I’m preparing a post on Christianity which touches on Christian left politics, and while looking for something else I came across this very recent interview with Father Daniel Berrigan. For those too young to remember, Berrigan and his brother Philip broke ranks with their Church on a number of issues including their direct action against the Vietnam War which earned them prison sentences and by some accounts promoted and preserved the vitality of Vatican Two, which redefined Catholicism in social terms as well as theological. Phillip, a Josephite priest (Daniel is a Jesuit) died recently. I wasn’t sure if Daniel was still alive, but he is and looks good.
I strongly recommend his autobiography Apologies Good Friends, probably out of print.
I’ve never seen either of them speak, although Philip Berrigan’s wife Elizabeth McAlister spoke at UC Santa Cruz one time. She had been a nun. Their relationship got Philip defrocked, not specifically his politics.
As you can see from their Wikipedia entries, they are progressive leftists, maybe even radical leftists. What the entries leave out is that they both oppos(ed) abortion. When Elizabeth McAlister spoke in Santa Cruz, the talk got bogged down in an argument about abortion. McAlister and her husband have spent years in jail each in defense of their convictions, yet a few young activists would view them as “reactionary” based on her opposition to choice, or in her terms, support for the “protection of the most vulnerable.” Quite frankly, there are those who oppose choice whom I can respect for their convictions. And in my opinion, the country owes this family in particular a great deal of lattitude, and gratitude.
More on that in the near future. In the meantime, I couldn’t make out much of what Father Berrigan was reading in the video clip. But it’s good to see him breathing and enjoying life.