles
in this issue. Keep up the good work.
Jerry King 63
The Back Cover
On the back page of the recent issue of Holy Cross Magazine (37:2) was
a photo of anti-war signs hanging from Dinand Library.
Although I may not agree with the opinion of the students
who hung these signs, I spent 34 years as a career officer
in the Navy ensuring that these individuals have the right
to freely express their opinions. However, I strongly object
to the manner in which the Holy Cross administration has
allowed these students to express their opinions by defacing
Dinand Library. Holy Cross Magazine has further added
to the legitimacy of these actions by publishing the names
of the students involved.
If a group of Holy Cross students elected to express its
opinion which might be contrary to the philosophy of the
Holy Cross administration, such as pro choice, would
these students be allowed to hang banners from Dinand Library
and receive the same coverage in Holy Cross Magazine?
I dont think so!
Robert E. Cassidy 57
Editors Note: The editors of HCM chose to
run the banner photo on the rear cover of our spring issue
as an illustration of the debate taking place on campus
during the war in Iraq. The banner in question was displayed
without the knowledge or approval of the College administration.
The banner was removed by Public Safety officers soon after
it was displayed from the roof of Dinand Libraryas
would be any banner, regardless of contentas a matter
of standard college protocol. The names of the students
who created the banner and displayed it were published
with their permission and at their request.
The Desert Padre
In the fall 2000 issue of Holy Cross Magazine, an article appeared that
I had written about Rev. John J. Crowley 15, the Desert Padre. Since
that story was published, there has been an interesting developmentthe
creation of a large mural in honor of Fr. Crowley painted on the side of one
of the major shopping venues in Bishop, Calif.one of the communities
that he served. I have enclosed a photograph of the mural. It continues to
amaze me that the residents of the Eastern Sierra revere the man to this day,
although he has been gone for over a half-century.
The painter of the mural, John Knowlton, was
in residence in Bishop for a little over two months as he
worked on the project. I guess you might say this is the
rest of the story. I thought this turn of events might
be interesting to the readers of Holy Cross Magazine.
Bill Webster 48
Berrigan & Thomas II
I am writing regarding a letter to the editor entitled Berrigan and Thomas in
the spring 2003 issue of Holy Cross Magazine. I am dumbfounded by the
possibility that someone read this letter and found in it some insight that
helped its readers to reflect upon, or better understand, the articles about
Phil Berrigan and Clarence Thomas in a previous issue. I can only conclude
that the printing of the letter reflects the political biases of the editors
themselves. The author, Gordon Cronin 55, does little more than insult
Justice Thomas with no justification to back his claims that Thomas is quite
simply a disgrace as well as a psychiatrists challenge. I would
appreciate it if the magazine would at least require some substantive evidence
before printing a letter that viciously attacks an alumnus, or anyone else
for that matter. This is not the Democratic National Committees newsletter,
it is the Holy Cross Magazine. Lets play fair.
Greg Weston 05
New York, N.Y.
I suppose it is a kind of overkill to write letters to the
editor objecting to other letters to the editor, but here
goes: In a Letter to the Editor in the spring 2003 issue,
captioned Berrigan and Thomas, Gordon A. Cronin 55,
suggests that Supreme Court Justice Thomas considers that
all victims are guilty, and that Justice Thomas is a
disgrace and a psychiatrists challenge.
Not by a long shot!
My take on Justice Thomas is that he simply feels that not
all the guilty (or chronically irresponsible) are automatically
victims of anything but their own bad behaviors. If there
is a disgrace in the judiciary, involving reference to psychiatry,
it is not in the life of Clarence Thomas, nor in his judicial
philosophy. Rather, it is the condescending denial or devaluing
of any attribution of free will, character, merit or courage
in judging individuals who come before the courts.
Instead of the individual accountability for ones
own behavior and achievement, as exemplified by Justice Thomas
himself, we see the failings of criminals and feckless litigants
to abide by the law or perform in school or on the job at
their utmost, explained away, time and again, by some in
the helping professions whose specialty is apparently excuse-making
for classes of people they think irredeemably incapable.
The disgrace is that too many (but certainly not all) of
those in the helping professions, socio-political sciences,
and the judiciary not-so-subtly believe somehow those
people are beneath having a real free will, character,
merit or personal courage. This attitude, as much as anything
else, serves to undermine popular attribution of any successes
of effort, courage and character among individual members
of the officially benighted classes whom the condescending
would suggest werent capable of success without their noblesse
oblige, and special allowances, for which they, the policy
wonks, arguably deserve more credit than the achieving individuals.
I do agree with fellow alumnus Cronin in two respects, however.
Justice Thomas is certainly not a successor on the High Court
in the same spirit as Justice Thurgood Marshall. Justice
Marshall knew the law, then determined the race of a man,
then talked about the culpability of the law in the failure
of that race, and by extension and apparently automatically,
the failure of that particular man.
Justice Thomas knows the law, looks at that particular mans
record, and tells you about the culpability of that man for
his own failure before the law, and before the whole of the
law-abiding, honestly striving human race.
And yes, Cronin is rightHoly Cross Magazine needs
to keep on handling intellectual issues, excellently and
Tony Stankus 73
St. Ignatius & ROTC
First, my congratulations on the excellent job you did putting together War & Peace in
the spring issue. I had several thoughts I wanted to pass along.
I graduated from Holy Cross in 1959 and entered the Navy
through the NROTC program. I spent two years on active duty
and many more years in the active reserve, mostly in intelligence
and war game related work. I returned to active duty in 1986
as a Captain and served as the Deputy Director of the Crisis
Coordination Center in the Office of the Secretary of Defense
I am very proud of Holy Cross long tradition of supporting
the military programs, both Navy and Air Force. During the
Vietnam War, the Ivy League dropped their NROTC programs
but Holy Cross did not. I know many officers who deeply resented
the decision of the Ivy League as elitist, transferring
the burden of military service to the less privileged so
to speak. I share that view.
Your magazine did a wonderful job with the interview of
LGEN. Trainor, a Holy Cross graduate, on the issue of defining
the criteria for a just war. The fact that Holy Cross was
even discussing that issue in a public forum says a great
deal about the value of having the NROTC program, and producing
military leaders of the moral caliber and intellect of Gen.
Another thought relates to St. Ignatius himself and his
early career as a soldier. He modeled the Jesuits on a military
paradigm, and to my knowledge, accepted the concept of military
service in pursuit of just causes. We live in an imperfect
world and the use of military force can be justified in certain
circumstances. While I have serious doubts about the justification
of our involvement in Iraq based on the just war criteria,
I certainly dont think that leads to the conclusion
that Holy Cross should abandon the NROTC as incompatible
with the values of the school. I also salute the leaders
of the NROTC staff for their initiative in bringing speakers
on the just war theory as part of the NROTC curriculum. Where
else but Holy Cross?
You have done a great service in raising the War & Peace issue.
My vote would be in strong support of retaining the NROTC
program now and in the future.
John Paul Royston 59