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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. Edited by James L. Marsh and Anna J. Brown, New York: Fordham University, 2012. Pp. ix + 387. $60.

"And the future" in the title of this exciting collection of essays reveals some of the inner message and focus of the work. The essays look at the life, mission, and meaning of Daniel Berrigan's unwavering commitment to justice and nonviolence and how this may influence the future.

The book has an underlying, unspoken message that the contributions and meaning of Berrigan's life will be seen as a prophetic witness worthy of further study and application. This collection adds to the increasing literature of analysis of Berrigan's work. Many of the authors place him among those he looked to for guidance and insight: Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Mohandas Gandhi, and Martin Luther King. I find it interesting that some of the authors place Berrigan alongside Bernard Lonergan as two Jesuits reaching for the same hope of a better world, if from different angles.

Berrigan is grounded in spirituality, prayer, Scripture, Ignatian spirituality, and the life of the prophets. Each of these elements of his life, work, and passion is revealed repeatedly in multiple ways throughout the book.

Of particular note is the essay by Thomas Jeannot that offers a piquant twist. The article is particularly interesting for questioning Berrigan's definition of civil disobedience by his becoming a fugitive after losing an appeal of the Catonsville Nine verdict. Civil disobedience is connected to the rule of law and accepts the consequences of one's actions. Berrigan's decision to move underground changed that equation and set his action apart from other activists who endorsed and used civil disobedience in their own struggles for justice. That essay is completely different from the others in focus, and offers a challenge to the reader. What was Berrigan's rationale? Was conventional civil disobedience no longer effective?

"And the future" is a call that Berrigan's life has been articulating. The essays are fresh, compelling, and grounded in Berrigan's commitment to the wisdom of Scripture, prayer, and hope. This book could easily become a text for courses on peace and justice, nonviolent movements, or contemporary prophets.


University of San Francisco

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Author:Duffy, Michael
Publication:Theological Studies
Article Type:Book review
Date:Sep 1, 2013
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