The Berrigan Letters

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Published for the first time, excerpts from seven decades of letters between the brothers famed for their social activism, civil disobedience, peacemaking efforts, and sharp critiques of American foreign policy.

Not only a valuable academic resource, this book is also a treasure for those devoted to the causes of peacemaking and social justice, revealing insights into the activism of the Berrigans but also profound and moving glimpses of their intense devotion to each other and their unbending faith in the face of great adversity.

While many letters address the issues of war and peace, they also touch on other issues, such as abortion, capital punishment, and politics; on ecclesial issues such as their respective religious orders, prayer, and sacraments; and on their family and personal relationships, including letters sent in the last weeks and months of Philip Berrigan's life.

Daniel Cosacchi is Canisius Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer in the religious studies department at Fairfield University.

Eric Martin is a doctoral student in modern historical theology at Fordham University in New York City. He has taught courses on ethics, environmental ethics, and the religious and political thought of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Book Details

The Berrigan Letters
Personal Correspondence between Daniel and Philip Berrigan
Daniel Cosacchi
Eric Martin
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The Berrigan Letters Table of Contents 145 Kb
This excellent book would be beneficial for the introductory peace and justice studies or introductory theology course at the undergraduate level, as well as Catholic social teaching courses in high school or college. Catholic leaders in academics, in parishes and dioceses, in community organizing, and in advocacy work would also benefit from this powerful narrative approach.
This book is one that will be relished by peace activists, of course, but is also a book that is a must-read for all those deeply in love with life and wondering how, in these profoundly destructive days, to find hope and to respond.
This book tells a relationship, a history, a style of faith and conscience in the world. But it also tells and urges a discipline of time, a discipline of relationship and community, a hand-made discipline of love.
The strength of this collection is its detailed accounting of faithful lives entwined and its intimate look at the deepening of the brothers' bond.
A marvelous accomplishment that will serve as a critical resource for those seeking to understand the Berrigan
brothers, their activism and their times.
Carefully selected to represent significant concerns and private exchanges about the Berrigans' public lives, these letters offer a window into the world of the brothers and their work for social justice inspired by Catholic social teaching, and also a glimpse into their personal lives.... The letters reference their Catholic formation experiences, their commitment to their religious identity, and their relationships with those who influenced them, including Thomas Merton....The personal correspondence of these two men has value for those interested in social justice and the application of Catholic social teaching to 20th-century issues of war and peace.
There already is a literature produced by Daniel Berrigan and writings from Philip, but this is a valuable, strong collection of letters, one in which not only the story of their work and lives but of their souls’ journeys is beautifully told.
A glimpse into the hopes, dreams, and daily lives of two of the greatest peacemakers of the 20th century.
An important, even essential addition to understanding a momentous era in the life of the US Roman Catholic Church and, indeed, the nation.
As one whose own journey has been enriched and inspired by the public witness of the Berrigans, it has been a moving experience, through these letters, to enter into the intimate relationship they shared and to understand the bonds of loyalty, love, and faith that sustained their courageous work for peace and justice.
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