On Martyrs: Daniel Berrigan

Daniel Berrigan died last week. He is one of a few who, in my opinion, truly lived the Gospels

Psyche and Spirit/Richard B. Patterson PhD

Being a prophet has always been a dangerous profession, largely because a prophet spends his/ her time calling society’s attention to the world’s evils. As such, prophets are persecuted, condemned, and at times thrown into prison. Such a prophet is Father Daniel Berrigan.

Fr. Berrigan is a Jesuit priest who has spent the majority of his 70+ years as a priest challenging Christians in general and his own Church in particular to look closely at harsh realities such as war, poverty, and the death penalty. He has suffered as a result, having been arrested numerous times and having spent time both on the run as a fugitive and in prison.

And yet he has embraced such hardship as the price he pays for living a Christian life. Listen to his words the first time he went to prison: “For the first time, I put on the prison blue jeans and…

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About richp45198

I am a clinical psychologist and have an abiding interest in matters spiritual.
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2 Responses to On Martyrs: Daniel Berrigan

  1. Susan Bass says:

    I am sad that he is gone from the Earth because, Heaven knows we need more people like Father Berrigan. I love what he said about the “wasting disease of normalcy”. As one who has spent so many years wishing to be like normal people, this is gratifying. Loosing him is sad for us but good for him. Fighting for justice for a whole lifetime can be tiring. Now he is able to continue the pursuit on another level where he will never be tired.

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  2. Susan Bass says:

    I have actually known several martyrs though I never aspired to be one myself. I am thinking of a martyr who, like Father Berrigan, is now an angel in heaven. This is a woman named Thelma who was brought to Hawaii as a young girl by the deposed ruler of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos. She was not retained by him and could not return to the Philippines either because she had no family there and no way to make a living in that impoverished country. She obtained a forged “green card” and worked for wealthy people in the United States, cleaning their lovely homes and caring for their children and their elderly. She was turned in by someone and sent to the Federal Detention Center. A deal was offered to her which would have allowed her leniency if she would name the person who gave her the fake work permit. She refused, stating that “he has children”. Three years later she died in the Philippines. Her crime was wanting to work. Her penalty was death. She could have saved herself but she refused to do so in order to protect someone else’s children. That was in addition to all the other children she cared for as a domestic servant. Being a martyr is a dangerous calling, sort of like being a soldier.

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