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St Mark

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Swords into Ploughshares

He was priest, prophet, poet and prisoner.

Anti-war campaigner, with brother Phil

Using homemade napalm to burn draft files.

 

Pounding on nuclear missile, nose cones

With their Nazarene carpenter's hammers.

 

Troublesome, devoted son of the Church

Parents, active socialists, devout Catholics,

French worker-priests gave a "practical

Vision of the church as she should be,"

Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton honed

His solemn conviction that the dignity of

Each human being must always come first.

 

He understood solidarity in struggle, the

Power of turning up and standing there:

The Palestinians' struggle for their land;

The gay community's fight for health care;

The hunger strikers in Northern Ireland;

The pain of a fractured, polluted earth that

Cried in pain for disarmament and restraint.

 

In North Vietnam during the Tet offensive

Gaining release of three American POWs

In his nineties loyally present in New York

For the 'Occupy Wall Street' encampment.

 

Talking the talk in some fifty books of poetry

Essays, journals and scripture commentaries.

 

Walking the walk on FBI's Most Wanted list

Serving a three-year federal prison sentence.

 

Speaking publicly against the Vietnam War,

Rejected by those rightist religious leaders

Who well knew that the war was immoral

But could never find the courage to say so

Mindlessly mawing that God was on their side.

 

Loathed by the liberal left for a seamless robe

Consistent, life-ethic opposing cruel judicial

Killing whether by abortion or by execution.

 

Yours a life so well, so deep, so truly lived 'to

Make your story fit into the story of Jesus;'

 

Splendid peace act of poetry in a brutal world.

 

Pray for us Saint Daniel Berrigan that we too

May 'educate people to goodness in a bad time'.

 

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See also: ICN 2 May 2016 Bruce Kent reflects on life of Fr Daniel Berrigan SJ www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=29980