Father Schroth misses the point of Father Drinan’s life. Hyphenated Priest Robert Drinan’s Mixed Legacy, COMMONWEAL (April 23, 2010). His life was not about fashioning legacy; it was about the Jesuit credo: to be a man for others. And there is nothing uncertain about his commitment to the credo.
Like Ignatius himself and everyone of us, Father Drinan fell short. Indeed, like most of us in the Church, he did not grasp that decisions must be made against abortion if we embrace Cardinal Bernadin’s moral vision of a consistent ethic of life. It unfairly diminishes a good man and faithful priest, however, if our view of his life dismissively labels Father Drinan as little more than as “a priest out of touch with the church’s teaching”.
Unlike most of us, Father Drinan lived a tireless life for others: for social justice, for the rule of law in a diverse society, for women’s rights at a critical juncture in America, for an end to a horrific and unjust war, and for reconciliation between Catholics and Jews. It unfairly trivializes Father Drinan’s life to label him as a Pied Piper. He was not. Rather, at a time when we had lost Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, Father Drinan was one of a few to step forward in a poisonous political environment and openly question, challenge, and lead.
Once elected to the Congress, Father Drinan was anything but quixotic. He was a critical, authentic, and trusted opponent of the Viet Nam war and our misdirected support for anti-democratic regimes in Latin and South America. He mentored a generation of congressional leaders who have worked for peace and end of American adventurism. He gave it up in commitment to sacred vows taken long ago. Few of us have that courage or commitment.
Father Drinan was a faithful Jesuit. This is all that has to be said.