Gordon Zahn

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Gordon Zahn
Born Gordon Charles Paul Roach
7 August 1918
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Died 9 December 2007
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
Cause of death
Alzheimer's disease
Nationality United States
Known for Peace activist
Title professor emeritus University of Massachusetts Amherst
Religion Roman Catholic

Gordon Zahn (born Gordon Charles Paul Roach 7 August 1918 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – 9 December 2007 in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin) was an American sociologist, pacifist, professor, and author.

Early life and World War II[edit]

Born out of wedlock, Zahn took his stepfather's last name. During World War II, he was a conscientious objector, and served in a Civilian Public Service camp established by the Catholic Worker Movement.[1] Zahn later transferred to Rosewood State Training School in Maryland, a school for the developmentally disabled. He worked there as a conscientious objector until April, 1946. His experiences at Rosewood were published in the Catholic Worker in the July and October 1946 issues, as a continuation of his attempt to reform Rosewood.

Education and career[edit]

Gallagher describes Zahn's career in detail. In 1946 Zahn and a friend went to Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota. There they met Eugene McCarthy, who hired them when he became a U.S. Senator. Zahn got a PhD from The Catholic University of America and then a job at Loyola University Chicago. According to Gallagher, Cardinal Bea pressured Loyola and a German publisher to stop Zahn's book German Catholics and Hitler's Wars, but it did not work. Zahn was later hired away by the University of Massachusetts Amherst.[2]

Second Vatican Council[edit]

According to an article by Michael Gallagher, Zahn was important in the debate over warfare in the Second Vatican Council, specifically Schema 13. Through Richard Carbray, and archbishop Thomas Roberts, Zahn was introduced to Abbot Cuthbert Butler. Zahn gave talks and wrote a speech for Butler. Gallagher implies this all led to Schema 13 supporting conscientious objectors and denouncing 'weapons of mass destruction'.[2]

Authored works[edit]

Zahn was the author of several books and articles, often focusing on the topics of conscience and war. He wrote Military Chaplains, based on interviews he did with RAF Chaplains who had served in the war. He then wrote German Catholics and Hitler's Wars, in which he argued priests had aided Hitler by telling Germans it was their religious duty to fight. He later wrote In Solitary Witness: The Life and Death of Franz Jägerstätter, about the Austrian conscientious objector who refused to fight in Hitler's army.[2][3] He was also the co-founder of Pax Christi USA.

In 1968, he signed the “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest” pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War.[4]

In 1982 he received the Pax Christi award from St John's.[2][5]

Sources[edit]

Books[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hovey, Michael W. (2008). "Gordon Zahn, 1918-2007". The Catholic Worker. LXXV (1) (Jan.–Feb.): 1, 4. 
  2. ^ a b c d Michael Gallagher (2007-06-14). "Let us now praise Gordon Zahn". catholicpeacefellowship.org. Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  3. ^ "Gordon Zahn Papers (ZHN 028), University of Notre Dame Archives (UNDA), Notre Dame, IN 46556". University of Notre Dame. Retrieved 2009-11-10.  Finding aid, ZHN 028
  4. ^ “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest” January 30, 1968 New York Post
  5. ^ "Pax Christi Award Recipients - Saint John's University Archives - CSB/SJU". csbsju.edu. 2009-10-31. Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  6. ^ "Reviews of German Catholics and Hitler's Wars". Retrieved 2008-03-03.