Leadership Conference of Women Religious

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Spring 2018

Love, Oneness, and America’s National Security

Francine Dempsey, CSJ

I was six when World War II ended. We won, of course. God was on our side. America was secure. I was secure.

In my school days I lived through the Cold War, obeying quickly when sister commanded, “Duck and cover,” secure under my desk.

As a high school student I marched in the diocesan May Day parade and heard the Bishop say,   “Rosaries are more powerful than guns made by anti-God forces.”  God was still on our side.

As CSJ junior sister, I asked God to help President Kennedy resolve the Cuban missile crisis. How could God not help a Catholic president?

The Vietnam War, some real theology, and prayer taught me that God was not on any side. Wars against “godless Communism” were, in reality demonstrations of America’s military and economic power against weaker nations. That’s why it took so long to end the Vietnam debacle—we couldn’t admit that power’s failure.

For some, fear of all-out nuclear destruction transformed into fear of the immorality of nuclear weapons. Since Hiroshima and Vietnam, the voices of groups like Pax Christi and religious congregations, and individuals like Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Kathy Kelly, and John Dear have been a steady undertone calling for pacifism and nuclear disarmament. Over the same years, as President Dwight Eisenhower warned the military industrial complex has become the lynchpin of America’s security and, unfortunately, America’s economy.  Download PDF below to continue reading

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