Rev. Robert Drinan, S.J. has died at the age of 86. For 10 years, from1970 to 1980, he was my congressman. He came to Congress as an opponent of the Vietnam War. Having been dean of Boston College Law School--an institution that he did much to improve--Father Drinan was put on the House Judiciary Committee, and on the special House Committee that considered whether to impeach President Nixon. I met with him in his district office in 1973 or '74. He was very pleasant, and probably the most honest politician I have ever met. I've known some politicians who would not lie--or whom I thought would not lie--but who might not tell you something they thought you didn't want to know. Drinan would. We discussed how the Massachusetts delegation would vote on impeachment (Massachusetts actually had a couple of Republic congressmen then). Of one old-line Democrat who shall remain nameless (not the least because I can't recall the name), Drinan said something like, "He's a good old duffer. He'll vote the right way when the time comes." And then, "I probably shouldn't have said that." But he was a compulsive truth-teller.
Drinan left Congress in 1980, after Pope John Paul II decreed that active priests should not serve in elective office. He taught at Georgetown Law School and just a few weeks ago celebrated a special mass in honor of Nancy Pelosi's accession to the speakership.