Skip to main content

Buy the Print Edition of Radical Second Things!

Stars of Courage: Fr. Daniel Berrigan

Note: As you can see, ALOT of work was put in to this. There was a pleasant degree of financial support for the first issue of the RST print magazine. In order to do more work like that, we need your support at whatever level you can give. Donating is easy:

The Society of Jesus is a division of the Catholic church developed in 1534 when Ignatius of Loyola, along with Francis Xavier, Peter Faber and other young men gathered together and professed vows of poverty, chastity and obedience to the Pope and devised to seek out the expression of social justice, intellectual pursuit and dialogue. Unlike many previous Christians incarnations, the Jesuits engaged the outer world. There are few religious sects like the Jesuits - there is a dedication to activism that is hard to find anywhere else.

Pope Francis is the first Jesuit pope and so, while liberation theology and elements of Marxism do inform his economic critiques, his more outward demeanor is not a radical departure of Catholic norms but instead a transition to a segment of that faith that never before had power in the Vatican. Latin America was also not the only place where the Jesuits took to social activism. It occurred in the United States as well.

Father Daniel Berrigan was a Jesuit and a Vietnam era activist who fit the mold of many in his generation. He was already almost 50 when the backlash against American involvement in Vietnam came to its height but he took to activism with the ferocity of a young man. He was involved in the Catonsville Nine, a group of Catholic activists who took files nearly 400 files from the draft board in that Maryland town and burned them.

Berrigan's biography boasts a who's who of some of the radicals of his era. He formed a coalition along with the legendary monk Thomas Merton and priest and brother Philip Berrigan against the Vietnam war. He travelled to Vietnam with legendary historian Howard Zinn. His brother was sentenced to six years in prison for an episode much like the Catonsville Nine - in which Philip poured blood on draft letters.

Much like Pope Francis, Berrigan saw the need for church outreach toward the homosexual community, while of course emphasizing family. Berrigan quite literally wrote over 50 books and one of them was an intensive journal on pastoral care in the wake of the outbreak of AIDS entitled Sorrow Built a Bridge: Friendship and AIDS. When speaking on this book and his work, he was not reluctant to criticize his own Catholic Church, saying remarks such as "We deal with very many gay Catholics who have felt terribly hurt and misused by the church. There are some people who want to be reconciled with the church and there are others who have great bitterness. So I try to perform whatever human or religious work that seems called for."

Berrigan remained a commentator in to his late life, eventually dying at 96 in 2016. Berrigan was critical of some elements of the American left, which by the early 2010s was becoming as obsessed with identity and grievance as its right wing counterparts. Berrigan remained lucid as ever and credited this decline in ideas with American life, saying in 2008, "The short fuse of the American left is typical of the highs and lows of American emotional life. It is very rare to sustain a movement in recognizable form without a spiritual base."

Berrigan's life and work was the base of much of the Christian radicalism seen in the 1970s and his life should be seen as an example for future activists. In the United States, he fit in to the context of Vietnam era peace activism but as a Jesuit, he fit with a 500 year long advocacy for social justice. Both Christians following the Jesuit path and Jews seeking Tikkun Olam would be wise to look at his leadership.


Popular posts from this blog

No More Rev

So I was working as a transcribor for Rev for the last four months. I stayed on despite a few very bad ratings. Over the last few weeks, my ratings were on point, regularly getting 5/5 and bringing home 3 figures each week.

I got great ratings this week and then abruptly, tonight, I got this message sent to me: 

Unfortunately, we can no longer keep your transcription specific account open. This is due to your accuracy and quality being below our acceptable average. Your transcription account is being deactivated today. If you have any other account type with us, that will remain open. This decision is final.
You will be compensated for all completed work. Here are your performance metrics for August 6 to October 5.
So, given that message, I would assume that it's time to school my self-esteem, right? I'm obviously not fit for this line of work. Well not quite. Look at the metrics they sent me:
MetricYouRevver TargetRevver+ TargetAccuracy4.34.24.6Formatting4.74.24.6% On-time submiss…

The Nix and the Science of a Great Novel

I recently finished The Nix, a novel by up and coming novelist Nathan Hill, which fits all the standards for a really great novel. Great novels, despite the fluidity of good literature, do tend to follow a formula - a formula that a great artist (and writing is an art) is able to adept to and mold in to his own creation.

A great novel is sweeping. Sweeping or sprawling. These are descriptions you often hear of great books. Benjamin Percy described The Nix as "culturally relevant, politically charged, historically sweeping, sad, full of yearning, sometimes dark, but mostly hilarious." This is something that could also be described with another great American novel, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon, which one critic refered to as a novel with "epic sweep."

Chabon's book swept through roughly three decades - the three protagonists met in the 1930s and only resolved their problems and tensions in the 1950s. Nathan Hill's characters …

Evoke Part Nine: An Art Project By Jordan Denato and Orion Deschamps

RST on Facebook

About Radical Second Things

Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

Eva Gnostiquette is an artist, programmer, "future scientist," bi-trans girl and graphic designer. She voluntarily helped to create the first print issue Radical Second Things and designed our beautiful banners. Thanks so much, Eva!

Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

© 2017 Radical Second Things