Catholic Theological Union LogoCatholic Theological UnionLearn@CTUCatholics on CallCatholic Common Ground Initiative

Daniel J. Berrigan, SJ - Doctor of Ministry, honoris causa

May 9, 2016:

In 2005,  Daniel J. Berrrigan, S.J., was awarded the title of Doctor of Ministry, honoris causa, from Catholic Theological Union. The following is text from the citation presented to Fr. Berrigan by CTU President Donald Senior, C.P.

“I have heard that the spirit of God is in you, that you possess brilliant knowledge and extraordinary wisdom” (Dan 5:14).  With these words, the king of Babylon sought the aid of the prophet Daniel in interpreting the threatening words that appeared on the wall of the palace, a message that outlined the political future of the land.  For almost fifty years, Daniel J. Berrigan, S.J. has been reading ‘the writing on the wall,’ urging both the leaders and the populace of the United States to desist in their penchant for war and to commit themselves to practices of peace.

Daniel Berrigan is first and foremost a poet. Even the prose he writes has the flavor of poetry.  It is as a poet that he became and continues to be a social activist.  It is with the eye of a poet that he sees beneath the surface of events and critiques these events with the passion of a prophet.  His political activist brother Philip, the social reformer Dorothy Day, and the contemplative writer Thomas Merton all played active roles in shaping his consciousness, and he played a comparable role in shaping theirs.  Such influences only sharpened his identity as a Jesuit, an identity that flows from the rigor of the Spiritual Exercises and the Ignatian spiritual tradition of which he is so proud.

This is a man of peace and love.  One who time and again placed his own freedom in jeopardy in order to stand non-violently against military conflict.  Imprisoned for the radical stand he took against the Vietnam War, he stated, “We could not, so help us God, do otherwise.” His efforts at peace have not been lost on the countless individuals who have been inspired by his integrity and transformed by his witness.  He continues to influence people in this way through his writing, particularly the poetic prose versions of various biblical books.

He exemplifies in his life many of the values and concerns that constitute the spirit of Catholic Theological Union, a commitment to peace and non-violence, a concern for the marginal and vulnerable of society, and openness to women and men of all religions and cultures.  For these reasons, the Faculty and the Board of Trustees of Catholic Theological Union are proud to confer upon Daniel J. Berrrigan, S.J., the title Doctor of Ministry, honoris causa.

Given at Chicago, in the State of Illinois
The nineteenth day of May 2005
Reverend Donald Senior, C.P.

Featuring: Daniel J. Berrigan, SJ