TRIBUTE TO FATHER ROBERT F. DRINAN

February 5, 2007
Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia:  Mr. Speaker, I thank you for organizing this Special Order so that we could pay appropriate tribute to Father Drinan.

   I rise today to honor the memory of our former colleague, the distinguished gentleman from Massachusetts, Father Robert Drinan. Father Drinan was elected to this body in 1970 on a platform that advocated progressive ideals, basic human rights for all, and ending our involvement in Vietnam.

   During his tenure in the House, Father Drinan was a powerful voice for the poor and disadvantaged; and as a man of faith, he clearly understood morality in its true sense. Just 2 years ago on NBC's ``Meet the Press,'' Father Drinan eloquently stated:

   There's a common core of moral and religious beliefs, and frankly, we are in total violation of that. We are supposed to be good to the poor; we have more poor children in America than any other industrialized nation. We're supposed to love prisoners and help them; we have 2.1 million people in prison, the largest of any country on the Earth. We also allow 11 children to be killed every day. All of the religions are opposed to that. That's violence. Why don't we organize on that?

   Father Drinan spent his life advocating to change these realities. As chairman of the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Father Drinan strived to reform our still broken criminal justice system; and as the new chairman of that subcommittee, I hope to carry on Father Drinan's legacy in that regard.

   Father Drinan's compassion for the disadvantaged did not end with his tenure in Congress. After leaving Congress, Father Drinan continued to advocate for basic

   rights with his service with the International League of Human Rights, the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, the International Labor Rights Fund, and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. He also spent the last 26 years as a law professor at Georgetown University.

   I did not have the personal privilege of serving alongside Father Drinan in this Chamber, but I first encountered Father Drinan's commitment to equality during my senior year in college. At that time, Father Drinan was dean of the Boston College Law School, and he went out of his way to open opportunities for minorities at the law school. This motivated me to apply to Boston College Law School, and today, I am a proud graduate of the class of 1973.

   Mr. Speaker, this evening we pay final tribute to one who dedicated his life to improving the lives of others and making the American Dream accessible to all. A Jesuit priest who, even as a Member of Congress, lived in a small room in the Jesuit community at Georgetown, Father Drinan helped make better the lives of countless millions of Americans of all religious, racial and ethnic backgrounds. Our great Nation will certainly feel the loss of this courageous and compassionate humanitarian.

   I thank you for yielding to me and thank you for the opportunity to pay tribute to Father Drinan.