Father Drinan: Exeunt Omnes


Catholic Priest turned anti-war Congressman Robert Drinan is dead, and the Politico's Andrew Glass has the obit.

In 1970, in the midst of the Vietnam War, Drinan sought a seat in Congress on an anti-war platform. In the Democratic primary, he narrowly defeated Rep. Philip J. Philbin, D-Mass, a 14-term incumbent, who at the time was serving as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, in the Democratic primary.

Drinan was subsequently reelected to the House from his Massachusetts district four times, serving from 1971 until 1981. In 1973, Drinan introduced a resolution in Congress calling for the impeachment of President Nixon, although not for the Watergate scandal that would eventually end Nixon's presidency. Rather, Drinan believed Nixon's secret bombing of Cambodia violated his oath of office. His strong anti-administration stands soon earned him a place on the Nixon "enemies list."

Drinan also broke with the Catholic church over abortion rights (he supported them), which in retrospect seems like a sign of Democratic politics to come. He retired under duress in 1980, after Pope John Paul II prohibited priests from seeking elective office. In the list of "ways to end a congressional career," this ranks somewhere between "died defusing a bomb in a nursery" and "was Mark Foley." So Congress's first priest retired and was replaced by Congress' first out of the closet gay man. Funny how these things work.