There is no immediate “Catholic tie-in” here, but we must post a photo of the uniforms that Northeastern will wear to play Michigan on November 16, just for anyone who balks when we mention creeping militarism in our society. It’s just getting plain sick. As for the philanthropic motive and PR spin about how the uniforms were not made to resemble blood but a “distressed flag” (whatever), here is some great (non-Catholic) commentary by Matt Ufford, a Northwestern graduate and a veteran, who says that he “hates” these uniforms and “would like to debark the bullsh*t train to Jingotown.” Right there with you, Matt. We think that train is headed straight to hell, and that’s no figure of speech.
Catholic economist (there’s a tie-in!) Thomas DiLorenzo provided some commentary on the LRC blog and linked to these BBC films about how the regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco used sports to glorify the state and statism. Maybe we’re stealing from their playbook.
Actually Ufford’s train comment brings to mind Franz Jagerstatter’s train dream:
“I saw [in a dream] a wonderful train as it came around a mountain. With little regard for the adults, children flowed to this train and were not held back. There were present a few adults who did not go into the area. I do not want to give their names or describe them. Then a voice said to me, ‘This train is going to hell.’ Immediately it happened that someone took my hand, and the same voice said to me: ‘Now we are going to purgatory.’ What I glimpsed and perceived was fearful. If this voice had not told me that we were going to purgatory, I would have judged that I had found myself in hell.”
He said that the train represented National Socialism. Prior to having the dream, he had read that 150,000 Austrian young people had joined Hitler. In a meditation on Jagerstatter’s life, Father Daniel Berrigan urged that we not become complacent in these “post-Hitler” times:
“To speak of today; it is no longer Hitler’s death train we ride, the train of the living dead. Or is it? It is. The same train. Only, if possible (it is possible) longer, faster, cheaper. On schedule, every hour on the hour, speedy and cheap and unimaginably lethal. An image of life in the world. A ghost train still bound, mad as March weather, for hell… Despite all fantasies and homilies and ‘states of the union’,’ urging the contrary. Today, a world of normalized violence, a world of standoff, of bunkers and missiles nose to nose, a world of subhuman superpowers and the easy riders. The train beats its way across the world, crowded with contented passenger-citizen-Christians.”
Scary. And look, plenty of tie-ins in this post…
In one the of close to two-hundred brief reflections composed between May and August of 1943, Jagerstatter writes, “Love as the outer-wear is the ‘uniform’ of Jesus’ disciples. His disciples are known by their love.”
Wow. That kind of came full circle, didn’t it? These excerpts are from an article called Love’s Justice: The Witness of Franz Jagerstatter, by Anna Brown over at WagingNonviolence.org. The writings she is referring to are from Franz Jagerstatter: Letters and Writings from Prison, edited by Erna Putz, Orbis Books, 2009.