Monday, January 29, 2007

The Rev. Robert Drinnan (1920-2007)

The Rev. Robert Drinan, an internationally known human-rights advocate who became the first Roman Catholic priest to serve as a voting member of Congress, has died.

He was 86.

Drinan represented Massachusetts in the U.S. House for 10 years during the turbulent 1970s, and he stepped down only after a worldwide directive from Pope John Paul II barring priests from holding public office.

The Jesuit considered politics a natural extension of his work in public affairs and human rights.

His run for office came a year after he returned from a trip to Vietnam, where he said he discovered that the number of political prisoners being held in South Vietnam was rapidly increasing, contrary to State Department reports. And in a book the next year, he urged the Catholic Church to condemn the war as "morally objectionable."

He ran for Congress on an anti-Vietnam war platform. During his Congressional tenure, Drinan continued to dress in the robes of his clerical order and lived in a simple room in the Jesuit community at Georgetown.

But Drinan wore his liberal views more prominently. He opposed the draft, worked to abolish mandatory retirement and raised eyebrows with his more moderate views on abortion and birth control.

And he became the first member of Congress to call for the impeachment of Richard Nixon -- although the call wasn't related to the Watergate scandal, but what Drinan viewed as the administration's undeclared war against Cambodia.
More here.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Unfortunately, Fr. Drinnan did not support the human rights of the unborn.