[Hpn] Antiwar activist Philip Berrigan dies
Sun, 8 Dec 2002 00:17:30 -0800
Antiwar activist Philip Berrigan dies
Saturday, December 7, 2002 Posted: 10:40 AM EST (1540 GMT)
BALTIMORE, Maryland (AP) -- Philip Berrigan, the former priest whose fight
against the Vietnam War and nuclear weapons helped ignite a generation of
antiwar dissent, died Friday night of cancer. He was 79.
Berrigan's family said he was diagnosed with cancer two months ago and
decided to stop chemotherapy last month. He died at Jonah House, the
communal residence for pacifists that he founded.
His brother, the Rev. Daniel Berrigan, officiated over last rites ceremonies
November 30, attended by friends and peace activists, family members said.
Berrigan led the "Catonsville 9," a group that staged one of the most
dramatic protests of the 1960s. The group, including Daniel Berrigan, doused
homemade napalm on a small bonfire of draft records in a Catonsville parking
lot on May 17, 1968.
In a statement given to his wife, Elizabeth McAlister, during the
Thanksgiving weekend, Philip Berrigan said:
"I die with the conviction, held since 1968 and Catonsville, that nuclear
weapons are the scourge of the earth; to mine for them, manufacture them,
deploy them, use them, is a curse against God, the human family, and the
Berrigan was born October 5, 1923, and served as an artillery officer in
World War II. He was ordained a Catholic priest in the Josephite Order in
He participated in the civil rights movement in the South. Berrigan's first
public antiwar act was pouring blood on draft files in Baltimore in 1967.
In 1980, Berrigan and seven others poured blood and hammered warheads at a
GE nuclear missile plant in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. That action began
the international Plowshares movement.
I die with the conviction ... that nuclear weapons are the scourge of the
-- Philip Berrigan
Berrigan, who had been arrested at least 100 times and served a total of 11
years in prison for his antiwar and anti-nuclear activities, once said he
had no intention of retiring from his career as a peaceful violator of U.S.
"We can't very well do that because of the state of the world, " he said.
"We're killing ourselves, and some of us are not making a murmur about it."
Berrigan was released from federal prison in Elkton, Ohio, in December 2001
for his most recent Plowshares activities.
Besides his wife and brother, Berrigan is survived by three children: Frida,
Jerry and Kate.
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