Posts Tagged ‘peace activist’
Jesuit Father Jack Morris is 84 years old and can no longer walk. But thirty years ago he led a group that walked across the U.S. as part of the Bethlehem Peace Pilgrimage to raise awareness about the nuclear arms race. Later that year the group flew to Ireland to continue the pilgrimage, ending in Bethlehem.
Now Fr. Morris, who is celebrating his 50th year as a priest, is working on his memoirs in the infirmary at the Jesuit House at Gonzaga University. He sees a country as dedicated to war as ever.
“I think we’re making progress toward doing ourselves in,” Fr. Morris told The Spokesman-Review.
Fr. Morris’ driving question is: “How do we put peace into the center of church thinking?”
“If the church spent as much time on peace issues as it does on birth control and abortion, we could have peace,” he said.
In the 1970s, Fr. Morris became drawn to the peace protesters who had gathered around the Trident nuclear submarine base in Bangor, Wash. He developed the idea of a pilgrimage and found about a dozen others who were willing to give it a try.
The group set off on April 9, 1982, with walkers ranging in age from 20 to 67. They walked about 20 miles a day, slept where they could, ate simple food and gave presentations on peace. They walked to Washington, D.C., and then flew to Ireland to conclude the walk.
They arrived in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, 1983, and everyone who started the pilgrimage finished.
“I was glad we were there and we were done,” Fr. Morris said. “I was tired of walking.”
Read more about Fr. Morris at The Spokesman-Review.
Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan is no ordinary Catholic priest. In 1970, he was one of the FBI’s 10 most wanted. Ten years later, he hammered on nuclear missile nose cones at a General Electric manufacturing plant—a symbolic act of “beating swords into plowshares” that eventually earned him a two-year prison sentence.
These weren’t just youthful acts of rebellion; Fr. Berrigan’s faith-based nonviolent demonstrations have continued into his “retirement years.” As an 80-something, the Jesuit priest was handcuffed for protesting the U.S. detention prison at Guantanamo Bay. In the periods between nonviolent civil disobedience and prison sentences, Berrigan has explored the deep faith that fuels his peace efforts in more than 50 books, including several collections of poetry. He has also taught university students, led spiritual retreats, and volunteered with AIDS and cancer patients.
Sojourners traveled to New York to meet with the legendary activist, now 88, who now lives in the Kairos peace community in Manhattan. They asked Berrigan to share his reflections on community, activism and art. You can read their Q&A with Fr. Berrigan here.