Daniel Berrigan sought refuge in the home of William Stringfellow, an Episcopalian Priest and civil rights activist who suffered the consequences of being an active participant in the Civil Rights Movement – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – [ William Stringfellow

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

William Stringfellow


Frank William Stringfellow

April 28, 1928

Johnston, Rhode Island, United States


March 2, 1985 (aged 56)

Island, Rhode Island, United States


Christianity (Episcopal Church)


20th-century philosophy


Western philosophy

Frank William Stringfellow (April 26, 1928 – March 2, 1985) was an American lay theologian, lawyer and social activist. He was active mostly during the 1960s and 1970s.


Christianity (Episcopal Church)


20th-century philosophy


Western philosophy

Wiliam Stringfellow (April 26, 1928 – March 2, 1985) was an American lay theologian, lawyer and social activist. He was active mostly during the 1960s and 1970s. … Activism[edit]

His career of activism can be traced to his junior year at Bates, when he organized a sit-in at a local Maine restaurant that refused to serve people of color. It was his first foray into social activism, and he never looked back. Just a few years later, Stringfellow gained a reputation as a strident critic of the social, military and economic policies of the U.S. and as a tireless advocate for racial and social justice. That justice, he declared, could be realized only if it were pursued according to a serious understanding of the Bible and the Christian faith. He was particularly active in the Civil Rights Movement and has spoken extensively about civil disobedience through nonviolence and integration, particularly in an interview with Robert Penn Warren for the book Who Speaks for the Negro?.[1]

As a Christian, he viewed his vocation as a commitment, bestowed upon him in baptism, to a lifelong struggle against the “powers and principalities,” as systemic evil is sometimes called in the New Testament, or “Power of Death.” He proclaimed that being a faithful follower of Jesus means to declare oneself free from all spiritual forces of death and destruction and to submit oneself single-heartedly to the power of life. In contrast to most younger liberal Protestant theologians of his time, Stringfellow insisted on the primacy of the Bible for Christians as they undertook such precarious and inherently dangerous work. This placed him not within the camp of Evangelicalism, but that of neo-orthodoxy, particularly the part of that school influenced by the Swiss Reformed theologian Karl Barth, who made a rare compliment to Stringfellow on one of his visits to the U.S. Yet others might classify him as a harbinger of the later liberation theology during the 1970s and 1980s. Although, to be clear, Stringfellow himself was ultimately critical of any self-described political theology that would allow itself to function as a closed ideology.[2] During his lifetime, similar ideas to Stringfellow’s could be found in the writings of the French critic Jacques Ellul.

He made pointed criticisms of theological seminaries: those of the liberal Protestant mainline were theologically shallow, their curriculum and ethos a mixture of “poetic recitations…social analysis, gimmicks, solicitations, sentimentalities, and corn.” On the other hand, he considered fundamentalist/orthodox institutions to isolate themselves from modern society; he commented, “…if they actually took the Bible seriously they would inevitably love the world more readily…because the Word of God is free and active in the world.” These conditions were, he felt, symptomatic of the twin errors of acculturated religious liberalism and authoritarian dogmatism, two options American Christians usually chose from in order to achieve the same goal: domesticating the Gospel and thus blunting its transformative impact on both individuals and the state. Instead of concerning himself with the U.S. academic theological scene, Stringfellow sought an audience of law and business students, especially those who opted to embrace Christian beliefs and all the while fully involved themselves in the world.

A lawyer by profession, Stringfellow’s chief legal interests pertained to constitutional law and due process. He dealt with both every day in Harlem as he represented victimized tenants, accused persons who would otherwise have inadequate counsel in the courts, and impoverished African-Americans who were largely excluded from public services like hospitals and government offices.

Throughout his student days Stringfellow had involved himself in the World Student Christian Federation. He later became deeply immersed in the World Council of Churches, as well as his native denomination, the Episcopal Church (Anglican), where he supported women ordination. Stringfellow was also involved with the Sojourners Community in Washington, D.C. He also harbored at his Block Island home Father Daniel Berrigan, S.J., who went underground after fleeing from Federal authorities for acts of civil disobedience.


Stringfellow’s foremost contribution to theological thought is to see in “images, ideologies, and institutions” the primary contemporary manifestations of the demonic powers and principalities often mentioned in the Bible. This outlook made him categorically suspicious of activities of governments, corporations, and other organizations, including the institutional churches, a viewpoint that placed him at odds with the nearly-ubiquitous “progressive” sentiments of the mid-20th century. In the mid-1960s, he defended Bishop James Pike against charges of heresy lodged against him by his fellow Episcopal bishops, believing them moved more by politics (i.e., appeasement of the denomination’s conservatives such as Southerners and the wealthy) than serious faith.

Recent treatments of his body of work include those by theologian Walter Wink, Bill Wylie-Kellermann and Sharon Delgado, all ordained United Methodist ministers. He has also influenced later Roman Catholics, including John Dear and journalist Nathan Schneider.[3][4]”] –

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – DANIEL BERRIGAN – MILITANT ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST – Jesuit priest, peace activist Daniel Berrigan dies at 94

Published April 30, 2016 Associated Press

This April 9, 1982, file photo shows Daniel Berrigan marching with about 40 others outside of the Riverside Research Center in New York. The Roman Catholic priest and Vietnam war protester, Berrigan has died. He was 94. Michael Benigno, a spokesman for the Jesuits USA Northeast Province, says Berrigan died Saturday, April 30, 2016, at a Jesuit infirmary at Fordham University. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler, File)

File-This April 9, 1982, file photo shows Daniel Berrigan marching with about 40 others outside of the Riverside Research Center in New York. The Roman Catholic priest and Vietnam war protester, Berrigan has died. He was 94. Michael Benigno, a spokesman for the Jesuits USA Northeast Province, says Berrigan died Saturday, April 30, 2016, at a Jesuit infirmary at Fordham University. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler, File)

NEW YORK – The Rev. Daniel Berrigan, a Roman Catholic priest and peace activist who was imprisoned for burning draft files in a protest against the Vietnam War, died Saturday. He was 94.

Berrigan died at Murray-Weigel Hall, a Jesuit health care community in New York City after a “long illness,” according to Michael Benigno, a spokesman for the Jesuits USA Northeast Province.

e died peacefully,” Benigno said.

Berrigan and his younger brother, the Rev. Philip Berrigan, emerged as leaders of the radical anti-war movement in the 1960s.

The Berrigan brothers entered a draft board in Catonsville, Maryland, on May 17, 1968, with eight other activists and removed records of young men about to be shipped off to Vietnam. The group took the files outside and burned them in garbage cans.

The Catonsville Nine, as they came to be known, were convicted on federal charges accusing them of destroying U.S. property and interfering with the Selective Service Act of 1967. All were sentenced on Nov. 9, 1968 to prison terms ranging from two to 3½ years.

When asked in 2009 by “America,” a national Catholic magazine, whether he had any regrets, Berriganreplied: “I could have done sooner the things I did, like Catonsville.”

Berrigan, a writer and poet, wrote about the courtroom experience in 1970 in a one-act play, “The Trial of the Catonsville Nine,” which was later made into a movie.

Berrigan grew up in Syracuse, New York, with his parents and five brothers. He joined the Jesuit order after high school and taught preparatory school in New Jersey before being ordained a priest in 1952.

As a seminarian, Berrigan wrote poetry. His work captured the attention of an editor at Macmillan who referred the material to poet Marianne Moore. Her endorsement led to the publication of Berrigan’s first book of poetry, “Time Without Number,” which won the Lamont Poetry Prize in 1957.

Berrigan credited Dorothy Day, founder of The Catholic Worker newspaper, with introducing him to the pacifist movement and influencing his thinking about war.

Much later, while visiting Paris in 1963 on a teaching sabbatical from LeMoyne College, Berrigan met French Jesuits who spoke of the dire situation in Indochina. Soon after that, he and his brother founded the Catholic Peace Fellowship, which helped organize protests against U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Berrigan traveled to North Vietnam in 1968 and returned with three American prisoners of war who were being released as a goodwill gesture. He said that while there, he witnessed some of the destruction and suffering caused by the war.

Berrigan was teaching at Cornell University when his brother asked him to join a group of activists for the Catonsville demonstration. Philip Berrigan was at the time awaiting sentencing for a 1967 protest in Baltimore during which demonstrators poured blood on draft records.

“I was blown away by the courage and effrontery, really, of my brother,” Berrigan recalled in a 2006 interview on the Democracy Now radio program.

After the Catonsville case had been unsuccessfully appealed, the Berrigan brothers and three of their co-defendants went underground. Philip Berrigan turned himself in to authorities in April 1969 at a Manhattan church. The FBI arrested Daniel Berrigan four months later at the Rhode Island home of theologian William Stringfellow.

Berrigan said in an interview that he became a fugitive to draw more attention to the anti-war movement.

The Berrigan brothers were sent to the federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut. Daniel Berrigan was released in 1972 after serving about two years. His brother served about 2½ years.

The Berrigan brothers continued to be active in the peace movement long after Catonsville. Together, they began the Plowshares Movement, an anti-nuclear weapons campaign in 1980. Both were arrested that year after entering a General Electric nuclear missile facility in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and damaging nuclear warhead nose cones.

Philip Berrigan died of cancer on Dec. 6, 2002 at the age of 79.

Daniel Berrigan moved into a Jesuit residence in Manhattan in 1975.

In an interview with The Nation magazine on the 40th anniversary of the Catonsville demonstration, Berriganlamented that the activism of the 1960s and early 1970s evaporated with the passage of time.

“The short fuse of the American left is typical of the highs and lows of American emotional life,” he said. “It is very rare to sustain a movement in recognizable form without a spiritual base.”

Berrigan’s writings include “Prison Poems,” published in 1973; “We Die Before We Live: Talking with the Very Ill,” a 1980 book based on his experiences working in a cancer ward; and his autobiography, “To Dwell in Peace,” published in 1980


About Harold L Carter

Bachelor of Science, Columbia University Masters degree, Ohio State University Undergraduate National Officer, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Eastern Asst Vice President, when a student at Columbia University Profile Photograph: Mom & Me, when I was a graduate student
This entry was posted in RELIGIOUS - CHRISTIAN - ROMAN CATHOLIC AND EPISCOPALIAN - CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS OF THE 1960s / 1970s ..., Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s