Autumn War

This video was posted by Shelley Douglass on Facebook. She writes:

“This video is made of actions taken at Notre Dame University during the Viet Nam war – the Notre Dame resistance, which sponsored marches and a Resistance Mass at the foot of touchdown Jesus. Members of the resistance turned in their torn-up draft cards at the offertory procession. The celebrant was Archbishop Thomas Roberts of England, with Fr Dave Burrell CSC and others. The background music is the Missa Luba, which was a constant accompaniment to our lives those days. We were so full of hope! We’re a bit battered, but many of us (those who are still alive) keep up the struggle. (Tim McCarry, Presente)!”

I wasn’t alive back then but I am very interested in keeping these memories alive. So many Catholics my age (37) have no idea that any of this ever happened, that there was such as thing as resistance to war grounded in Catholic teaching. What happened? You won’t see much of this on Catholic campuses these days! Now the most “Catholic” campuses are probably the most pro-war. Seems to me this was a sort of golden age before the Catholic consciousness about issues of war and peace became completely warped by the American civic religion, before the question of war and peace was reduced to mere “politics” and “policy,” when these questions were wrestled with religiously and earnestly and philosophically and humanely, before the public debate about war and peace had to be filtered through a strict “neocon” or “theocon” lens. But my perception is probably off. Of course the mainstream public back then probably saw the war much the same as the mainstream public sees “The War” (“on terror”) now — “Communism” and “terrorism” can be used interchangeably and you can play all the same cards in the game of justification.

I really like this video because it shows the protesters as being calm, peaceful, faithful and loving. There is hope and strength. So often these days the protesters from that time are portrayed, in Hollywood films and “60s documentaries” —  as drugged out party people who just wanted to drop acid, get high and have a good time. These people are clearly acting out of something more than just teenage rebellion and a desire to subvert.

I’m wondering what Paul and Doug were up to back then. Would you guys have been in these protests if you had attended Notre Dame or would you have been in a different crowd?

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