Daniel J. Berrigan, Defiant Priest Who Preached Pacifism, Dies at 94 – The New York Times

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68 Responses

  1. Avatar notme says:

    Good riddance.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      Then you’ll be voting for the Mad Bomber this fall?Report

    • Avatar Art Deco says:

      Bit brutal.

      I do suspect if the man ever had a sage thought, it was in excess of 50 years ago.

      The ruin of the clergy has generally been subtler than the example provided by the Berrigan brothers (or John McLaughlin). Last I checked, the census of seminarians in the American provinces of the Society of Jesus was just shy of 400. Given their lengthy formation, that’s consistent with fewer than 30 ordination per annum and, given the shelf-life of a working priest, of a stable population just shy of 1,000 Jesuits not out to grass. There were over 9,000 Jesuits in this country in 1965. Heckuva job, chaps.Report

      • Avatar Francis says:

        Not too many buggy whip manufacturers, either. Some professions just run out of clientele.

        (See, for example, Pew Research here.)Report

        • Avatar Art Deco says:

          I’m sitting here pondering whether that remark was lame or obtuse. I really cannot tell.Report

          • Avatar Francis says:

            Not mutually exclusive. You could even add smug to the list.

            The point remains that an increasing number of Americans are not going to church on a regular basis, and the Catholic church is feeling the pinch. So the funding streams for various religious orders are drying up, as is the interest of young men and women in participating.

            Pew Research reports that there were about 50,000 nuns, with an average age of 74 (!), in the US in 2014, down from 180,000 in the mid-60s. The count for priests is at 38,000, down from 58,000.

            Hence the comparison to professions that catered to a horse-driven economy.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

              Mainstream churches are approaching a quiet crisis point, with a dramatic falloff of participation by younger generations.

              No one seems to know why, or what to do about it. There doesn’t seem to be any variable that easily explains it or that points a way forward.

              My personal theory is the Bowling Alone phenomenon.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                Strict religions seem to have a higher retention rate than liberal religions paradoxically. When you no longer say that going to church regularly is necessary for salvation and that many of the former sins are really no big deal than people stop being religious.

                European and European derived cultures also always had a relatively strong secular streak even at times that we view as religious like the Victorian Era. The British government attempted a religious census in 1851 and it was supposed to be quite shocking that only half the population showed up to church on any given Sunday even in country that took its Christianity very seriously. The thing is that this was a very high percentage by continental standards.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Well, in America at least — I suspect gay rights had something to do with it. The loudest religious voices on that issue tended to be the most bigoted, and they left an impression on the young.

                Why would they join or stick with a church that fought so savagely, viciously, against them and their friends?

                (And that’s not just my opinion as an non-believer. I’ve seen that analysis from mainstream and left-leaning churches, looking at the very problem of youth drop-off in attendance).Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                Well, in America at least — I suspect gay rights had something to do with it. The loudest religious voices on that issue tended to be the most bigoted, and they left an impression on the young.

                That’s a nonsensical statement. To the extent that ‘religious voices’ have been publicly engaged with those sorts of issues, it has concerned laws which are directly coercive and deny freedom of contract or it has concerned the content of school curriculum. There was some public discussion of public health measures a generation ago. Laws proscribing consensual sodomy haven’t been a subject of public discussion in 40-plus years except in the odd locale.

                It’s just charming how liberals fancy that anyone opposed to them has no stake in society and no interests to guard that anyone else need pay any heed to. Wish the young noticed that.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Thank you Art, for the example.

                We didn’t really need you to give itt, because we all remember the mid-2000s and the screaming about gays and gay marriage. Or right now, the rather transparent attempts to whip up trans panic to recapture the glory days of 2004.

                In any case, while mainstream churches are adjusting, they found themselves on the wrong side of the gay rights divide in the 2000s and have been very slow to adjust (for those that have) which has led to many of the younger sect to label them, perhaps irretrievably, as bigoted and out of date.

                Something they recognize, of course. As I said, you can see it in various Protestant denominations own internal processes — it’s certainly been an ongoing issue that I’ve been hearing about through my family’s church (mainstream Methodist) for going onto 10+ years now.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                we all remember the mid-2000s and the screaming about gays and gay marriage. Or right now, the rather transparent attempts to whip up trans panic to recapture the glory days of 2004.

                You wanted changes in matrimonial law. Other people thought that was a bad idea, ergo they are ‘screaming’. You fancy you’re entitled to every oddity that pops into your head. That’s your pathology, not that of the people who oppose you.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Ah, I’d forgotten — disagreement with you is a “pathology”. How difficult it must be for you to be surrounded by so much mental illness. And sodomites. A difficult life, I am sure, full of much trial and tribulation.

                Of course there’s the old saw about what it means when everyone you meet is an a**hole, but surely that doesn’t apply.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                Morat, people oppose what you want. You fancy that’s outrageous. That doesn’t speak well of you.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                the wrong side of the gay rights divide

                Churches are not in the business of fashion, if they’re serious churches (most aren’t, but that’s another matter).Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                I wasn’t giving them business advice, Art. I was explaining one reason — among many — that they are losing the sub-35 folks to other, more flexible Christian sects — or to a sort of rough agnosticism.

                Change, don’t change, I don’t care. I’m not a member of your church, I have no wish to dictate to them what they believe.

                I’m just pointing out a fact — the anti-gay beliefs of many American Christian sects, especially the high-profile political stance many took in the mid-2000s, has made them look bigoted to younger members or younger potential converts.

                Like it, hate it, think they’re wrong, think they’re right — doesn’t matter. Facts are facts, and the younger folks are not very attracted to institutions they view as anti-gay.

                That you are a living, talking example of the attitude and beliefs driving many younger Christians out of the church is just…..well, a convenient example.Report

              • Avatar Trumwill says:

                I don’t think there is any way you can look at the attrition rates of the various denominations and conclude that permissive stances on sexuality and modernizing is something helpful from a membership retention and growth standpoint.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


                Partially but I think the story is really complicated.

                Many of the mainstream groups lost membership but how many of those members went to stricter and more Orthodox churches vs. just became not very religious? Or became twice a year attendees?

                Also when it comes to practical success rates, the strict churches do not exactly have the highest rates of success and many of their young parishoners just became interesting when defining sex. Unprotected sex rates and teenage pregnancy rates are still much higher in red states with evangelical leanings than blue states.

                So I gotta say even if the liberalization of mainline churches caused people to flee towards the Evangelicals, the practical effects were not there much.

                Years ago, the New Yorker ran an article about the sexual attitudes of teenagers in red states and blue states and among several religions. The thing that struck out to me is that Reform Jewish teenagers were the most likely to have positive attitudes towards sex but also the most likely to wait to have sex until later. The main reason given was that an unexpected pregnancy could hamper educational and career opportunities. Hard to take that JYA or long hour job when you have a little one at home.

                Say what you will about these secular and bourgeois attitudes, they seem to work.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Most of this is beside the point made in the comment it’s responding to.

                I’m not sure how many people are leaving the loose churches for a stricter one. Only that more people are leaving the looser one than are joining, and at a rate unfavorably different than those that are more “with it.”Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                I agree that the shrinking of mainline churches doesn’t seem to vary much by any single variable like attitudes towards sexuality or politics.

                The single most rapidly growing church is the unchurched, people who just don’t care one way or the other.

                People like my son and stepdaughter, who are fine, sober, morally upstanding young people about whom nothing bad can be said. Yet they just shrug at the concept of religion- they aren’t antagonistic, it isn’t adolescent oppositionalism, its just…a lack of interest.

                Phyllis Tickle has suggested there is about every 500 years a Great Emergence in our western religions, where the old regime falters and is replaced by a new one.

                In her talks, which I find persuasive, she bluntly challenges contemporary Christianity by saying we have lost the authority to speak to people’s deepest spiritual yearnings.

                Diana Butler Bass and Richard Rohr write about how we have elevated a creedal doctrine over a spiritual relationship with God, and our words seem alien and distant to contemporary people who aren’t already contained within the flock.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                In her talks, which I find persuasive, she bluntly challenges contemporary Christianity by saying we have lost the authority to speak to people’s deepest spiritual yearnings.

                I gather the ‘we’ does not include Phyllis Tickle.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                You do find some shifting around among denominations because of discontents about effective teachings or ceremonial (as opposed to black-letter teachings). The main drivers of the demography of denominations would be fertility and retention. Vigorous denominations tend to be populated with people who are more fecund and they do not lose their youth because teaching and practice are integrated within the weekly routine and are composed of things that do not look pointless.

                Many years ago, a Latin-mass traditionalist of a priest I knew offered this about his vocation: “I want to get to heaven, and I want to take you with me”. Only an odd minority of Anglican vicars in the occidental world can manage that degree of clarity. (And it’s not hard to find Catholic priests who cannot either).Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                Say what you will about these secular and bourgeois attitudes, they seem to work.

                Work toward what end?

                By the standards of 1958, social relations in this country and the occidental world at large are an utter catastrophe.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                I don’t see how you can look at the various Christian denominations slow response to changing social mores on things like gay rights and NOT conclude it’s a factor in youth retention, at least. (Although at this point I’d stretch youth out into the mid-30s).

                If it’s a factor in politics (and it certainly is), why wouldn’t it be a factor in church membership, belief, or attendance? Especially given how wedded the..louder…Christian denominations were with gay demonization? (On the bright side, this should be fairly self-correcting. The peak of that was almost 10 years ago and many churches have moved on).

                OTOH, I think you’re going to see some really noisy data — churches are liberalizing on some issues (or at least simply dropping them from discussion), which is going to drive certain factions to more orthodox churches. And that’s against a backdrop of American churches merging and splintering, with the fastest growth seen in the evangelical and fundamentalist circles.

                From what I can tell, there’s plenty of argument right now over whether Christianity in America is growing or shrinking, and where and in what segments. Religion is akin to a social market, especially in America, and there’s lots of advertising and poaching. (This is easier among Protestant sects — I’ve been Presbyterian, Lutheran, and Methodist in my life. The differences are incredibly mild — as long as you jump from liberal sect to Liberal sect, or evangelical to evangelical).

                There’s a few mega-churches here that seem to have cannibalized from smaller churches with similar theological views — so you have one fast growing Church and a lot of shrinking ones.

                I suppose it’s another example of filtering and viewpoint concentration.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                I don’t see how you can look at the various Christian denominations slow response to changing social mores on things like gay rights and NOT conclude it’s a factor in youth retention, at least. (Although at this point I’d stretch youth out into the mid-30s).

                By looking at those that have adapted, those that haven’t, and what became of them. The data isn’t especially noisy.

                As an Episcopalian, it drives me kind of crazy. But it is what it is. Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Really? Admittedly, I haven’t been watching in years — but last I saw there was a rather noisy sorting going on between Protestant sects at least, but IIRC everyone (Catholic, Protestant, liberal, conservative, evangelical, fundamentalist, mega-church and small one) was complaining about low levels of youth participation.

                And the general reasons given were everything from stances on gays and gay marriage (this was five or 10 years ago at least), to a predilection for more vague forms of spirituality, to social media/internetthat kind of spreadout religious youth who didn’t feel they really needed to be churched at all to be Christians, etc. They didn’t need a physical church when they had contact with fellow members online.

                I do recall a few big names claiming anti-gay rhetoric was really hurting them, though, especially not long after SCOTUS ruled on gay marriage.

                So it’s really possible I’m behind the times on that one.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                And to add — I was nominally Lutheran at a fairly middle of the road church and then Methodist at a very “We’re staying out of this social stuff” Church.

                In short, I’ve always attended services at churches who stayed firmly out of the culture wars. Even when they had a firm stance, it really didn’t show up in sermons. By and large, the pastors and churches I’ve attended seemed to find it more fruitful to concentrate on areas where they felt the church could do some good without stirring up internal conflict.

                Feed the hungry, clothe the poor, forgive the sinner, love thy neighbor sort of thing. (Then again, raised Lutheran. We get all squinty eyed and suspicious if you tell us what God wants. We’ll figure it out ourselves, mkay?)

                The few evangelical or fundamentalist services I’ve attended were very big cases of culture shock. (I think the most memorable was attending a nearby Lutheran (Missouri Synod, the more fundamentalist branch) wherein the sermon (this was 20+ years ago) focused on why women shouldn’t be deacons or pastors.

                There was quite a bit of WTF, given we were Lutherans whose pastor was a woman. IIRC, the Missouri Synod still doesn’t ordain women. The ECLA, the largest of the Lutheran church organizations, has since the 70s — before it’s actual formation, since all three original member organizations did. I know we’ve had female synod Bishops, and I think the current head of the church is a woman.

                So even in the 90s, hearing that was….weird, offputting, and basically killed any interest in attending that church. (And it was the first time I realized how much variation could be put under the umbrella “Lutheran’.)Report

              • Avatar KenB says:

                Have you considered the possibility that you’re overgeneralizing from your personal experience? My recollection is that the stats on the church membership decline show a much steeper fall in the more liberal denominations, so your personal reaction may not be a good guide to the behavior of the country as a whole.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Could very well be. I do know the issues faced by more liberal churches are different from the ones faced by evangelical and fundamentalist churches, although both see drop offs in younger members.

                However, like I said — even the Catholic Church is working pretty hard at at least minimizing some of their social viewpoints, and they are probably the least nimble sect of Christianity when it comes to adapting to changing times.

                And if you look at the younger set’s views on things like homosexuality and how it affects their politics, I’m not sure I’d buy them somehow segregating the Churches they attend. If (as an American example) the GOP is getting toxic on social issues to the point where they have a huge deficit in the younger voters crowd, I can’t see the churches supporting similar ideals to do any better.

                You’d think they’d be more prone to tolerate it from politicians than their churches, if they were going to pick and choose.

                (By and large, I suspect we’re seeing the equivalent of a market consolidation among churches. And the more conservative churches have a rather sizable advantage in a lot of ways. So do the mega-churches (although that may have peaked) and there’s a lot of overlap between “megachurch” and “conservative” church. If nothing else, I know the churches I went to were not big on evangelizing or converting. We were happy to see new members, but we weren’t knocking on doors. Faiths that had more of a sales department should grow faster, as it were).Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I understand that Islam is growing at a good clip in the USA as well.

                I don’t know what their stance on social issues is but I assume that they agree with me.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                You really have to account for relative numbers. There are 3 million or so Muslims in the US (Which includes the rather large, homegrown, Nation of Islam. Second largest Muslim group in the US). Add three million more, and they’ve increased 100%.

                Add three million Catholics to the US and you’ve increased it by 4%.

                Fastest growing doesn’t mean much when you’re a rounding error in the nation’s census. (Well, not quite. Like 1% of the US).

                As for their stance on social issues, they do vote fairly overwhelmingly Democratic (not that that means much, given it’s not like the GOP is probably very appealing to them), which is about the only proxy I’ve got. Like anything else religious in the US, they’re pretty splintered.

                Again, going back to my original point: Young voters have firm opinions on some social issues that the louder (at least in the political and in the “on my tv” way) strains of Christianity have struggled with the last decade or two.

                I do actually attend church with my family, so I’m not claiming Christianity is basically Westburo Baptist, given I go a few times a year to a large, moderate, and pretty much nothing-at-all-like-Westburo church.

                I’m just saying that I cannot imagine that the big social upheaval over gay rights didn’t have an impact on youth views on Christianity, especially given how religion was often shoved to the forefront of the fight (whether it wanted to be or not).

                If it didn’t, quite a few electrons from various religious leaders and newspapers and such were wasted on the topic.Report

              • Avatar El Muneco says:

                One other thing to consider is that stricter churches tend to be more tightly integrated with the community at large than more liberal churches. There is more social pressure to conform – remain in the church, don’t come out as non-cis, don’t even admit to doubts. Often this plays out as a situation where it is logistically impossible to leave the church – no assistance within the community and no resources to leave it.

                Obviously this is not the case everywhere, and certainly not the only reason that stricter churches might be retaining membership better. But when thousands of voices are telling the same story, it shouldn’t be ignored entirely, either.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Oh I don’t. I’d be the very first to tell you that just like you shouldn’t lump Protestants and Catholics together, lumping even ECLA and Missouri Synod Lutherans together is a mistake.

                You’d probably find more commonality between moderate Methodists and moderate Lutherans, than between those two Lutheran Synods.

                And evangelical and fundamentalist sects (separately or together, even though they often seem to go hand in hand they are different) are a very different kettle of fish.

                They also struggle with young members, but their membership problems are entirely difference than more traditional, and liberal, Protestants.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                There will be more the way obama keeps importing them.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                I don’t know what their stance on social issues is but I assume that they agree with me.

                Having said all that — what’s that got to do with the price of tea in China? I mean that’s often your schtick, I get it. I’d actually like to hear how you feel it moves the conversation forward, aids in understanding, or even makes your point.

                Because things like this come across, at least to me, as a pointless jab. Like you disagree with something, but you won’t commit to what (or even that you disagree).

                It’s…implied disagreement, without even the involvement of saying “Eh, I think you’re wrong but I’m too lazy to say why”.

                I know why I think the way I do — based on polling on social issues by demographic, the issues my church has faced (even as little as I’ve attended), and the things I’ve read religious leaders (right, left, center, moderate, conservative, evangelical, fundamentalist, crazy hippy, etc) say. I will admit I’m out of date — it stopped coming up as much in the last several years, so there could be this whole world of stuff I just don’t know about.

                Which I’d be happy to engage in, read, or otherwise try to figure out.

                But instead of pointing to that, or even saying “I think you’re wrong” you just toss that out. Which is not uncommon for you, and I’m getting to be really curious as to why you respond to people that way — I’ve seen substantive, interesting, detailed responses from you. So it’s weird to see you’re just as liable to do things like this.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I think that we’re in the middle of another “Reformation” of sorts. Between the Religious and the Post-Religious.

                The Religious people that grow in their numbers will grow when it comes to the most… oh, let’s call them “traditionally conservative” sentiments.

                The people who have the most progressive sentiments will find that religious trappings are so five minutes ago and they’ll chafe at the new and improved churches the way that they chafed at the outfits they used to wear to these churches before deciding that jeans and a clean shirt (“it has buttons!”) would be good enough for Sunday Morning.

                As for you? You’re an outlier. We’re all outliers, here.

                If we look at the data, we see that the Reformation continues apace, with the Catholic equivalents being more Catholic and the Protestant equivalents splitting the church again and again and again and again until it practically gets down to some weird amalgam of worship of the individual and worship of the self (“social democracy” might be a good name, maybe).

                Anyway, we’re going to find more and more people joining more and more “traditionally conservative” religions in the years to come.

                But, as you say, many of them keep voting (D). Maybe the odiousness of the Republicans will create a buffer.

                That would be funny.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                So when do we gather for the Diet of Worms? Cause i want mine fried and some fool is going to want kosher and another halal.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                I can agree with the religious reformation thing. And defintely on the Protestants splitting, although I think the fundamentalist and conservative churches have been hoovering up a lot of people.

                Call it the Religious Big Sort.

                There’s a lot of aspects of belonging to a church, and one of the biggest (besides religion) is social. And I am keenly aware of how…thinly sliced…some of the Protestant groups are. I’ve got family that have moved between various flavors of Protestantism mostly on Church location or a particularly inspiring pastor, because the theological, liturgical, and religious differences are….well, basically not there.

                Location, having family, friends, or coworkers who go — there’s a half dozen churches within 10 miles of my home that are so close theologically that even the most devout member of my family would chose either based on sheer intertia (I’ve always been X) or on factors which aren’t entirely religious (location, “feel”, the pastor or reverend,etc).

                I know the bigger evangelical and fundamentalist churches bothreally push community, social aspects, and basically “non-religious” draws in addition to the religious. It helps them grow, and they do create rather vibrant communities.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                Morat, the ‘anti-gay beliefs’ are a component of antique teaching on morals. The matter was not much discussed prior to 1970 because discourse about sodomy was not taking up much space in anyone’s head or much public print. There was a social consensus embracing nearly everyone that sodomy was degrading.

                Serious people in the business of teaching faith and morals don’t say ‘oops, my bad’ in response to changing fashions. Many clergymen and academics will do that because they aren’t serious and likely never were.

                Youngsters fixated on homosexuality and responsive to its status in delineating in-groups and out-groups among bourgeois youth aren’t promising material for church congregations anyway. In any case, conversion means adopting a certain critical disposition to the surrounding society, and something that shallow and novel would be the first thing to go. As for cradle evangelicals or cradle Catholics, they’re either critical or deferential to the surrounding society and culture. The ones who are critical are not going to be motivated or impressed with gelantinous behavior by institutional functionaries. The ones who are deferential will leave or will attempt to damage the institution from within. See the children of megachurch entrepreneur John Ortberg for how that’s played out in one man’s family.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Art, it’s pretty simple: People don’t like bigotry, they don’t like associating with bigots.

                And treating gays as second-class citizens, mentally ill, or otherwise deviant has become a minority position rather quickly, and will continue to do so unless you think the vast majority of young Americans are gonna hit 50 or so and decide they hate gays.

                Which means they’re going to view anti-gay positions as bigotry. Which means they’re not going to support them or want to associate with people or groups that hold them.

                By all means, stick to your faith. Don’t change it if you don’t want to. Just realize that’s the reality facing you, and it’s not going to change either.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                Art, it’s pretty simple: People don’t like bigotry, they don’t like associating with bigots.

                You think this is an explanation of anything? Who’s the ‘bigot’? I’ve never been in a discussion with advocates of the homosexual population wherein they manifested themselves to be more inclined than their interlocutors to consider arguments and evidence. Maybe if I’d been chatting people up on the subject in 1969, I’d have a different perspective. As is, striking attitudes has been the default setting in public discussion for forty years. In religious literature, there’s been more debate, but it can really only occur concerning subsidiary points in that setting. Camille Paglia or the younger Andrew Sullivan might be examples of people who had something other than denunciations to offer. Not too many others come to mind.

                Now, what your actually saying is that ‘people’ don’t like associating with others who are critical of or alienated from your preferred client group (or, what’s a fashionable social sector among a certain sort of bourgeois). Well, I get it. High school never ends in liberalworld. I kinda figured that out a while ago.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Believe what you wish, Art.

                I suspect your religion will adapt, even if you don’t. It’s been around awhile, and has changed plenty itself.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                Francis and his camarilla have all sorts of cruddy little schemes. He is, however, mortal, and most of the cardinals give him enough resistance that he is given to episodic displays of petulance.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                Chip, the mainline denominations have been troubled for 50 years or more, for an obvious reason. If you do not fancy marginally coherent speeches and weekly singalongs, it’s hard to see the point. The reason the pastors and rectors of such bodies went into the clergy will be obscure to even the most regular parishioners, though a reasonable inference may be drawn that they wanted to be den mothers on salary.

                As for the Catholic Church, roughly 1/3 of their clergy have a serious vocation. The rest resemble subfractions of the mainline.

                The evangelical congregations face trouble because they’re culturally porous and their academics completely untrustworthy.Report

            • Avatar Art Deco says:

              Francis, that’s not what’s driving the decay of religious orders. If it were merely declining church attendance, the demographic implosion in the religious orders would have been far milder.Report

        • That makes sense: fewer priests, fewer pews.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      Ah, the old “That other guy over there had a different politcal ideology than I have, so I am glad he’s dead” sentiment. Awesome.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        Oh come on, Tod… NotMe is reaching across the aisle and joining us in our War on Christianity.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco says:

        Berrigan’s been out to grass for a while, I suspect, and was less an influence than a large, angry pustule (which may well have deterred a few good vocations). As for clergy who were influential in their spheres, it’s not illegitimate to be pleased they won’t be working their schemes anymore.

        The trouble is, the Society of Jesus one suspects cannot be reformed. The only thing to do is to tell its members to apply for incardination at a selected list of dioceses and to tell the ordinaries in question not to accept just anyone. As for those rejected, it’s dismissal from holy orders or excommunication. Not that the current occupant of the Chair of Peter will ever do anything so constructive (esp in regard to his own ruined order).Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

          “As for clergy who were influential in their spheres, it’s not illegitimate to be pleased they won’t be working their schemes anymore.”

          Yeah, wake me up to agree with you when science renders dying the equivalent to retiring or changing vocations.

          Until then, wishing someone who has never done you any harm dead just because you don’t care for them or disagree with them is terrible, immature, and narcissistic. Dancing on the grave of someone who, again, never did you any harm, on account of your feeling yourself their intellectual superior is doubly so.Report

          • Avatar Art Deco says:

            Until then, wishing someone who has never done you any harm dead just because you don’t care for them or disagree with them is terrible, immature, and narcissistic. Dancing on the grave of someone who, again, never did you any harm, on account of your feeling yourself their intellectual superior is doubly so.

            Yes that’s unpleasant. ‘Fraid I’ve been hearing it for at least 35 years. That’s this age.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            Until then, wishing someone who has never done you any harm dead just because you don’t care for them or disagree with them is terrible, immature, and narcissistic.

            One might say that even if they HAVE done you harm the same judgment applies.

            In most cases, anyway.Report

      • Avatar notme says:

        Not really. It’s not just that he had a different ideology, I sincerely believe that many of the things he did damaged or were harmful to this country.Report

        • Avatar Art Deco says:

          No one much paid attention to him after a certain point. Too gaseous. Too clownish. He damaged the Church to a degree, but he had so much competition at the time it was hard to notice.Report

    • Damn straight.

      We’re talking about the draft records that got burnt, right?Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


      Daniel Berrigan was a braver man than you will ever be. Whether you agree with him or not, he acted based on his beliefs and was willing to pay the price for them. What do you do? Make snide comments on the Internet?Report

      • Avatar notme says:

        Brave? If he was so brave then why did he go on the run after being found guilty for his actions in Catonsville? That doesn’t sound like someone that really believed in the righteousness of their cause. Then he let the Jesuits get him out early. Yes, that was brave.

        What do I do? About seven years ago, with a wife and newborn, I raised my hand and joined the Army Reserve at a time when few were joining. After Officer Basic, I volunteered for a year of active duty. It was for a job in the states but the Army could have easily changed its mind once it had me and sent me overseas. I acted on my beliefs and was willing to pay the price for them.Report

      • Avatar notme says:

        No witty rejoinder, Saul?Report

      • Avatar Art Deco says:

        What are you talking about? He was a gassy exhibitionist much of the time. While we’re at it, two thirds of my father’s contemporaries had a stint in the military during their young adult years. You look at people just a few years older, and the share rises to about 80%. A great many of Fr. Berrigan’s contemporaries were combat veterans. He was in seminary.Report

  2. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    The religious left was something I struggled with, as a practicing Catholic for many years back when I was a conservative.

    On the death penalty, nuclear war, and social justice I saw them as being hopelessly naïve, while my crowd were the grim eyed realists warning of very real danger.

    Over time though, I have come to see the roles as exactly reversed. I was naïve and gullible, and he, along with Henri Nouwen, Dorothy Day and others, saw the world as it really is, full of flawed wonder and beautiful doubt.

    I’ve seen how easily nativism and jingoism are used to whip up war fever, how the death penalty is hopelessly corrupted and executes arguably innocent people, and how the efficiency of markets corrodes the dignity of the human person.

    Daniel Berrigan was right, and I was wrong.Report