Berrigan in 2008
|Born||Daniel Joseph Berrigan
May 9, 1921
Virginia, Minnesota, U.S.
|Died||April 30, 2016
The Bronx, New York City, New York U.S.
|Occupation||Jesuit priest, peace activist, university educator|
|Known for||Anti-Vietnam War activist|
|Relatives||Philip Berrigan (brother)|
Like many others during the 1960s, Berrigan's active protest against the Vietnam War earned him both scorn and admiration, but it was his participation in the Catonsville Nine that made him famous. It also landed him on the FBI's "most wanted list" (the first-ever priest on the list), on the cover of TIME magazine, and in prison. His own particular form of militancy and radical spirituality in the service of social and political justice was significant enough, at that time, to "shape the tactics of resistance to the Vietnam War" in the United States.
For the rest of his life, Berrigan remained one of the US's leading anti-war activists. In 1980, he founded the Plowshares Movement, an anti-nuclear protest group, that put him back into the national spotlight. He was also an award-winning and prolific author of some 50 books, a teacher, and a university educator.
Berrigan was born in Virginia, Minnesota, the son of Frieda Berrigan (née Fromhart), who was of German descent, and Thomas Berrigan, a second-generation Irish Catholic and active trade union member. He was the fifth of six sons. His brother, fellow peace activist Philip Berrigan, was the youngest.
At age 5, Berrigan's family moved to Syracuse, New York. In 1946, Berrigan earned a bachelor's degree from St. Andrew-on-Hudson, a Jesuit seminary in Hyde Park, New York. In 1952 he received a master's degree from Woodstock College in Baltimore, Maryland.
In 1954, Berrigan was assigned to teach theology at the Jesuit Brooklyn Preparatory School. In 1957 he was appointed professor of New Testament studies at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York. The same year, he won the Lamont Prize for his book of poems, Time Without Number. He developed a reputation as a religious radical, working actively against poverty and on changing the relationship between priests and lay people. While at Le Moyne, he founded its International House.
While on a sabbatical from Le Moyne in 1963, Berrigan traveled to Paris and met French Jesuits who criticized the social and political conditions in Indochina. Taking inspiration from this, he and his brother Philip founded the Catholic Peace Fellowship, a group which organized protests against in the war in Vietnam.
From 1966 to 1970, Berrigan was the assistant director of the Cornell University United Religious Work (CURW), the umbrella organization for all religious groups on campus, including the Cornell Newman Club (later the Cornell Catholic Community), eventually becoming the group's pastor.
Berrigan at one time or another held faculty positions or ran programs at Union Seminary, Loyola University in New Orleans, Columbia, Cornell, and Yale. His longest tenure was at Fordham (a Jesuit university located in the Bronx), where he even served as their poet-in-residence, for a brief time.
Protests against the Vietnam War
|“||But how shall we educate men to goodness, to a sense of one another, to a love of the truth? And more urgently, how shall we do this in a bad time?—Daniel Berrigan, S.J., on the cover of TIME Magazine (Jan. 25, 1971)||”|
Berrigan, his brother and Josephite priest Philip Berrigan, and Trappist monk Thomas Merton founded an interfaith coalition against the Vietnam War, and wrote letters to major newspapers arguing for an end to the war. In 1967, Berrigan witnessed the public outcry that followed from the arrest of his brother Philip, for pouring blood on draft records as part of the Baltimore Four. Phillip was sentenced to six years in prison for defacing government property. The fallout he had to endure from these many interventions, including his support for prisoners of war and, in 1968, seeing firsthand the conditions on the ground in Vietnam, further radicalized Berrigan, or at least strengthened his determination to resist American military imperialism.
Berrigan traveled to Hanoi with Howard Zinn during the Tet Offensive in January 1968 to "receive" three American airmen, the first American POWs released by the North Vietnamese since the U.S. bombing of that nation had begun.
In 1968, he signed the Writers and Editors War Tax Protest pledge, vowing to refuse to make tax payments in protest of the Vietnam War. In the same year, he was interviewed in the anti-Vietnam War documentary film In the Year of the Pig, and later that year became involved in radical non-violent protest.
Daniel Berrigan and his brother Philip, along with seven other Catholic protesters, used homemade napalm to destroy 378 draft files in the parking lot of the Catonsville, Maryland, draft board on May 17, 1968. This group, which came to be known as the Catonsville Nine, issued a statement after the incident:
We confront the Roman Catholic Church, other Christian bodies, and the synagogues of America with their silence and cowardice in the face of our country's crimes. We are convinced that the religious bureaucracy in this country is racist, is an accomplice in this war, and is hostile to the poor.
Berrigan was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison, but went into hiding with the help of fellow radicals prior to imprisonment. While on the run, Berrigan was interviewed for Lee Lockwood's documentary The Holy Outlaw. The FBI apprehended him at the home of William Stringfellow and sent him to prison. He was released in 1972.
In retrospect, the trial of the Catonsville Nine was significant because it "altered resistance to the Vietnam War, moving activists from street protests to repeated acts of civil disobedience, including the burning of draft cards." As The New York Times noted in its obituary: Berrigan's actions helped "shape the tactics of opposition to the Vietnam War."
On September 9, 1980, Berrigan, his brother Philip, and six others (the "Plowshares Eight") began the Plowshares Movement. They trespassed onto the General Electric nuclear missile facility in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, where they damaged nuclear warhead nose cones and poured blood onto documents and files. They were arrested and charged with over ten different felony and misdemeanor counts. On April 10, 1990, after ten years of appeals, Berrigan's group was re-sentenced and paroled for up to 23 and 1/2 months in consideration of time already served in prison. Their legal battle was re-created in Emile de Antonio's 1982 film In the King of Prussia, which starred Martin Sheen and featured appearances by the Plowshares Eight as themselves.
Although much of his later work was devoted to assisting AIDS patients in New York City, Berrigan still held to his activist roots throughout his life. He maintained his opposition to American interventions abroad, from Central America in the 1980s, through the Gulf War in 1991, the Kosovo War, the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He was also an anti-abortion activist and opponent of capital punishment, a contributing editor of Sojourners, and a supporter of the Occupy movement.
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- Dar Williams's song "I Had No Right" from her album The Green World is about Berrigan and his trial.
- January 25, 1971: Featured on the cover of Time magazine along with his brother Phillip.
- Adrienne Rich's poem "The Burning of Paper Instead of Children" makes numerous references to the Catonsville Nine and includes an epigraph from Daniel Berrigan during the trial ("I was in danger of verbalizing my moral impulses out of existence")
- Paul Simon's song "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" refers to Berrigan as "the radical priest."
- Lynne Sachs's documentary film Investigation of a Flame is about the Berrigan brothers and the Catonsville Nine.
- Berrigan was interviewed about his life and activism for Kisseloff, Jeff (2006). Generation on Fire: Voices of Protest from the 1960s, an Oral History. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-2416-6..
- Berrigan appeared briefly in the 1986 Roland Joffé film The Mission, which starred Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons.
- The character of Father Corrigan in the novel Let The Great World Spin (2009, by Colum McCann), was inspired by the life of Berrigan.
- Berrigan was interviewed for a television documentary called, “The Holy Outlaw,” by National Educational Television aired September 1970 
- The Berrigan brothers were referenced in the novel The Man Without a Shadow (2016, by Joyce Carol Oates)pp. 140–141
- Daniel and Phillip Berrigan were noted among other social justice activists on a section on Fasting for Peace and Justice, "Exploring a Great Spiritual Practice: Fasting" by Carole Garibaldi Rogers (2004)p.155.
In 2016, Berrigan died in The Bronx, New York City, at Murray-Weigel Hall, the Jesuit infirmary at Fordham University. For many years, since 1975, he had lived on the Upper West Side at the West Side Jesuit Community.
Awards and recognition
- 1956: Lamont Poetry Selection
- 1974: War Resisters League Peace Award
- 1974: Gandhi Peace Award (accepted then resigned)
- 1988: Thomas Merton Award
- 1989: Pax Christi USA Pope Paul VI Teacher of Peace Award
- 1992: The Peace Abbey Foundation Courage of Conscience Award
- 1993: Pacem in Terris Award
- 2008: Honorary Degree from The College of Wooster
Daniel Berrigan was the author, or co-author, of more than fifty books.
- Time Without Number. New York: Macmillan. 1957. OCLC 781490. – winner of the Lamont Poetry Prize
- Love, Love at the End: Parables, Prayers, and Meditations (1st ed.). New York: Macmillan. 1968. ISBN 978-0-02-083750-3. OCLC 5692967.
- Trial Poems, Oct. 7, 1968. Chicago: Thomas More Association. 1969. OCLC 921848244.
- (with) Coles, Robert (1971). The Geography of Faith; Conversations between Daniel Berrigan, when underground, and Robert Coles (2nd ed.). Boston: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-80-700538-5. OCLC 239919.
- America Is Hard to Find (1st ed.). Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday. 1972. ISBN 978-0-38-500327-8. OCLC 427586.
- (with) Berrigan, Philip ("Forward") (1973). Prison Poems (2nd ed.). Greensboro, N.C.: Unicorn Press. ISBN 978-0-87-775049-9. OCLC 726986.
- (with) Lockwood, Lee (1973). Daniel Berrigan: Absurd Convictions, Modest Hopes; Conversations after prison with Lee Lockwood (1st ed.). New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 978-0-39-471912-2. OCLC 851142578.
- To Dwell in Peace: An Autobiography. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock. 1987. ISBN 978-1-55-635473-1. OCLC 307596569.
- (with) Dear, John (1998). And the Risen Bread: Selected Poems, 1957–1997. New York: Fordham University Press. ISBN 978-0-82-321821-9. OCLC 38519749.
- (with) Amari, Adrianna (photography); Zinn, Howard (Introduction) (2007). Prayer for the Morning Headlines: On the Sancity of Life and Death (1st ed.). Baltimore, MD: Apprentice House. ISBN 978-1-93-407416-9. OCLC 123350245.
- The Trouble with Our State (Audio book). New York, NY: Yellow Bike Press. 2007. OCLC 275175135.
- Daniel Berrigan Papers (finding aid) Special Collections and Archives, DePaul University
- Murray Polner and Jim O'Grady, "Disarmed and Dangerous: The Radical Lives and Times of Daniel and Philip Berrigan, Brothers in Religious Faith & Civil Disobedience" (Basic Books, 1997 and Westview Press, 1998)
- Daniel Cosacchi and Eric Martin, eds., The Berrigan Letters: Personal Correspondence between Daniel and Philip Berrigan (Orbis Books, 2016)
- Lewis, Daniel (April 30, 2016). "Daniel J. Berrigan, Defiant Priest Who Preached Pacifism, Dies at 94". The New York Times. Retrieved April 30, 2016.
- Goodman, Amy (June 8, 2006). "Holy Outlaw: Lifelong Peace Activist Father Daniel Berrigan Turns 85". Democracy Now!. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
Starts at 35:00
- Democrats for Life: Pro-Life Politics and the Silenced Majority, Kristen Day, p.61
- "Fire and Faith: The Catonsville Nine File". Digital archive. Enoch Pratt Free Library. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- Chris Hedges (May 20, 2008). "Daniel Berrigan: Forty Years After Catonsville". The Nation.
- "TIME Magazine Cover: Philip and Daniel Berrigan". Time. January 25, 1971.
- "Jesuit Priest, Peace Activist Daniel Berrigan Dies at 94". NBC News. Associated Press. April 30, 2016. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
Berrigan said in an interview that he became a fugitive to draw more attention to the anti-war movement.
- "Father Daniel Berrigan, Anti-War Activist & Poet, Dies". Democracy Now!. April 30, 2016. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- "US anti-Vietnam war priest Daniel Berrigan dies aged 94". BBC News.
- "Daniel Berrigan – United States Census, 1930". FamilySearch. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- Lewis, Daniel (December 8, 2002). "Philip Berrigan, Former Priest and Peace Advocate in the Vietnam War Era, Dies at 79". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- Faison, Carly (2014). "Guide to the Daniel Berrigan Papers". CatholicResearch.net. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- "Danial J Berrigan – United States Census, 1940". FamilySearch. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- Roberts, Tom (April 30, 2016). "Daniel Berrigan, poet, peacemaker, dies at 94". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- Schmidt, Margaret (April 30, 2016). "Peace activist Father Berrigan dies, taught at St. Peter's Prep in '40s". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- "International House – Alumni News".
- "Daniel Berrigan, priest and anti-Vietnam war peace activist, dies". The Guardian.
- Aloi, Daniel (April 4, 2006). "From Vietnam to Redbud Woods: Daniel Berrigan launches events commemorating five decades of activism at Cornell". Cornell Chronicle. Retrieved December 1, 2007.
- "Dissenter Poet in Residence: The Rev. Daniel Berrigan, S.J.". Inside Fordham Online. March 2003. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- Raftery, Kay (March 25, 1993). "Father Berrigan Talks About His Film Mission The Jesuit And Noted Peace Activist Discussed His Role In The Making Of A Major Motion Picture". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
- Berrigan, Daniel (1986). The Mission: A Film Journal (1st ed.). San Francisco: Harper & Row. ISBN 978-0-06-250056-4. OCLC 13947262.
- "The Nation: The Berrigans: Conspiracy and Conscience". Time 97 (4): 18. 25 January 1971. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
- Religion and War Resistance in the Plowshares Movement (2008) Sharon Erickson Nepstad, Cambridge University Press, p48 ISBN 9780521717670
- "In 2006 Interview, Fr. Dan Berrigan Recalls Confronting Defense Secretary McNamara over Vietnam War". Democracy Now!.
- Nancy Zaroulis; Gerald Sullivan (1989). Who Spoke Up? American Protest Against the War in Vietnam 1963–1975. Horizon Book Promotions. ISBN 0-385-17547-7.
- Howard Zinn (1994). You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train. Beacon Press. pp. 126–38. ISBN 0-8070-7127-7.; new ed. 2002
- "Writers and Editors War Tax Protest". New York Post. January 30, 1968.
- "The Catonsville Nine original 5/17/68 footage". Waging Non-Violence. May 17, 1968. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- Olzen, Jake (May 17, 2013). "How the Catonsville Nine survived on film". Waging Non-Violence. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- United States v. Moylan, 1002 417 F. 2d (Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit 1969).
- Berrigan v. Norton, 790 451 F. 2d (Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit 1971).
- Berrigan v. Sigler, 514 499 F. 2d (Court of Appeals, Dist. of Columbia Circuit 1974).
- Com. v. Berrigan, 226 501 A. 2d (Pa: Supreme Court 1985).
- "A History of Direct Disarmament Actions The Ploughshares movementoriginated in the North American faith".
- "The Milwaukee Sentinel – Google News Archive Search".
- Chris Hedges (June 11, 2012). "Daniel Berrigan, America's Street Priest, Stands With Occupy".
- Roberts, Tom (January 26, 1996). "Soon 75, Berrigan's is still an edgy God". National Catholic Reporter 32 (13). ISSN 0027-8939. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- "Adrienne Rich experiment".
- "Investigation of a Flame (2003)". IMDb.
- http://wagingnonviolence.org/2016/05/when-father-daniel-berrigan-went-underground-as-the-holy-outlaw/=. Missing or empty
- "Daniel Berrigan Papers (1961–2009)" (Finding aid). Special Collections and Archives, DePaul University. Chicago, Illinois. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- Goldman, Ari L. (April 17, 1989). "A Landlord Tries to Evict Jesuit Group". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- "WRL Peace Awards". Archived from the original on June 10, 2007.
- "Award Laureates".
- "OBITUARY: Fr. Daniel Berrigan, S.J., Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace, passes away at age 94". PAX CHRISTI USA.
- "List of Award Recipients".
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- Plowshares Movement Chronology
- Works by or about Daniel Berrigan in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Berrigan Brothers And The Harrisburg Seven Trial, 1970–1989 at the Internet Archive
- Daniel and Philip Berrigan Collection, 1880–1995 at Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library
- Daniel Berrigan Papers at Special Collections and Archives, DePaul University
- Appearances on C-SPAN