Fr. Richard McSorley, SJ,
October 2, 1914 – October 17, 2002
Richard McSorley, SJ lead an extraordinary life and became a world renowned peacemaker. He was the second oldest of 15 children. As a Jesuit Scholastic, he, along with other Jesuits, was interred by the Japanese from 1941-1945. As a parish priest in southern Maryland he tried to integrate Catholic parishes in the late 1940-early 1950’s. He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for civil rights in the 1960’s. He taught at Scranton University for several years and at Georgetown University for over 30 years. During his time at Georgetown he founded the Center for Peace Studies, taught courses on the Theology of Peace, actively labored to get the ROTC program removed from the campus, opposed the Vietnam War and advocated for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
Throughout his life he crossed paths with many notable figures, including Catholic Worker co-founders Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, Daniel and Philip Berrigan, Archbishop Dom Helder Camara, the Kennedy’s, as well as a host of other peacemakers worldwide. McSorely founded the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker (DDCW) in Washington, DC, in 1981. A former Pax Christi USA national council member, McSorley was honored in 1992 as a Pax Christi USA “Ambassador of Peace.”
In an article that appeared in the U.S. Catholic Magazine in 1976 titled “It’s a Sin to Build a Nuclear Weapon,” he asserted: “The taproot of violence in our society today is our intent to use nuclear weapons.” And in his landmark book, New Testament Basis of Peacemaking, (Herald Press, 1979, 1985) he declared: “We cannot seriously imagine Jesus pushing the button to launch a nuclear bomb, or registering for the draft, or wearing the uniform of any national state, or paying taxes for nuclear weapons, or working in a plant that manufactures weapons of death.”
Bill O’Donnell, Host & Producer of Spirituality TV, Santa Fe, NM, interviewed Father McSorley about his life’s journey and his call to the priesthood. You can watch this amazing interview at this LINK.
Fr. McSorley dedicated his life to making the Gospel of Nonviolence a reality. His legacy of peacemaking continues to inspire many! In this time of great peril, we can take inspiration from this great peacemaker and how he embodied Jesus’ beatitude: “Blessed are the Peacemakers.” Deo Gratias for Fr. Richard McSorley! Fr. McSorley, pray for us! Fr. Richard McSorely – PRESENTE!