Faculty grant to spur research on connection of historical radicals

By Amanda Carson
October 23, 2008

Connective research, involving radical Catholicism, has encouraged a Cabrini religious studies professor to explore beyond the college’s implemented curriculum. Dr. Nicholas Rademacher, assistant professor of religion, is one of 11-selected faculty members who received a Cabrini Faculty Grant to further research projects.

Rademacher researched the two anti-activists, Philip and Daniel Berrigan, and has since been connecting them with other historical, radical Catholics. The connecting of historical radicals is the focus of his research. He will present his research to the college’s community at the Cabrini Fall Faculty Forum.

During each academic year, interested professors apply for a Faculty Grant, which will supply funding for research that is separate from professional duties. The beneficial effects of the research to their professional development and Cabrini College community are also examined. “Basically they are chosen because their research is important and will impact Cabrini,” Dr. Melinda A. Harrison, assistant professor of chemistry and a member of the committee, said.

The 2007-2008 academic year resulted in 11 faculty applicants who were all rewarded grants. “They had to work hard,” Harrison said. “It is an honor to do research [that is funded by the grant].”

Through his funding, Rademacher explored Philip and Daniel Berrigan and “how they are connected to previous radical Catholics, like Dorothy Day.” Brothers Philip and Daniel stole federal Selective Service Administration draft records from the Customs House in Baltimore, Md. in 1968. The brothers were both Catholic priests. “They were pretty famous in war for anti-activism,” Rademacher said. Rademacher observes this anti-Vietnam demonstration as being a “natural revolution.”

“It’s clear they see themselves connected to previous generations of Catholic radicals,” Rademacher said. Since connecting the Berrigans to other historical radicals is the focus of Rademacher’s research, he has since related them to Paul Hanly Furfey. Furfey was a Catholic priest known for his ability to convert WWI objectors into sociologists.

The Fall Faculty Forum will be held Thursday, Oct. 30, from 3:15 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. in the Grace Hall Board Room. The forum will highlight four researchers, and will mark the first of two forums and an undergraduate research symposium to occur during the 2008-2009 academic year.

Rademacher’s presentation will consist of an overview of his research, showing the video clip of the Berrigans burning the draft cards and engaging the audience in a discussion over apparent continuity/discontinuity among historical radical Catholics.

As a result of his research, Rademacher is currently attempting to get an article published. Aside from publication, he hopes to communicate to his students that they act out their beliefs of faith and justice. He plans on discussing controversial Catholicism with his students and receiving their feedback. Rademacher also hopes to convey to his students that it is ismportant to recognize that there are specific ways they can put faith into action.”

For Rademacher, however, researching the Berrigans is only the beginning of his project. He has an eventual goal of writing a book and publishing his findings on radical Catholicism. Acknowledging Cabrini’s support Rademacher said, “Obviously, it’s a great honor and a great privilege to know the school supports my research.”

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Amanda Carson

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