A letter from Daniel Berrigan to George, Bill O'Connor, Bill Kunstler and Dan Kilfoyle, July 17, 1968
||Cornell University Library
|Date of Digitization:
||Daniel and Philip Berrigan Collection, #4602. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library
||Berrigan, Daniel, 1921-
Cornell Wednesday, July 17
Dear George, Bill (0'Connor) Bill (Kunstler) Dan (Kilfoyle) and all men and women of fire
and blood -
I want, if you can bear with this terrible typewriter, to share with you a few
things from an interview with Harrup Freeman. I went over everything we hashed
out at the N.I. meeting some days ago.
Harrup is in general agreement with the things we came to. I'd like to stress
with George and Bill O'c, the necessity of getting a place nailed down for the
evening 'trial' or forum. H. suggests we get Georgetown to send a few law students
who would conduct the thing as a moot trial. ... If we wanted to think big, it
might be possible to film these proceedings for t.v. use in other cities... Or,
Ithaca just rehashed the Spock trial, with several lawyers and students from the
Law school taking part, for the benefit of the city itself. Could we in some way
hang this into the interest we are trying to create around the case nationally?
If there is a really prestigious list of people show to help us in B'more during
the trial, they would be willing surely, to have their statements available for
others in other places...
H. stressed, as did Bill K., the necessity of many friends being present at the
trial, esp. religious people.
H. sees the following as important issues.
1) 'Religious' rights. This would apply mainly to Phil, Bro. David and myself.
Members of religious orders have special responsibility to resist unjust laws,
giving example to the community. Esp. for the Jesuits, it should be possible to
show that religious life since Ignatius has been geared to public responsibility
and that the 'cloister' concept of holiness is outmoded. There should be theol-
ogians, and esp. Jesuit theologians, to testify to this, and to write on this,
and be able to refer to their writings on these points. The writings of Phil
and myself on this subject should be available. Dan Kilfoyle: - Harrup thinks
this is one of the best contributions we can make to the record, stresses the
importance of Jesuit presence - for character witnesses, for witnesses to the
b) H. would like to see a presentation of the Catholic position in general,
from contemporary point of view. I.e., all the defendants acted out of their
own conscience, informed by a sense of their own tradition. Here it seems to me,
we could draw on lay theologians such as Callahan and Novak, etc., to show that
Catholic Christians belong where we were, doing what we did.. Zahn important
here, also Douglass of U. of Hawaii.
c) the more general 'rights of conscience' theme. Every man obligated to act accord-
ing to conscience. Presumption in favor of this activity during this war; e.g., sense
of the educated lay, professional, religious, academic and even military community,
on illegality a nd immorality of the war.
d) modes of speech (symbolic and actual) and freedom.
Thus far Harrup... I presume by now Paul has been hired and is operating?..
I will be in N.Y. in time for the N.Y. meeting on Mon. night, and will be caught
up on things then. I had the idea of writing Corita asking her to design an in-
vitation to our trial - lots of color and pazaaz, we could send it to everyone on
all our lists... I hope to see Phil on Saturday with others of the family. You may
know that Tom is still in Lewisburg. Harrup is not optimistic either on the bond
appeal or the sentence appeal. I will give Phil a rundown of things, and convey your
love, and bring back whatever news... Will be in Yonkers until August first. After
that, can be reached through Cornell, where I will leave my whereabouts.