Berrigan statement at Catonsville 9 trial

Some ten or twelve of us (the number is still uncertain)
will, if all goes well (ill?) take our religious bodes
during this week
to a draft center in or near Baltimore
There we shall of purpose and forethought
remove the 1-A files sprinkle them in the public street
with home-made napalm and set them afire
For which act we shall beyond doubt
be placed behind bars for some portion of our natural lives
in consequence of our inability
to live and content in the plagued city
to say “peace peace” when there is no peace
to keep the poor poor
the thirsty and hungry thirsty and hungry
Our apologies good friends
for the fracture of good order the burning of paper
instead of children the angering of the orderlies
in the front parlor of the charnel house
We could not so help us God do otherwise
For we are sick at heart our hearts
give us no rest for thinking of the Land of Burning Children
and for thinking of that other Child of whom
the poet Luke speaks The infant was taken up
in the arms of an old man whose tongue
grew resonant and vatic at the touch of that beauty
And the old man spoke: this child is set
for the fall and rise of many in Israel
a sign that is spoken against
Small consolation a child born to make trouble
and to die for it the First Jew (not the last)
to be subject of a “definitive solution”
And so we stretch out our hands
to our brothers throughout the world
We who are priests to our fellow priests
All of us who act against the law
turn to the poor of the world to the Vietnamese
to the victims to the soldiers who kill and die
for the wrong reasons for no reason at all
because they were so ordered by the authorities
of that public order which is in effect
a massive institutionalized disorder
We say: Killing is disorder
life and gentleness and community and unselfishness
is the only order we recognize
For the sake of that order
we risk our liberty our good name
The time is past when good men may be silent
when obedience
can segregate men from public risk
when the poor can die without defense
How many indeed must die
before our voices are heard
how many must be tortured dislocated
starved maddened?
How long must the world’s resources
be raped in the service of legalized murder?
When at what point will you say no to this war?
We have chosen to say
with the gift of our liberty
if necessary our lives:
the violence stops here
the death stops here
the suppression of the truth stops here
this war stops here
Redeem the times!
The times are inexpressibly evil
Christians pay conscious indeed religious tribute
to Caesar and Mars
by the approval of overkill tactics by brinkmanship
by nuclear liturgies by racism by support of genocide
They embrace their society with all their heart
and abandon the cross
They pay lip service to Christ
and military service to the powers of death
And yet and yet the times are inexhaustibly good
solaced by the courage and hope of many
The truth rules Christ is not forsaken
In a time of death some men
the resisters those who work hardily for social change
those who preach and embrace the truth
such men overcome death
their lives are bathed in the light of the resurrection
the truth has set them free
In the jaws of death
they proclaim their love of the brethren
We think of such men
in the world in our nation in the churches
and the stone in our breast is dissolved
we take heart once more.



About Klassy

How Klassy got her groove back.

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