University VP discusses ROTC, Catholic mission
Seton Hall has been home to the ROTC Pirate Battalion since 1893 and has a “mutually beneficial relationship,” Vice President of Student Services Dr. Tracy Gottlieb said.
“The presence of the Army on our campus is a help to us,” she said. “They provide us with the American symbol that we’re looking for at important formal events.”
Gottlieb also said that she does not know of any Catholic universities that ban ROTC on campus.
According to a 2010 New York Times article written by Diane Mazur, the Solomon Amendment prohibits colleges from banning ROTC on campus. The law was passed in 1994.
While Ivy League schools were believed to have banned ROTC during the Vietnam War and later because of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, Mazur found no research showing that the schools actually prohibited ROTC on their campus.
Lt. Col. Trinidad Gonzalez Jr. said that he believes that the values of the U.S. Army and Catholicism are one in the same.
“The Army has values that are very reciprocal to the Catholic values,” Gonzalez said. “There really is no difference, in my opinion.”
Second Lt. Brother Andrew James, Seton Hall’s ROTC chaplain, said that some American values go hand in hand with Catholic values.
“Patriotism is a virtue that popes have long talked about as being a moral obligation by the natural law,” he said. “So the natural law is this philosophical foundation upon which the Church builds and patriotism is this obligation that we have, falling in between them, falling under love of neighbor, in between love of family and love of mankind, even love of country.”
Cadet Joe Donato said that the Catholic mission and ROTC go together like “peanut butter and jelly.”
“Those values that hold up the Catholic Church and support the Catholic Church also support the Army and hold up the mission of the Army,” Donato said.
According to Gonzalez, the Army has patron saints dedicated to different functions of the military including engineering and airborne.
Cadet Ethan Baptist said that Catholicism shares the same roots with the military.
“Catholic religion is based a lot on family, and so is the Army and so is ROTC, especially (at Seton Hall), we’re one giant family,” Baptist said.
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