Ben Salmon conscientiously objected to World War 1 and all war in opposition to the majority of US citizens, the US Government, and the Roman Catholic Church, of which he was a member. His conscience earned him imprisonment, solitary confinement and a death sentence. One hundred years ago, he wrote extensively on the absence of justification for war. His life and witness are chronicled on this site.
Come Pray at Ben Salmon's Grave
A Prayer Vigil will be held at Ben Salmon's grave site in Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois (suburb of Chicago) on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. From 9 am to 4 pm, you are welcome to stop by to sign a guest book or be anonymous, offer a prayer, and talk with other as you wish. There will be a press conference at 11 am where the parallels between Pope Francis' prayers, earlier on June 20 (see links below), at the graves of two Italian priests who objected to war and prayers at conscientious objector Ben Salmon's grave will be discussed. Friends of Franz and Ben will be at the site to share in prayer and conversation.
When driving to the site, the most convenient route is through the entrance on Roosevelt Road. Signs will be placed to guide you from Roosevelt Road to the grave. Ben Salmon's grave is at latitude 41°51'52.2"N and longitude 87°54'35.1"W (41.864501, -87.909758). The map below is the zoomed-in satellite overlay from Google maps. One thing to note on the map is that Ben Salmon's grave is in an area of unmarked graves surrounded by rows of monuments and markers. The Friends of Franz and Ben are fund raising to have a simple marker placed on Ben's grave.
Pope Francis inspires prayer vigil at Ben Salmon's grave
On June 20, 2017 Pope Francis will visit the graves of "a pair of 20th century priests who were ostracized by church leaders partly due to their support for pacifism and conscientious objection." (https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/francis-rewriting-italian-church-history-visit-priests-tombs-june) The National Catholic Reporter online article states that the pope is praying at each of the tombs in a "private and non-official" capacity. One of the priests advocated for conscientious objection and the other criticized the Catholic church's just war teaching. Ben Salmon's witness incorporated both aspects, as he spent years in military prison as a conscientious objector and completed a line-by-line rebuttal of just war teaching in his Magnum Opus.
Pope Francis' prayers to be offered at the pacifist priests' graves has inspired American Catholics to perform a parallel prayer vigil on June 20 at Ben Salmon's grave in Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois. The Gospel nonviolence working group of the Association of US Catholic Priests has a petition of support entitled "Pope Francis blesses War Objectors June 20, 2017, as do I". If you can't make it to Mt. Carmel for the Prayer Vigil (or if you can), you can show your support online at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/176/365/383/.
Keep checking back for more information on the Prayer Vigil as June 20 approaches.