Faith, Resistance, and the Future: Daniel Berrigan's Challenge to Catholic Social Thought

Faith, Resistance, and the Future: Daniel Berrigan's Challenge to Catholic Social Thought

Faith, Resistance, and the Future: Daniel Berrigan's Challenge to Catholic Social Thought

Faith, Resistance, and the Future: Daniel Berrigan's Challenge to Catholic Social Thought

Synopsis

The book presents Daniel Berrigan's contribution and challenge to Catholic Social Thought. His contribution lies in his consistent, comprehensive, theoretical, and practical approach to issues of social justice and peace over the last fifty years. His challenge lies in his critique of capitalism, imperialism, and militarism, inviting Catholic activists and thinkers to undertake not just a reformist but a radical critique and alternative to these realities. The aim of this book is, for the first time, to make Berrigan's thought and life available to the academic Catholic community, so that a fruitful interaction takes place. How does this work enlighten and challenge such a community? How can this community enrich and criticize his work?

To these ends, the editors have recruited scholars and thinker-activists already familiar with and sympathetic to Berrigan's work and those who are less so identified. The result is a rich, engaging, and critical treatment of the meaning and impact of his work. What kind of challenge does he present to academic-business-as-usual in Catholic universities? How can the life and work of individual Catholic academics be transformed if such persons took Berrigan's work seriously, theoretically and practically? Do Catholic universities need Berrigan's vision to fulfill more integrally and completely their own mission? Does the self-knowing subject and theorist need to become a radical subject and theorist?

Even though the appeal of academics is important and perhaps primary, because of the range and depth of his work and thought and the power of his writing, there is a larger appeal to the Catholic community and to activists working for social justice and peace. The work has, therefore, not only a theoretical and academic appeal but also a popular and grass roots appeal.

Given the current and on-going US military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, Berrigan's work invites us to think about the justice of such interventions or, given the destructiveness of modern weapons, whether the notion of just war makes any sense. Given the recent crisis on Wall Street, does it make sense any longer to talk about the possibility of a just capitalism? Given the most recent revelations about Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and Bagram, is it not imperative to think about how torture, preventative detention, and extraordinary rendition serve the ends of empire? In light of all of this, doesn't Berrigan's call for a pacific, prophetic community of justice rooted in the Good News of the Gospel make compelling sense?

Excerpt

James L. Marsh and Anna J. Brown

This book has its origins in a conference at the University of Notre Dame in the fall of 2005, under the auspices of the American Catholic Philosophical Association. the conference theme, selected by James Marsh, the president of the association for that year, was “Social Justice: Its Theory and Practice.” To begin the conference, a special panel session was organized on the influence of Daniel Berrigan, sj, on Catholic social thought. All of the papers of the panelists are included in this book as well as Marsh’s presidential address. To preserve the flavor and excitement of the panel, the editors have preserved most of the essays in their initially shorter form.

Two kinds of questions arose in the panel discussion: What kind of challenge, insight, inspiration, and critique does Daniel Berrigan’s life and work offer to Catholic social thought and practice, inside and outside the university? and what can serious academic discussion and critique bring to his thought, that is, how does it test, deepen, and enrich his thought? Almost all of the contributors to this volume have some association with universities in the United States, and slightly fewer with Catholic universities.

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