Drinan, Catholic priest and member of Congress, dies

First Catholic voting member of Congress
Robert F. Drinan, the first Catholic priest elected as a voting member of Congress after his opposition to the Vietnam War drew him into politics, was remembered fondly in death by fellow Jesuit educators and human rights advocates.

Representing Massachusetts as a Democrat for a decade starting in 1971, Drinan stepped down only after a blanket directive issued by Pope John Paul II prohibited priests from holding political office.

Drinan, who was 86, died January 28 in a Washington hospital. He suffered congestive heart failure and pneumonia in the 10 days before his death, said John Langan, rector of the Georgetown University Jesuit Community.

“He was a much cherished member of our community, admired for his simplicity of life and his dedication to the cause of justice and enjoyed for his energy and his gift of friendship,” Langan said.


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