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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

R.I.P. Father Robert Drinan

Growing up in suburban Boston, Father Robert Drinan was my Congressman. He was also a good friend of my parents, as a result of having been the Dean of Boston College Law School, where my father was one of two Jews in the class of 1956. (My father still has a personal letter that was addressed to my parents, my brother and me - all by name - in which Drinan thanks us for our help in his 1972 Congressional campaign). Drinan was a true friend of Israel, and a classic liberal Congressman - unlike today's pretenders (for those who did not know him, think of a less boisterous version of Ed Koch). He passed away on Monday. The following is from a press release from the American Jewish Committee web site:
The American Jewish Committee mourns the passing of the Rev. Robert Drinan, a respected Jesuit priest, brilliant legal scholar and teacher, effective political leader, and beloved friend of the Jewish people and Israel.

“Robert Drinan was a Righteous Christian of our generation, and I had the joy of working with him for many years,” said Rabbi James Rudin, AJC’s senior interreligious adviser.

“Drinan passionately believed in the promise of the Second Vatican Council and its call for positive Catholic-Jewish relations,” Rudin said.

During his illustrious career, as a priest and later as a member of Congress, he was a cherished ally of the American Jewish Committee on a host of vital issues.

“Drinan was a relentless foe of all forms of anti-Semitism and a life-long supporter of Israel, deeply committed to the Jewish state’s survival and security,” said Rudin.

Drinan was a founder, in 1972, of the National Interreligious Task Force on Soviet Jewry, an international leader in behalf of human rights and religious liberty, and a staunch supporter of the State of Israel. His book, Honor The Promise: America’s Commitment to Israel, is a testament to Catholic understanding of and support for the Jewish state.
Drinan, the only Priest ever to serve as a voting member of Congress, resigned from Congress in 1980 pursuant to a directive from the Pope. He was sorely missed immediately. He was a righteous gentile if I ever heard of one. May his memory be blessed.


At 9:10 AM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...


A friend told me on Monday.

He was also my parents' zt'l US Congressman, and they were Republicans, who voted for this wonderful man with pride.

We were already living in NY when he served, and through my parents, I heard so much about him.

I do not think we will see anyone like him in Government again. His brilliance and integrity were unique. You described him so well.

Now the distict has Barney Frank, IIRC..sad.

We have lost a beloved friend..may his memory be blessed.


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