A propos of my piece on ‘activist’ Anglican bishop Dennis Drainville yesterday, Chris Hedges wrote about 92 year old Dan Berrigan speaking to the Occupy Movement in NYC. Dan has always believed that “believing man is political man”, as in polis, (Greek) engaged in the city.Today’s bishops seem to be dis-engaged from life as we know it. They seem to be obsessed with church and not the kingdom,They seem absolutely trapped in the pelvic area. Their absence from the real issuers of the POLIs borders on scandal.They do not seem to “get” that there is something wrong about male celibates pontificating about female bodies is staggeringly sexist—particularly when you condemn the use of condoms. We need a OCCUPY church movement so that the church can move ahead as a real player in history.For this to happen there must be other spokespeople for a clerically dominated institution. Hats off to Dan’ fidelity. Chris Hedges writes:
“This is the only way to bring faith to the public and the public to the faith,” Berrigan said softly as we spoke before the demonstration in the park that was once the epicenter of Occupy Wall Street. “If faith does not touch the lives of others it has no point. Faith always starts with oneself. It means an overriding sense of responsibility for the universe, making sure that universe is left in good hands and the belief that things will finally turn out right if we remain faithful. But I underscore the word ‘faithful.’ This faith was embodied in the Occupy movement from the first day. The official churches remained slow. It is up to us to take the initiative and hope the churches catch up.”
There is one place, Berrigan says, where those who care about justice need to be—in the streets. The folly of electoral politics, the colossal waste of energy invested in the charade of the Wisconsin recall, which once again funneled hopes and passion back into a dead political system and a bankrupt Democratic Party, the failure by large numbers of citizens to carry out mass acts of civil disobedience, will only ensure that we remain hostages to corporate power.
Berrigan believes, as did Martin Luther King, that “the evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and the evils of racism.” And he has dedicated his life to fighting these evils. It is a life worth emulating.