The LuLac Edition #142, Jan. 29, 2007
PHOTO INDEX: THE LATE FATHER ROBERT DRINAN WHO SERVED AS A MEMBER OF CONGRESS IN THE 1970s AND WHO CAST FOR A VOTE FOR THE IMPEACHMENT OF RICHARD M. NIXON DURING WATERGATE AND BASEBALL PITCHER CURT SHILLING.
FATHER DRINAN DIES
Father Robert Frederick Drinan, S.J. was a Jesuit Catholic priest lawyer, human rights activist, and a former Democratic U.S. Congressman from Massachusetts. He was also a law professor at Georgetown University Law Center for the last twenty-six years of his life.
Education and legal career
Drinan grew up in Hyde Park, Massachusetts and graduated from Hyde Park High School in 1938. He received a B.A. and an M.A. from Boston College in 1942 and joined the Jesuit Order the same year; he was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1953. He received an L.L.M. and L.L.B. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1950, and a doctorate in theology from Gregorian University in Rome in 1954, in addition to receiving 21 honorary degrees throughout his life. He studied in Florence for two years before returning to Boston, where he was admitted to the bar in 1956. He served as dean of the Boston College Law School from 1956 until 1970, during which time he also taught as a professor of family law and church-state relations. During this period, he was also a visiting professor at other schools including the University of Texas law school, and served on several Massachusetts state commissions convened to study legal issues such as judicial salaries and lawyer conflicts of interest.
Membership in the U.S. House of Representatives
In 1970, Drinan sought a seat in Congress on an anti-war platform, narrowly defeating longtime Representative Philip J. Philbin, who was chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, in the Democratic primary. Drinan won election to the U.S. House of Representatives and was reelected four times, serving from 1971 until 1981. He was the first Roman Catholic priest to serve as a voting member of Congress. He sat on various House committees and was the chair of the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice of the House Judiciary Committee. Drinan was the first to introduce a resolution in Congress calling for the impeachment of President Nixon, though not for the Watergate Scandal that would end Nixon's presidency; Drinan believed Nixon's bombing of Cambodia was illegal. As part of the Judiciary Committee, Drinan played an integral role in the subsequent congressional investigation. He was also a delegate to the 1972 Democratic National Convention.
Drinan's consistent support of abortion rights drew significant opposition from Church leaders throughout his political career, who had also repeatedly requested that he not hold political office in the first place. Drinan attempted to reconcile his position with official Church doctrine by stating that while he was personally opposed to abortion, considering it "virtual infanticide," its legality was a separate issue from its morality. This argument failed to satisfy his critics. In 1980, Pope John Paul II unequivocally demanded that all priests withdraw from electoral politics. Though this was framed as a general order, it seemed to some that Drinan in particular was the target. Drinan complied and did not seek reelection. "'It is just unthinkable,' he said of the idea of renouncing the priesthood to stay in office. 'I am proud and honored to be a priest and a Jesuit. As a person of faith I must believe that there is work for me to do which somehow will be more important than the work I am required to leave."
He continued to be a vocal supporter of abortion rights much to the ire of the Church, and notably spoke out in support of President Clinton's veto of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in 1996.
Drinan was succeeded in Congress by Barney Frank.
SHILLING VS. KERRY?
John Kerry has certainly been taking his lumps lately from the conservative talk show hosts. All of them seem to be using the same misinformation and twisting of words that helped doom his 2004 Presidential effort. Kerry, in a foreign interview said the U.S. has become a "pariah" among foreign nations. Well, the right wing talkies have been kicking that statement around like a sadist kicks a defenseless puppy. The fact is we have no credibility with our foreign allies due to this war in Iraq, the deceitful way we got into it and the on going strategy to keep it going at any cost. We have lost many alliances not because of what John Kerry said but because of what this current administration has done. Yet the radioheads take one word and run with.
Some were sqealing with delight nationally that perhaps BoSox righty Curt Shilling might make a run against Big John in the Bay state. Shilling has opinions, is articulate and would be an attractive candidate. He's a bit of a showboat (this was the guy who attended Richie Ashburn's wake in full uniform which I had no problem with but others thought it self promoting) and can tend to be alienating. However, Shilling put those political rumors to rest when he told the talkies in Beantown that he wants to pitch in 2007 and 2008 so that would technically rule a Senate run out.
Or would it? Maybe Shilling can get a Clemens like deal where he shows up in June and pitches until the end of the Series. That would give him the winter and early spring for the primary and from October to Election Day to campaign. (And if the Sox wins the series, well Curt can sit on a bench outside of Faneuil Hall and sip some Red Bull just waiting for that landslide to coast him into office. And if there is no Series, maybe Kerry and Shilling can debate each other with Shilling showing up in full Sox regailia and Kerry showing up in that nifty wet suit he wore when para sailing. Now that debate might be regarded as a "pariah" to beat all "pariahs".
While former newspaper columnist Steve Corbett surfaced last week on the radio, in today's Times Leader former Radio Talk Show host Fred Williams showed up on the opinion page with a guest column. Williams railed against the evils of Mohegan Sun Gaming Casinos and how gambling will destroy our area. Yeah, just like that blasted old Arena screwed up everyone's life here!