Thank you, everyone, for taking the time to be with us today. I want say happy Father’s Day to all you fathers! Thanks for spending part of your day with us.
I’m going to talk briefly about the quote on the t-shirt and why we chose it.
Peter loved and was inspired by Dan Berrigan, the Jesuit priest, poet, and activist, who died a little over a month ago at the age of 95.
As I sat at Dan’s funeral and heard the words of the action statement of the Catonsville 9, I was deeply moved.
The Catonsville 9 were a group of 9 people, including Dan Berrigan, who, in May of 1968, saw the horror and bloodshed of what was happening in Vietnam and at home. Martin Luther King had been assassinated only a month before their action. The group decided to go to a draft board office in Catonsville MD and remove all A-1 draft files, take them out to the parking lot, and burn them with homemade napalm. A bold and courageous act of conscience!
The 9 began their action statement of intent with what’s written on your shirts:
“Our apologies good friends for the fracture of good order the burning of paper instead of children the angering of the orderlies in the front parlor of the charnel house We could not so help us God do otherwise For we are sick at heart our hearts give us no rest for thinking of the Land of Burning Children”
I won’t read all of the statement…you have copies of the statement in your shirts…
But I just want to share one more excerpt:
“All of us who act against the law
turn to the poor of the world to the Vietnamese to the victims to the soldiers who kill and die for the wrong reasons for no reason at all because they were so ordered by the authorities of that public order which is in effect
a massive institutionalized disorder We say: Killing is disorder life and gentleness and community and unselfishness is the only order we recognize for the sake of that order we risk our liberty our good name The time is past when good men may be silent when obedience can segregate men from public risk when the poor can die without defense How many indeed must die before our voices are heard how many must be tortured dislocated starved maddened? How long must the world's resources be raped in the service of legalized murder?When at what point will you say no to this war? We have chosen to say with the gift of our liberty if necessary our lives: the violence stops here the death stops here the suppression of the truth stops here this war stops here Redeem the times!”
When thinking about what I wanted to share today, I thought we should start with a moment of silence for the people who were killed in Orlando last Sunday, but then I remembered that, that’s how we began last year’s trot, with a moment of silence for the victims of the Charleston mass shooting, and it occurred to me that yes we need to mourn the dead, all those precious, precious lives lost, but we don’t need to be silent…and, in fact, our voices need to be heard loud and clear, no mincing words; Stop the violence! Stop the killing!
Right now, in this world, we need to be as bold as the people who took that action in Catonsville, Maryland in 1968.