[Marxism] Catholic conscientious Objectors?

Carlos A. Rivera cerejota at optonline.net
Thu May 26 01:12:15 MDT 2005

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Paul H. Dillon" <illonph at pacbell.net>

> However, John Paul II made it very clear that he felt Iraq was not a just 
> war.  Does this mean Catholics in the service can claim religion a basis 
> for their CO status in THIS war, that priests could preach against 
> participation in it,  since the head of their church found the war unjust?

Actually, technically, he didn't "find" the war unjust. If this sounds like 
a lawyer's argument, its because it is, after all, it is a law issue you 
raise here.

The difference in key. The pope did not raise an issue of doctrine, but 
rather of personal vocation, something very different. That the pious, in 
particular thinking he is a saint after dying, might bear witness to his 
example, but don't have to, and can in fact contradict this vocation.

Catholic conscientious objectors wil indeed have a hard time proving their 
religious motivation, a lot of if it due to localized anti-catholic 
sentiment. Yet there are possible loopholes, my favorite being declaring 
oneself a devotee of St. Marcellus the Centurion (aka of Tangiers), the 
saint of Conscientious Objectors:


30 October

Roman centurion at Tangier. During a celebration of the emperor's birthday, 
Marcellus refused to participate in the pagan offering ceremony. He threw 
away his arms and armour, openly declared himself a Christian, and was 
condemned to death. The unit's notary refused to record this incident and 
declared himself a Christian as well; he was Saint Cassian.

martyred c.298 at Tangier

conscientious objectors

Marcellus of Tangier M (RM)
(also known as Marcellus the Centurion)

Died 298. During the festivities held by a Roman legion at Tingis (Tangiers) 
in celebration of Emperor Maximian's birthday the centurion Marcellus, 
regarding such festivities as idolatrous, refused to sacrifice to the gods. 
He threw off his military belt and tossed away his arms and vine-branch, the 
insignia of his rank. When the festival was over, he was brought before a 
judge named Fortunatus. When questioned, Marcellus declared, "I serve only 
the eternal king, Jesus Christ."

Fortunatus remanded Marcellus to lay his case before Emperor Maximian and 
Constantius Caesar, who was then in Spain and favorably disposed to 
Christians. Instead Marcellus taken under guard before the deputy praetorian 
prefect, Aurelius Agricolan, who was then at Tangier. After an exchange 
between the two that is still preserved, Marcellus pleaded guilty to 
repudiating his allegiance to an earthly leader, and was executed by sword 
for impiety.

It was afterwards said that the official shorthand writer, Saint Cassian, 
was so indignant at the sentence that he refused to report the proceedings, 
and that he too was executed in consequence. In all probability this is a 
fictitious addition to the authentic account of Saint Marcellus, though 
there seems to have been a martyr at Tangier named Cassian.

The relics of Saint Marcellus were translated to León, Spain, were they are 
kept in a rich shrine. Marcellus is the patron of the city (Attwater, 
Benedictines, Delaney, Husenbeth).

(not to be confussed with the canonized Pope of the same name, who ruled 10 
years later)

There is also institutional support, most notably "Pax Christi", the 
foremost catholic peace organization, similar the the Quaker "Peacework" 


More specifically:

Also, the still-valid "Declaration on Conscientious Objection and Selective 
Conscientious Objection" issued by the United States Catholic Conference 

"Although a Catholic may take advantage of the law providing exemption from 
military service because of conscientious opposition to all war, there often 
arises a practical problem at the local level when those who exercise civil 
authority are of the opinion that a Catholic cannot under any circumstances 
be a conscientious objector because of religious training and belief. This 
confusion, in some cases, is the result of a mistaken notion that a person 
cannot be a conscientious objector unless the individual is a member of one 
of the traditional pacifist churches (for example, a Quaker).

In the light of the Gospel and from an analysis of the Church's teaching on 
conscience, it is clear that a Catholic can be a conscientious objector to 
war in general or to a particular war "because of religious training and 
belief." It is not enough, however, simply to declare that a Catholic can be 
a conscientious objector or a selective conscientious objector. Efforts must 
be made to help Catholics form a correct conscience in the matter, to 
discuss with them the duties of citizenship, and to provide them with 
adequate draft counseling and information services. in order to give them 
the full advantage of the law protecting their rights. Catholic 
organizations which could qualify as alternative service agencies should be 
encouraged to support and provide meaningful employment for the 
conscientious objector. As we hold individuals in high esteem who 
conscientiously serve in the armed forces, so also we should regard 
conscientious objection and selective conscientious objection as positive 
indicators within the Church of a sound moral awareness and respect for 
human life."


Now, this declaration is significant, because much more than the Pope's 
opinion, it is canonical within the Catholic Church of the USA until it is 
ammended or repealled.


More information about the Marxism mailing list