Remembering Rev. Drinan. (And history.)

While I was eulogizing a horse (sorta) Joel Connelly was remembering Rev. Robert Drinan, the congressman who introduced the first House impeachment resolution against President Richard Nixon back in 1973.

The Rev. Robert Drinan, 86, a Jesuit priest, spent virtually his entire adult life teaching law at Boston College and Georgetown University, and making law for 10 years as a congressman from Massachusetts.

As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Drinan introduced a 1973 resolution to impeach Nixon based on the secret (and illegal) bombing of Cambodia. The panel ultimately picked broader grounds, chiefly abuse of power, to vote overwhelmingly in the summer of 1974 to impeach the 37th president.

Nixon resigned soon after the Judiciary Committee votes. He quit after the Supreme Court-ordered release of a “smoking gun” showing the president conspiring to conceal origins of the Watergate break-in.

Republican Senate leaders, chiefly Sens. Hugh Scott and Barry Goldwater, told Nixon that he could count on no more than 15-20 Senate votes against conviction and removal from office.

The “mad monk,” as Drinan called himself, served five terms in the House, retiring in 1981 after an order from the Vatican forbade priests from serving in elective office.

In remembering Drinan’s service to our nation it is also important to remember that Nixon’s resignation was not simply a matter of Watergate. It was the bombing of Cambodia without congressional authorization that started the ball rolling. President Bush should keep that in mind as he continues his efforts to provoke a confrontation with Iran.


  1. 1

    Mark The Redneck KENNEDY spews:

    Hey GOldy – Let us all know when you get up to $87,000. You know… like Tim.

    You fucking loser…

  2. 2

    Ragnar Danneskold spews:

    You unsurprisingly neglected to mention that Father Drinan totally disregarded the vows he willingly undertook to the Catholic Church.

    He defied his church in becoming a politician. He defied his vows in promoting unrestricted abortion. Most recently he knowingly and willfully defied his church by giving communion to Nancy Pelosi in direct defiance of the Pope.

    A fellow Catholic priest recently said of him …\”Father Robert Drinan, a Jesuit who, more than any other single figure, has been influential in tutoring Catholic politicians on the acceptability of rejecting the Church’s teaching on the defense of innocent human life.\”

    You may admire him simply because he shared your far left ideology, but there is little to admire about someone who freely gave himself to vows and rules he supposedly understood, then purposely spat on them with his actions.
    There is little glory in that.

    May he rest in peace.

  3. 4

    Jenna Bush spews:

    OoooH!! Daddy promised to buy me a Sainthood!! He said the CIA has some really good photos of The Pope doing some bad things.

  4. 5

    Jenna Bush spews:

    Oh, Redneck — you are such a scummy little welsher! Don’t make bets you won’t pay!

  5. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @1 Goldy has raised $2900 from 86 donors (and I’ll bet you’re not one of them, you fucking freeloader). Eyman raised $86,000 from 1 donor. How’s Eyman doing at the ballot box, where it counts, sucker? In a democracy, in the end, it’s not how much money you raised but how many people support you that counts.

  6. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @2 Typical wingfuck — criticizes a priest who loved peace for breaking the rules of a church that for half a century violated the trust of countless families by allowing the abuse of their children — and covering up these crimes. Fuck you, nazi.

  7. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    33 years ago, our nation reaffirmed the rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution by ousting a president who held both in contempt. It’s time to do it again.

  8. 9

    YOS LIB BRO spews:

    You fucking loser…



  9. 10

    Ragnar Danneskold spews:

    Roger Rabbit, that is quite an amazing non sequitur and a completely useless seque to defend a man whose actions were the complete antithesis of his voluntarily avowed commitments. The wrongs of others do not serve to make HIS public and purposeful wrongs, somehow commendable.

    I repeat, You may admire him simply because he shared your far left ideology, but there is little to admire about someone who freely gave himself to vows and rules he supposedly understood, then purposely spat on them with his actions.
    There is little glory in that.

    May he rest in peace.

  10. 11


    Deciding that you have a higher loyalty to the God that the church seeks to serve (the ultimate essence of Love, Justice and Truth) is not the same as spitting on your vows.

    One of the most inspiring aspects of the Jesuit order generally is an inclination to look beyond form to substance, to eschew idol worship in the sense of subjegation to institutions, texts and received traditions.

  11. 12

    Ragnar Danneskold spews:

    Had Father Drinan decided a \”higher loyalty\” took precedent over his vows then he should have recused himself for the priesthood to follow it. The very FIRST vow he took (and broke) is the vow of OBEDIENCE.

    A priest does not get to make his own rules to follow.
    One of the biggest problems with the Jesuit order is that they are under the mistaken impression they may march to their own drummer, particularly in their university settings. I applaud Pope Benedict in his warning to them that should they decide to continue to ignore their vows of obedience to the church, its core beliefs and teachings he will consider a decision to strip their universites, and other Catholic colleges, of their affiliation with the Catholic Church. Prior to his elevation to the papacy he strongly suggested that perhaps the church needs a smaller, more dedicated congregation of people following its tenets than the large one it is now of people each choosing their individual \”higher loyalty\” over those of the church.

    In his document, \”Dominus Jesus\”, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger condemned Catholics who choose the teachings they like and has spoken of cutting down the church bureaucracy and free universities and hospitals that are Catholic in name only. He has explained it this way: \”Maybe we are facing a new and different kind of epoch in the church\’s history, where Christianity will again be characterized more by the mustard seed, where it will exist in small, seemingly insignificant groups that nonetheless live an intense struggle against evil and bring good into the world — that let God in.\”
    The standard argument is that Benedict \”wants a more fervent, orthodox, evangelical church — even if it drives people away,\” as a New Yorker headline put it shorly after he ascended to the papacy..

    You can read Dominus Jesus for yourself.

  12. 13

    John Barelli spews:

    Ragnar at 4:32 PM:

    Did Father Drinian break his vow of obedience?

    Obedience in the case of Roman Catholic Priestly vows does not appear to mean simply doing whatever the Bishop tells you. Like most things in real life, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

    Here’s a quote from the Archdiocese of Boston’s website ( ) that explains it far better than this old Methodist could manage:

    “Obedience has its origins in the Latin word, obedire that means to listen. We are all called to listen to the Word of God and to develop a rich prayer life, which cultivates a listening heart where we come to know what is truly God’s will for us. In living the vow of obedience we do not give up our intelligence, preferences, personality or responsibility. Rather, obedience calls religious to really listen to God, to one’s deepest stirrings, to the members of their community and not just to do what one wants to do. Yes, obedience calls religious to poverty of spirit and emptiness. The challenge of living the vow of obedience comes in hearing something that really may seem impossible for us to live out. Our abiding faith in the grace of God helps us to be flexible and adaptable in living the vow of Obedience”

    We can debate his politics, and we will probably disagree with each other, but apparently the Roman Catholic Church did not see fit to make the claim that he had violated his vows while he was alive, so I wonder why you feel a need to make the claim now, when he can no longer defend himself.

  13. 14

    Ragnar Danneskold spews:

    You made a valiant attempt at bait and switch John.

    The arguement made by Valerie was that Father Drinan decided for himself the he would answer to a \”higher loyalty\”, to which I responded he broke his vows in doing so.

    Let me try to reduce it down to a form you might recognize.

    You have a 10 year old son who adores his dad above all and vows, \’dad, I promise never to use drugs\’.

    Fast forward to the same son, now a rebellious and high 15yr old, who decides for himself he no longer has to answer dear old dad.

    Your son broke his vow.
    Drinon broke his.
    Your son is a minor and still under your rule.
    Drinon was still a priest and still under the rule of the church.
    Your son decided he would answer to the \’authority\’ of his choosing rather than honor his obligation to his family.
    Drinon did the same.
    Do you blithely excuse your son for throwing your family rules in your face?
    Are you standing up praising his contrary behavior?
    Are you celebrating the behavior you know is wrong for him, for your family?

    I stand by and gladly repeat what I said earlier, because as we all know, had this priest taken as strident a role against the values the left stands for, he would have been excoriated at least or ignored at best.

    You may ONLY admire him simply because he shared your far left ideology, but there is little to admire about someone who freely gave himself to vows and rules he supposedly understood, then purposely spat on them with his actions.
    There is little glory in that.

    May he rest in peace.

  14. 15

    John Barelli spews:

    Mr. Danneskold:

    Hmmm. Once again, someone argues from their original point, not bothering to read the reference.

    And, in this case, it really is the pertinant reference. It came from a Roman Catholic Archbishop’s website, designed for people that are considering the Priesthood and have questions about the vows.

    Honestly, before this article, I had only vague ideas about who this person was. I had heard the name somewhere, but I could not have told you why.

    Apparently the vow is of obedience to God, not to the immediate authority of Bishops or particular teachings. I make no claim that I am an expert in the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church (I’m a Methodist) but I would assume that the Archbishop of Boston is an expert, so I’m willing to take his word on the matter.

    Of course, if you are a Roman Catholic Bishop yourself, I will be very interested to hear your views on the matter, and we could have a wonderful conversation regarding doctrinal differences between the Roman Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church. In that case, please contact me off-board. I advertise here, so I’m pretty easy to contact.

    But, assuming that you are not a Roman Catholic Bishop, I will continue to take my understanding of Priestly vows, including the vow of obedience, from the source I have found.

  15. 16

    Ragnar Danneskold spews:

    Yes obedience to God is paramount, but what you are conveniently missing is the Catholic Church believes, and lives the belief, that the Pope, named as successor to Peter by Jesus, son of God, solely represents God\’s word to His people. Those beneath the Pope in the heirarchy of the Church are required to follow his lead, not trod down their own paths, as Fr Drinan did, as did/does the Archbishop you referenced. I would be interested to know whether that was actually authored/authorized by Seán Patrick Cardinal O\’Malley, or by his disgraced predecessor. My thought about the political machinations within the church amongst those that aspire to rise in the heirarchy of the church are for another day.

    Had you read the Dominus Jesus referenced above, you would have come across this section:

    \”The Catholic faithful are required to profess that there is an historical continuity — rooted in the apostolic succession53 — between the Church founded by Christ and the Catholic Church: “This is the single Church of Christ… which our Saviour, after his resurrection, entrusted to Peter\’s pastoral care (cf. Jn 21:17), commissioning him and the other Apostles to extend and rule her (cf. Mt 28:18ff.), erected for all ages as ‘the pillar and mainstay of the truth\’ (1 Tim 3:15). This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in [subsistit in] the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him”.54\”

    \”The Christian faithful are therefore not permitted to imagine that the Church of Christ is nothing more than a collection — divided, yet in some way one — of Churches and ecclesial communities; nor are they free to hold that today the Church of Christ nowhere really exists, and must be considered only as a goal which all Churches and ecclesial communities must strive to reach”.64 \”

    \”The lack of unity among Christians is certainly a wound for the Church; not in the sense that she is deprived of her unity, but “in that it hinders the complete fulfilment of her universality in history”.67\”

  16. 17


    Mr. Danneskold:

    While there is much in the Dominus Jesus that I, as a United Methodist, may take exception to, we will leave that for another day. (Yes, I did read it.)

    First, I will make the obvious point, which is that while the Dominus Jesus is an important opinion paper written by a knowledgeable and intelligent Cardinal, it is not, as far as I understand, a Papal command.

    Correct me if I am wrong about this, but my understanding is that the Roman Catholic Church considers Cardinal Ratzinger to be almost a separate person from Pope Benedict XVI, and does not consider his writings from the time prior to his election as Pope to carry the weight of Papal inerrancy.

    As to your apparent disagreement with the Archbishop of Boston, I will, however, happily use a statement from the Dominus Jesus.

    ‘governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him” (emphasis added)

    It appears that the Archbishop is one of the people appointed by God to run the Church. If the Pope and the other Bishops have problems with anything that The Most Reverend Seán Patrick O’Malley, OFM Cap, Archbishop of Boston has to say, I’m sure that they will take it up with him. It is, as we said in the Navy, far above my paygrade, and unless you happen to be a Roman Catholic Bishop, it’s above yours as well.

    On the immediate topic of whether Father Drinan was in violation of his vows, I would point out that those same Bishops had a responsibility to determine if Father Drinan was in violation of those vows. They made no such determination, and as a layman, not to mention a Protestant, I’m not in a position to dispute their judgment.

    On a side note. I have really enjoyed this little debate. It has required me to actually do some research and reasoning, unlike so many here. There have been occasions where (like here) there was a viable opposing viewpoint that I could see, but none of our resident neo-cons had given enough thought to actually make the argument. More than once I’ve been tempted to take another screen name and argue both sides of a topic, but my writing style is such that I’d never get away with it, and I have a personal conviction that I should put my name to my posts.

    Please, stick around and don’t let our more strident types chase you away. This has been way too much fun.

  17. 18

    Ragnar Danneskold spews:

    Yes and the key words are in communion WITH him.

    And the writings carried the full weight of Pope John Paul and continue to carry them as Pope Benedict

    \”The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the Audience of June 16, 2000, granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with sure knowledge and by his apostolic authority, ratified and confirmed this Declaration, adopted in Plenary Session and ordered its publication.

    Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, August 6, 2000, the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.\”

    Joseph Card. Ratzinger

    Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B.
    Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli

  18. 19


    An interesting contention, that some (many?) of the current Roman Catholic Bishops are not “in communion” with the Pope. (I note that he has not yet made that determination.)

    If this is so, then the next few years will be very interesting for the Roman Catholic Church, as Pope Benedict may find in necessary to remove quite a few Bishops. The Roman Catholic Church may shrink dramatically in the near future, with many Catholics finding themselves joining other denominations, or even leaving the Church altogether.

    While I personally would consider this a tragedy (I may not be Roman Catholic, but as they are fellow Christians, I certainly hope and pray for their success) that may be what their consciences require, and is a point that is addressed in the Dominus Jesus.

    Still, as a United Methodist, my only option here is to pray for them, just as I have during some of their other recent problems. Should they feel the need to leave the Roman Catholic Church, or should the Roman Catholic Church decide that they cannot continue as members, they are welcome to worship with us.

    While I’m always happy to see new members, this isn’t the way I’d like to get them.