Father Daniel Berrigan, Anti-War Activist & Poet, Dies at 94

Web ExclusiveApril 30, 2016

The legendary anti-war priest Father Daniel Berrigan died today at 94. He was a poet, pacifist, educator, social activist, playwright and lifelong resister to what he called "American military imperialism." Along with his late brother, Phil, Dan Berrigan played an instrumental role in inspiring the anti-war and anti-draft movement during the late 1960s as well as the anti-nuclear movement.

In 1968, Father Daniel Berrigan made headlines when he traveled to North Vietnam with Howard Zinn to bring home three U.S. prisoners of war. Later that year he and eight others took 378 draft files from the draft board in Catonsville, MD. Then in the parking lot of the draft board office, the activists set the draft records on fire using homemade napalm to protest the Vietnam War.

In 1970 Father Berrigan spent four months living underground as a fugitive from the FBI.

In the early 1980s Father Berrigan helped launch the international anti-nuclear Plowshares movement when he and seven others poured blood and hammered on warheads at a GE nuclear missile plant in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

Georgetown University theology professor Chester Gillis once said of Father Berrigan: "If you were to identify Catholic prophets in the 20th century, he’d be right there with Dorothy Day or Thomas Merton."

Father Berrigan appeared on Democracy Now! numerous times, most recently in 2006:

Holy Outlaw: Lifelong Peace Activist Father Daniel Berrigan Turns 85

At his 85th birthday celebration, Father Berrigan read one of his famous poems, "Some."

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