Berrigan, Philip F.

Berrigan, Philip F.

(1923–  ) Catholic priest, activist; born in Two Harbors, Minn. He served in three European campaigns in the U.S. Army (1943–46). He was ordained (1955) and was an assistant pastor in Washington, D.C. (1955–56), a parochial high school counselor in New Orleans, La. (1956–63), director of promotion at St. Joseph's Society of the Sacred Heart in New York (1963–64), and an English instructor at Epiphany College, Newburgh, N.Y. Beginning about 1962, he made the peace movement the focus of his life work, first coming to national attention along with his brother Daniel Berrigan (1968) for destroying Vietnam war draft registration files in Catonsville, Md. He was sentenced to three years in prison, but went underground (1970) and was subsequently captured by federal authorities in a Manhattan church (1970). He married Elizabeth McAlister (1969) but did not formally leave the priesthood. The wedding was publicly announced in 1973, the same year he and his wife founded Jonah House—a community committed to a nonviolent approach to fighting the arms race. Operating a house painting company to survive, he published Year One, a newspaper concerned with ongoing resistance to nuclear armament, and conducted the first Plowshare action at the General Electric Plant at King of Prussia, Pa., with his brother Daniel and others (1980). His community staged at least 40 actions at weapons factories and nuclear facilities in the United States, Europe, and Australia and he was indicted over 20 times and served more than six years in prison between 1970–92. He wrote at least five books, including The Time Discipline: The Beatitudes and Nuclear Resistance (with McAlister, 1989).