“I Want You to Meet This Priest”

Shawn Francis Peters

in The Catonsville Nine

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199827855
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950140 | DOI:
“I Want You to Meet This Priest”

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Tom Lewis was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, on March 17, 1940. His views about war began to evolve after he graduated from Mount Saint Joe in the spring of 1958 and gained some firsthand experience with the military. Lewis never was much of a soldier; his true love always had been art. After completing his active military service obligation, Lewis followed a young artist named Joe Vogelsang to Europe in order to further his training as an artist. As the 1960s progressed, Lewis's attention increasingly turned to the war in Vietnam. The nation's foolhardy approach to foreign policy and the ongoing turmoil in its inner cities resulted, in his view, from the same maladies: unchecked greed and a mounting indifference to injustice. Lewis's opposition to the war intensified after he attended an antinuclear meeting with a friend from CORE named Fred Nass. At the meeting Nass turned to him and said, “I want you to meet this priest.” The suggestion surprised Lewis—he never had encountered a priest who was seriously interested in social justice issues—but he was intrigued when he was introduced to Father Philip Berrigan.

Keywords: Tom Lewis; Vietnam War; activists; Fred Nass; Philip Berrigan

Chapter.  4431 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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