UNCOMMON PRAYER: A Book of Psalms by Daniel Berrigan


Email this review


Impassioned, often striking meditations by the patron saint of the Catholic underground. Berrigan, a Jesuit priest who has been in and out of jail for his guerrilla campaign against the Pentagon, paraphrases some 40 psalms in freewheeling verse with prose commentary. Not surprisingly, he fastens on the problem of evil as his central theme. He translates the timeless biblical protest against injustice into a fierce contemporary indictment of political oppression, economic slavery, and nuclear insanity. Berrigan's revolutionary vision and his religious commitment fuse splendidly here. Like the psalmists, he affirms his faith and hope despite an agonizing realization of the power of ""the wicked."" One may question his judgment, in politics or theology, but not his authenticity: it burns right through the page. Although Berrigan has long since proved himself an accomplished poet, much of the poetry in this volume is rather weak, earnest but uninspired. The prose, on the other hand, is compelling, every line of it testifying to painful struggle. Stark, jagged woodcuts by Robert McGovern strongly complement the text. Anyone interested in exploring the Christian Left might well begin with this book.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1978
Publisher: Seabury