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By 1965, he was in trouble: as one of the members of Clergy Concerned about Viet Nam, he had spoken sympathetically when young Catholic Roger LaPorte burned himself to death in Manhattan to protest the war. Moved by growls from Francis Cardinal Spellman's chancery office, the Jesuits sent Daniel on a trip to Latin America. It was the wrong trip: exposure to social injustices not only deepened his radical attitudes but "converted" the fellow Jesuit who had been sent along as his companion. Within ten weeks, a nationwide protest by Catholic liberals and radicals brought Daniel home.
Philip's career in the Josephites has been no less contentious. He quickly came to feel that his order's treatment of blacks was patronizing, and he preached that the sufferings of blacks had made them superior to whites in wisdom, gentleness and maturity. Once, headed for Jackson, Miss., to court arrest during a bus-terminal sit-in, Philip was called back by his superior, but the Josephites eventually learned to live with his fierce devotion to black dignity. His larger trouble began only after he was transferred North to teach at the Josephite seminary in Newburgh, N.Y.
In conservative Newburgh, he dispatched teams of seminarians into the ghettos to investigate building-code violations. Worse, he had joined Daniel in protesting the 1965 escalation of the Viet Nam War; at one Manhattan rally, Daniel declared that in "such a war man stands outside the blessing of God ... in fact, under his curse." Philip did not improve his reputation in Newburgh when, in an address before a community group, he linked racism and the Viet Nam War. "Is it possible for us to be vicious, brutal, immoral and violent at home and be fair, judicious, beneficent and idealistic abroad?" he asked. Two weeks later he was banished to Baltimore.
There he again worked to build activism in the ghetto. But he also itched for a U.S. national resolve to turn against the war — and for his church to lead that change. Though progressive Catholic journals spoke clearly enough, U.S. bishops remained equivocal: Bishop James P. Shannon (TIME, Feb. 23, 1970) was one of the few prelates to speak out against it publicly. Philip joined other Catholic and Protestant clergy and laymen in picketing and pray-ins at the homes of Dean Rusk and Robert McNamara and at Fort Myers, Va. Then, in October 1967, Philip and three other men poured a mixture of human, calf's and duck's blood on Selective Service files