Shortly, standing before audiences, I discovered something unexpected. The closer my explanation [for the burning of draft files at Catonsville] drew upon biblical instruction and source, the less palatable it became; and this to Catholics. It was as though in so speaking, one was by no means building bridges of understanding. One was putting up a wall, stone by stone, and mortising it tight.
It was quite acceptable to talk “politics.” There was at least a nascent sense that the war was intolerable, granted the American system and its “normal” workings. One gained this small leverage. But the fact that the war might be inconsistent with the words and example of Christ, that killing others was repugnant to the letter and spirit of the Sermon on the Mount — this was too much: it turned living ears to stone.
— Daniel Berrigan, To Dwell in Peace: An Autobiography (via berrigans)
"At the Pentagon we are dealing with the insane, the spiritually insane. We are dealing with irrational power. So we are not only relying on rational means of communication — the leaflets, the conversations — but the a-rational, the symbolic. The symbols are an effort to make death concrete. The generals never see the other end of their decisions. There is a huge gap between decision and consequence. It is horrifying to see human blood in the immaculate corridors of the Pentagon. Nothing is more dismaying to the people responsible for that enormous Greek temple. Suddenly the truth of the situation is in the air, and under your feet, and it is terrifying."
— Daniel Berrigan, in conversation with the Fellowship of Reconciliation, 1980. Protests by antiwar activists including the Berrigans threw protesters’ blood all over the Pentagon as a means of incarnating the violence, of overcoming the alienation that makes it easy for men in suits and quiet mechanic offices to proclaim death on unseen foreigners. (via berrigans)
Every time you read the word “righteous/ness,” replace it with justice:
"The basic issue is well known among translators and commentators. Plato’s Republic, as we all know, is about justice. The Greek noun in Plato’s text that is standardly translated as “justice” is “dikaiosunē”; the adjective standardly translated as “just” is “dikaios.” This same dim-stem occurs around three hundred times in the NT, in a wide variety of grammatical variants.
"To the person who comes to english translations of the NT fresh from reading and translating classical Greek, it comes as a surprise to discover that though some of those occurrences are translated with grammatical variants on our word “just,” the great bulk of dim-stem words are translated with grammatical variants on our word “right.” The noun, for example, is usually translated as “righteousness,” not as “justice.” In English we have the word “just” and its grammatical variants coming from the Latin iustia, and the word “right” and its grammatical variants coming from the Old English recht. Almost all our translators have decided to translate the great bulk of dike stem words in the NT with grammatical variants on the latter—just the opposite of the decision made by most translators of the classical Greek.
“I will give just two examples of the point. The fourth of the beatitudes of Jesus, as recorded in the fifth chapter of Matthew, reads, in the New Revised Standard Version, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” The word translated as “righteousness” is “dikaiosunē.” And the eighth beatitude, in the same translation, reads “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The Greek word translated as “righteousness” is “dikaiosunē” Apparently, the translators were not struck by the oddity of someone being persecuted because he is righteous. My own reading of human affairs is that righteous people are either admired or ignore, not persecuted; people who pursue justice are the ones who get in trouble.”
Nicholas Wolterstorff in Justice: Rights and Wrongs