WORCESTER -- The Rev. Daniel Berrigan a legend for his pacifist activities, spoke of a correlation between the Book of Lamentations in the Bible and the crisis after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Rev. Berrigan's lecture last night at Saint Joseph Memorial Chapel, at the College of the Holy Cross, opened this weekend's symposium titled, The Anatomy of Evil.
Rev. Berrigan, 80, a Jesuit, who was the college's commencement speaker in 1973, said in his lecture that the correlation is that the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon are the symbols of idolatry, the sin in Jerusalem of Jeremiah.
Rev. Berrigan said that the Trade Center and the Pentagon signified world domination, monetarily and militarily, respectively.
Such worship has exacted a horrendous price, for generations, he said, reading the text of his lecture. And always (until a day now seared in memory), the price was paid by others than ourselves.
More than 100 people listened to Rev. Berrigan's lecture, Lamentations and Losses: From New York to Kabul.
Daniel Berrigan, SJ, being arrested at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.
Rev. Berrigan said that like the city walls and the Temple that fell in Jerusalem, the mighty towers were toppled in the self-proclaimed capital of the world.
The ruin we have wantonly sown abroad, has turned about and struck home, he said.
He criticized the Bush administration for isolating the United States in the world stage. He said the administration has rejected the Kyoto Treaty on global warming and had rejected the agreement to regulate the trade of small arms.
The symposium, which will run through tomorrow, focuses on horrific events of the 20th century and malevolent deeds that have sharpened the sense of how evil looms worldwide. The symposium will also feature Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of the left-wing Jewish magazine, Tikkun, as a keynote speaker today at 2 p.m.
The conference will also showcase artwork by Tom Lewis, an artist-peace activist, in the Rehm Library of Smith Hall.
Rev. Berrigan and his brother Philip, a former priest, and Mr. Lewis have a long history together.
The Berrigans and Mr. Lewis were part of the Baltimore Four and the Catonsville Nine, which were 1960s nonviolent protests against the Vietnam War.
Rev. Berrigan was sentenced to three years in prison for the destruction of draft records in Maryland. He eventually served 18 months of the sentence in a federal correctional facility in Danbury, Conn.
His strong view of pacifism was met with some skepticism by a member of the audience.
A man asked whether Rev. Berrigan is failing to recognize history behind some of the incidents that have occurred, including the terrorist attacks, the violence in the Middle East and the violation of trust by priests.
You are a rigorous pacifist, the man said. Can you deal with the crisis we face from the point of view of a pacifist?
Rev. Berrigan, trying to bring levity, said: Pacifism works. It didn't seem to go too well for Jesus. ... This is a way of life, a way of being in the world.
The conference will continue today from 9 a.m. 6 p.m., with a reception and dinner tonight. A performance of William Shakespeare's, The Tempest, will take place at 8 p.m. in the Fenwick Theatre.
The conference will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow. It is sponsored by Holy Cross Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture.
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