Daniel Berrigan: Ten Commandments for the Long Haul

Berriganre-posted from http://rosemarieberger.com/

1. Call on Jesus when all else fails. Call on Him when all else succeeds (except that never happens).

2. Don’t be afraid to be afraid or appalled to be appalled. How do you think the trees feel these days, or the whales, or, for that matter, most humans?

3. Keep your soul to yourself. Soul is a possession worth paying for, they’re growing rarer. Learn from monks, they have secrets worth knowing. Continue reading “Daniel Berrigan: Ten Commandments for the Long Haul”

The Catholicism That Made Pope Francis Possible

dan.jpgBy Rose Marie Berger Re-posted from sojo.net.

“Violence only exists with the help of the lie!

With these words Fr. Daniel Berrigan and I sealed our fate. It was the summer 1995. August sixth. We’d been invited read at the Washington National Cathedral’s service commemorating the 50th year since the U.S. used atomic weapons on civilians in Japan.

The Cathedral was full. Western light filled the rose window. I was supposed to read an adaptation from Thomas Merton’s scathing indictment of U.S. militarism, the poem “Original Child Bomb,” and the Scriptures for the Feast of the Transfiguration (“Master, it is good that we are here”), also recognized on that day. Dan was slated to read from Soviet-resister Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Nobel Prize lecture and from Maximillian Kolbe, the Polish priest who exchanged his life for a fellow prisoner in Auschwitz. Continue reading “The Catholicism That Made Pope Francis Possible”

Mourning a Mentor & Friend

dan 3.jpgBy Joyce Hollyday

Daniel Berrigan: May 9, 1921 – April 30, 2016

I was a young associate editor at Sojourners magazine when Dan Berrigan sent a poem for a special issue sometime in the early 1980s. Accompanying it was a note that read “Here’s the poem—my first on a word processor. Seems a bit jumbled. Might have got a food processor by mistake.” He was not yet a friend, so I wasn’t familiar with the mischievous grin that likely spread across his face as he wrote it. Continue reading “Mourning a Mentor & Friend”

Just Enough Courage

Daniel Berrigan - Anti-Vietnam Peace Activist
ITHACA, NY – CIRCA 1970: Daniel Berrigan at Cornell University circa 1970 in Ithaca, New York. (Photo by PL Gould/IMAGES/Getty Images)

Dan Berrigan Week continues with this excerpt from Ched Myers’ living eulogy in 2003 (read it in it’s entirety here in this month’s Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries newsletter!):

None of us would be gathered here—neither Catholic Workers nor members of the Immaculate Heart of Mary community, nor any of us assorted feral Christians—were it not for Dan’s showing and telling of the gospel. The political spaces he opened through his public witness, the theological imagination he ignited with his pen, the language he gave us in a time when lies are sovereign—all these have helped us find just enough courage to embrace something of the Way.

Alive in the world and waiting for you

dan 2.jpgApril 30, 2016

Daniel Berrigan, Uncle, Brother, Friend,


A statement from the Family of Father Dan Berrigan, SJ

This afternoon around 2:30, a great soul left this earth. Close family missed the “time of death” by half an hour, but Dan was not alone, held and prayed out of this plane of existence by his friends. We – Liz McAlister, Kate, Jerry and Frida Berrigan, Carla and Marc Berrigan-Pittarelli—were blessed to be among friends—Patrick Walsh, Joe Cosgrove, Father Joe Towle and Maureen McCafferty—able to surround Daniel Berrigan’s body for the afternoon into the evening. Continue reading “Alive in the world and waiting for you”

We Cry Peace

Berrigan2From Daniel Berrigan (1921-2016) in No Bars to Manhood (1971):

We have assumed the name of peacemakers, but we have been, by and large, unwilling to pay any significant price. And because we want the peace with half a heart and half a life and will, the war, of course, continues, because the waging of war, by its nature, is total – but the waging of peace, by our own cowardice, is partial. So a whole will and a whole heart and a whole national life bent toward war prevail over the velleities of peace. In every war since the founding of the republic we have taken for granted that war shall exact the most rigorous cost, and that the cost shall be paid with a cheerful heart. We take it for granted that in wartime families will be separated for long periods, that men will be imprisoned, wounded, driven insane, killed on foreign shores. In favor of such wars, we declare a moratorium on every normal human hope – for marriage, for community, for friendship, for moral conduct toward strangers and the innocent. We are instructed that deprivation and discipline, private grief and public obedience are going to be our lot. And we obey. And we bear with it – because bear we must – because war is war, and war good or bad, we are stuck with it and its cost.

But what of the price of peace? I think of the good, decent, peace-loving people I have known by the thousands, and I wonder. How many of them are so afflicted with the wasting disease of normalcy that, even as they declare for the peace, their hands reach out with an instinctive spasm in the direction of their loved ones, in the direction of their comforts, their home, their security, their income, their future, their plans – that five-year plan of studies, that ten-year plan of professional status, that twenty-year plan of family growth and unity, that fifty-year plan of decent life and honorable natural demise. “Of course, let us have the peace,” we cry, “but at the same time let us have normalcy, let us lose nothing, let our lives stand intact, let us know neither prison nor ill repute nor the disruption of ties.” And because we must encompass this and protect that, and because at all costs – at all costs – our hopes must march on schedule, and because it is unheard of that in the name of peace a sword should fall, disjoining that fine and cunning web that our lives have woven, because it is unheard of that good men should suffer injustice or families be sundered or good repute be lost – because of this we cry peace and cry peace, and there is no peace. There is no peace because there are no peacemakers. There are no makers of peace because the making of peace is at least as costly as the making of war – at least as exigent, at least as disruptive, at least as liable to bring disgrace and prison and death in its wake.

Continue reading “We Cry Peace”

Daniel Berrigan: ¡Presente!

berriganBy Bill Wylie-Kellermann, “Giving Voice”: a tribute for his mentor Daniel Berrigan who crossed over at 94 yesterday
the heart dares the word dares the page
lest love stick in the throat of this pen,
and go untold

i remember my name
in your voice
echoing down the underground hall
beneath niebuhr place:
come, crack a jar of scotch
come for talk and a minted brew of tea
come to life. wake. arise.
(an ascent follows, sweet and rash) Continue reading “Daniel Berrigan: ¡Presente!”

A Letter to Vietnamese Prisoners

Tiger CageThis poem was written by Daniel Berrigan during his imprisonment after the Catonsville Nine action, published by Fellowship Magazine & The Merton Center. It was, later, memorized by Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann during his participation in a protest of “tiger cages” used for torture by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War in the summer of 1973 (right). Wylie-Kellermann recited it from memory yesterday at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Detroit, to honor the Catonsville Nine activists.

Part 1.

Dear friends, your faces are a constriction of grief in the throat
your words weigh us like chains, your tears and blood
fall on our faces. Prison; Vietnam, prison; U.S.
prison is our fate, mothers bears in prison,
our tongues taste its gall, bars spring up
from dragons’ teeth, a paling, impaling us. Continue reading “A Letter to Vietnamese Prisoners”