US & Canada

US anti-Vietnam war priest Daniel Berrigan dies aged 94

Daniel Berrigan in February 1981 Image copyright AP
Image caption Fr Berrigan protested against most conflicts involving the US over the last 50 years

The American priest and poet Daniel Berrigan - famous for leading defiant protests against the Vietnam War - has died in New York aged 94.

Father Berrigan emerged as a radical Catholic voice against the war in the 1960s and won fame when he and his younger brother seized draft records of troops about to be deployed in Vietnam.

The pair and other Catholics burned the files in rubbish bins.

The brothers were convicted of destroying government property.

But when they were due to be sentenced they went into hiding before eventually being arrested.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Fr Berrigan (right) was described as an intellectual star of the Roman Catholic "new left"

Released from prison in 1972 the left-leaning Fr Berrigan continued his peace activism until in his 80s, founding the anti-nuclear weapons Plowshares Movement in 1980.

Fr Berrigan also protested against the Gulf War, the Kosovo War, the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and abortion.

He was even reported to have taken part aged 92 in the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York's Zuccotti Park.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Fr Berrigan wanted his gravestone to read: "It was never dull"

The priest was born into a German-Irish Catholic family in Minnesota and joined the Jesuit order in 1939, becoming ordained in 1952.

He authored more than 50 books, with his first volume of poetry, Time Without Number, winning the Lamont Prize in 1957. He also wrote a play, The Trial of the Catonsville Nine.

Fr Berrigan in the 1960s became an intellectual star of the Roman Catholic "new left", The New York Times reports.

The paper says he argued that racism and poverty, militarism and capitalist greed were all interconnected and part of an unjust society.

Asked in a magazine interview for an inscription for his gravestone, Fr Berrigan said: "It was never dull. Alleluia."