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Cradle Rebels Late last week a lawyer for the Baltimore archdiocese won approval for the release on reduced bail of Father Wenderoth and the two other defendants from Baltimore into the custody of their archbishop, Lawrence Cardinal Shehan —an unusual gesture of support for the dissenters by the American church hierarchy. Meanwhile, in the ten-story glass-and-steel federal district court building in downtown Harrisburg, the grand jury continues to hear witnesses. Before the grand jurors are done, they may well hand up further indictments.
However many names are finally thrown into the Government's case, the two Berrigan names will almost surely remain the focus of disturbed attention. Philip is an able political polemicist, a voracious gatherer of facts, who has written well-argued books on racism and war. Daniel is a prizewinning poet, a charismatic provocateur, who became lionized as a modern Pimpernel while the FBI chased him last summer. He eluded authorities for four months, taking shelter with 37 families in twelve cities.
The Berrigans were cradle rebels. Tom Berrigan, their father, was the son of Irish immigrants who had fled rural poverty in Tipperary. He drifted away from the Roman Catholic Church in his teens because it failed to support trade unionism, and he did not return to it until —as a railroad engineer in Minnesota —he married a gentle German girl named Frieda Fromhart. But he stayed radical enough to lose his job for being a militant socialist. When he moved East to Syracuse, N.Y., with his wife and six sons—Thomas Jr., John, James, Jerome, Daniel and Philip—Tom Berrigan helped to organize the city's first electrical workers' union.
Under Frieda's compassionate influence, the home became a haven for Depression drifters down on their luck, but for Tom it was also a feudal castle to be ruled with a shillelagh fist. Philip ascribes his rebelliousness to resentment of his tyrannical father. Daniel traces his to the year when a stingy aunt took over the household while his mother was recovering from tuberculosis. "She actually starved us," he still says in some bewilderment.
Despite such knee-pants resentment of authority, the two elected the priesthood for a career. Daniel went in young, joining the Jesuits at 18 in 1939; he did not visit home again until 1946. Philip enlisted and went to war; in Divine Disobedience, Francine du Plessix Gray's admirable portrait of the Berrigans and other Catholic radicals, a friend characterizes Philip as "an 'exceptionally gifted warrior" who fought in France and Germany and won a second lieutenant's commission. After the war, he finished college at Holy Cross, not far from Daniel, who was at Weston seminary near Boston. In 1950 Philip entered the Society of St. Joseph —the Josephites—an order dedicated to work with Negroes.
Gospel Poverty Ordained, they were still rebels. Nine years after