The article’s title totally caught my attention: DANIEL BERRIGAN, MY DANGEROUS FRIEND.
It was written by James Carroll, an ex-priest and religious critic whose writings appeal to me because they make so much sense.
“I was a twenty-two-year-old seminarian in 1965, struggling to imagine myself in what already seemed the impossible life of the Catholic priest, when I came upon the writing of Daniel Berrigan, a Jesuit poet. Berrigan, who died on Saturday at the age of ninety-four, quickly came to embody for me a new ideal. He testified, in his expansive life, to language itself as an opening to transcendence. What was Creation if not the Word of God, and what were human words if not sacraments of God’s real presence? Writing could be an act of worship. The idea defines me still.”
Carroll’s analysis appeals to me on several levels: as a writer, as a protesting Catholic, as a fan of both Carroll and Daniel Berrigan. Nay—not “fan”—Daniel Berrigan was a hero of mine; and still is. I too was a product of the Jesuits and of the 1960s. Unlike Berrigan, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t go to prison for my beliefs.
So, as a writer, I have created a fictional series-protagonist, Father Gabriel Alphonso Esquivel Garza, who is just as dangerous as Berrigan, maybe more. My Father Garza was placed on The Watch List by parties ranging from Vladimir Putin to the local Washington, D.C. crime boss. Someone moved my fictional hero to The Hit List.
Carroll and Berrigan — what a marvelous concept you shared. Writing as sacrament and prayer.