Father Drinan, Vietnam War Critic, Dies at 86

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Father Robert Drinan

Father Robert Drinan in 2005, during an appearance on Meet the Press. Alex Wong/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Alex Wong/Getty Images

The first Catholic priest to be elected to Congress has died. Father Robert Drinan was a Vietnam War critic and a Jesuit priest who served for 10 years in the U.S. House of Representatives until Pope John Paul II ordered him to choose between Congress or the priesthood.

Drinan, who was 86, died Sunday. A liberal Democrat from Massachusetts, he rode a wave of opposition to the Vietnam War to unseat a 14-term incumbent in 1970.

Melissa Block talks with Clark Ziegler, who worked on Drinan's congressional staff from 1975 until Drinan left Congress in 1980 — first as an intern and finally as his chief of staff. Ziegler is now the executive director of the Massachusetts Housing Partnership.

Remembering Father Robert Drinan

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For 10 years in the 1970s, Father Robert Drinan was a Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts. He left his seat when the Pope ordered priests to leave elected office. Drinan went on to teach law at Georgetown University and write a book about human rights. This interview originally aired on Feb. 4, 1988.

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