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Daniel Berrigan (1921 - 2016)

Associated Press / Dave Pickoff

Daniel Berrigan (1921 - 2016)

The Rev. Daniel Berrigan, the Jesuit priest who helped shape the course of the anti-war movement during the Vietnam era, died peacefully April 30 after a long illness, The Associated Press and The New York Times reported. He was 94.

Born May 29, 1921, in Virginia, Minnesota, Berrigan earned a bachelor’s degree in 1946 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, and was ordained soon afterward.

As the country roiled with the social unrest of the 1960s, Berrigan emerged as a strong intellectual voice of the Catholic “New Left,” articulating an anti-war argument on religious grounds. He founded an interfaith coalition with his younger brother, the Rev. Philip Berrigan, and the group embarked on a career of radical activism and civil disobedience, most famously burning draft records in Catonsville, Maryland, May 17, 1968, an action that earned the group's members terms in federal prison.


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Despite incarceration, the Berrigan brothers continued their social activism, founding the Plowshares Movement, an antinuclear weapons campaign in 1980 that culminated in an infamous raid on the General Electric nuclear missile facility in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. After damaging nuclear warhead nose cones and pouring blood onto documents and files, the group's members were arrested and tried, eventually obtaining parole after 10 years of appeals.

In addition to his religious life and activism, Berrigan was a noted author, publishing over 50 books, including 15 volumes of poetry, one of which, “Time Without Number,” won the prestigious Lamont Poetry Prize in 1957.

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