The Priest for Peace

This week, we remember Daniel Berrigan, S.J., a Jesuit priest and notable anti-war activist during the Vietnam War era. Ordained to the priesthood in 1952, Berrigan quickly gained a reputation for being a social justice crusader as he fought injustice and poverty in America. In the late 1960s, Berrigan worked at Cornell University in their United Religious Work organization and in the Cornell Catholic Community.

During this time, Berrigan, along with his brother Philip Berrigan (a Josephite priest) and Trappist monk Thomas Merton, became an ardent activist against the war in Vietnam. In 1967, Berrigan and his brother were arrested for defacing draft records, and in 1968, Berrigan traveled to Hanoi with historian-activist Howard Zinn to receive the first three American prisoners of war released by the North Vietnamese.

After the war ended, Berrigan remained a vocal pacifist and champion of social justice in the United States. Fr. Berrigan died on April 30, 2016, the forty-first anniversary of the end of the War in Vietnam.

  • Why can the priesthood and activism go hand in hand?
  • How does our Catholic faith inform our socio-political conscience?
  • How can we make sure our voices are heard in the current political climate?
  • What other causes might we speak out about?