Letter from Philip Berrigan to Miss Murphy: Nov. 1, 1968
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||Friends of Catonsville Library
|Date of Digitization:
||27 x 21 cm
||Berrigan, Philip, 1923-2002
A copy of a letter written on November 1, 1968 from prison by Philip Berrigan to Miss Mary Murphy (Mary E. Murphy's daughter), in response to her letter.
Fri., Nov. 1
Dear Miss Murphy:
I make haste to answer your letter from Baltimore County
Jail, where yours was forwarded to me. First of all, let
me thank you for it; it was honest, straightforward and
very much to the point.
Though I realize you didn't write me of your work to evoke
admiration or praise, I think you nonetheless deserv it.
More power to you, and the Lord's increase.
Now to the matter at hand. I suppose our difference re-
volve around different views of the war and the kind of
society that can produce it. I fought in Europe during
WWII, had two brothers there. During the present conflict,
another brother served in Vietnam, plus a nephew on his
second hitch with the Marines near the DMZ. Such for the
acquaintace I have with war, first-hand and remote, per-
sonal and family.
We are in a nuclear age, and the chances of avoiding nu-
clear war become less and less. The U.S. is currently the
mightiest nation in history- we have more economic and
military power than all of mankind (the remainder) put
together. I am one of those idealists who feel that re-
sponsibility ought to match power, and I feel that our
own responsibilty has not done this. And because it has-
n't this country loved by both of us, is being torn
apart. At home and abroad.
Where does this responsibility go? It goes to all of us
from President Johnson to you and me. While you attended
the liturgy at St. Gregory's I was next door at St.
Peter's trying to organize the poor against slumlords,
or I was down in Washington talking to Rusk or Rostow,
Or I was on the road speaking at some university. All
unavailing because they (in D.C.) have the power, because
good people everywhere serve them unwittingly, and be-
cause they don't have to change- at home or abroad.
This may be the most brutal war in history - we have lost
over 30,000 young Americans, and by Sen. Kennedy's report,
the S. Vietnamese alone suffer 150,000 casualties a year.
Where does the responsiblity go? Again, to everyone who
is not against this madness, because if one is not against
it, they are for it. They pay their taxes, they elect a
hawk Congress, they send their young men to war.