Philip Berrigan was Dan's younger brother born in 1923 and he died on December 6, 2002 from cancer.
Phil was a Josephite Priest until he was excommunciated when he married a former nun, Elizabeth McAlister. They had three children.
Phil said "Dan and I went to prison because we believe that Christianity and revolution are synonymous."
I first became aware of Father Berrigan when he and three of his friends walked into the selective service office in Baltimore in October of 1967 and poured a vial of his blood on the selective service records to protest the draft of young American men into the Army to serve in the immoral war in Viet Nam. Following that protest, Phil enlisted the help of his brother, Daniel, a Jesuit priest, into another protest with 7 other people where they went into the selective service office in Catonsville, Maryland removed selective service records, took them into the parking lot and burned them with a Napalm like substance. Both Berrigans were sentenced to over 3 years in a Federal prison for this action.
Phil and Daniel have twice been nominated for the Nobel Peace prize, the fist time in 1973 when they lost to Henry Kissinger of all people, and again in 1998 by Irish laureate, Mairead Maguire, but they didn't win.
"In 2001 at age 78, Philip Berrigan - who had been characterized as a 'terrorist' by half a dozen federal prosecutors and J. Edgar Hoover himself in the previous 30 - odd years- marked a decade spent behind bars for his acts of civil disobedience." Brave Hearts and Rebel Spirits p. 24
In 1980, Phil and his wife, Elizabeth founded Plowshares, an organization opposing nuclear weapons and the U.S. Military-Industrial complex.
Unlike the religious toadies of today and yesterday who supported the government's policy of military aggression, Phil Berrigan stood strong for gospel values of nonviolence and love of one's neighbor. He put his life on the line and suffered immensely for his prophetic voice.
Jesus said, "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Matthew 5:11
As the United States perpetrates another immoral war in Iraq, I wish for the voice of conscience and witness that was Phil Berrigan. Will there be any other prophets to take his place?
May he rest in peace, a peace he richly deserves and did not achieve here on earth.
The mental health of nations like the mental health of individuals involves the practice of virtue and right values. Killing other human beings to resolve conflict and to obtain resources is not healthy for the victims or the perpetrators. Building up arms to coerce others to our will is not in keeping with healthy human relations, and it takes individuals with conscience, wisdom, courage, and determination to promote more mentally healthy policies.
Phil Berrigan saw 58,000 Americans killed in Viet Nam as well as millions of Asians, and for what? He was called a terrorist when he was a prophet. He was reviled and ridiculed when he should have been listened to. He was imprisoned when his intention was to set us free.
Link: Thank You, Philip Berrigan.