Sunday, May 01, 2016

Defiant Christian

In a couple of days they come and
Take me away
But the press let the story leak
And when the radical priest
Come to get me released
We was all on the cover of Newsweek

Me & Julio Down by the Schoolyard.

When I was training for ministry in the late 1970's I became aware of two brothers, Daniel and Phillip Berrigan, who were American Roman Catholic priests. They certainly didn't fit any stereotype or mold for priests, opposing the Vietnam war during the 60's and becoming anti-nuclear weapons activists in the 70's. They ended up in prison for several years as a result of their actions, but both felt that they were being faithful to God rather than a death-dealing regime. They even made it on to the cover of Time magazine. I was jarred by their defiance when I first learned about them, but came to appreciate their courage and conviction.

Daniel Berrigan died this weekend at the ripe old age of 94, which is a good run by any standards. Through the years he wrote prolifically, including many books of poetry. He remained defiant to the end and was actually arrested in his 80's as part of a protest. He was the priest in Paul Simon's song Me & Julio Down by the Schoolyard.

Here is the New York Times obit

Do you remember the Berrigans, or know their history of Godly defiance. Does it make any sense to you?


Judy McKnight said...

I knew nothing about the Berrigans ... thanks for educating us ! Does it make sense? yes - and no - yes if you are one who is looking at what the Kingdom of God really means, and see gross injustice all around you - no if you are living in self-preservation mode, or if you have dependents .... what they did was courageous, and most of us would not have that kind of courage....never easy to do, but easier to muster up if you have no one dependent on you, I would imagine.

David Mundy said...

Agreed, although the celibate priesthood was never an option I entertained.