words from a radical priest

Dear Friends,

Peace be with you! Just a little update here.

As you may know, I was scheduled in February to give a few church talks on Jesus in Kansas, but the bishops there banned me—“because of my support for women and for peace.” During Holy Week, while I was working on the U.S.-Mexico border, (leaving gallons of water in the desert for the immigrants who cross into the Tucson sector), I heard from the Archbishop of New Mexico that he had removed my priestly faculties—because of my stand against nuclear weapons.

Turns out, he continues to get complaints about me from the pastor, parish and people of Los Alamos. The people who build the nuclear weapons are all devout Christians and Catholics, and do not like being told that this is sinful work, apparently. (By the way: Don’t listen to Obama’s rhetoric; he has poured more money into new nuclear weapons development at Los Alamos and elsewhere than anyone since Reagan. Business is booming at Los Alamos. He is building a state of the art plutonium bomb factory, the CMRR, which the people of Los Alamos are thrilled about.) By not being able to serve as a priest, I think the Jesuits will probably transfer me out of NM, and most of my speaking invitations around the country would be canceled.

I don’t want to move, so I appealed to the archbishop and he said he would give me my faculties back (and allow me to serve as a priest) on condition that I promise never to go to Los Alamos again. This is so absurd! But after talking with Jesuit officials and friends, I’m probably going to agree.

The archbishop said to me–we need nuclear weapons, he is glad we have them, etc. I argued that they are bad for the economy, our health, the environment, that they do not make us more secure, etc.—and even so, I said, we have to help people see that God will protect us, we have to be the people who do what Jesus says and love our enemies, not support preparations to kill them. No, the archbishop said. The church supports the nuclear deterrent, and I do not want you upsetting the church in Los Alamos! How sad.

I’m just writing to share this latest episode with my friends, and ask for your prayers and support as I discern my journey to Peace. Later this year, I will stand trial in Las Vegas on Sept. 14th for last year’s protest at Creech Air Force Base (headquarters of the US drones). My new book is out, “Daniel Berrigan: Essential Writings.” I continue to travel and speak across the country, continue to write my weekly online column for the “National Catholic Reporter,” and try to spend time each month in D.C. with my father who is rapidly declining with dementia. It’s a terrible time for the church and the world, so I know it’s a blessing to be in trouble for speaking out for peace and justice, for trying to defend the Gospel of Jesus and pursue the vision of a new world of nonviolence.

Thanks for all you do for peace and justice, and for your support and friendship. God bless you.

John

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