Father William R. Callahan, an international leader in movements for social justice, peace, and reform of the Roman Catholic Church, died July 5th at Community Hospice Hospital in Washington, DC due to complications from Parkinson’s disease. He was 78.
Callahan, a Jesuit until the early 1990’s, was dedicated to the justice call of the reformist Second Vatican Council [1962-1965] in the Roman Catholic Church. He was best known for his leadership for peace and justice in Central America, especially in Nicaragua, and for his advocacy of gender equality in the Catholic Church, including women’s ordination.
In the 1970s, he became a nationally known speaker on social justice and the spirituality of justice. In 1982, he published Noisy Contemplation: Deep Prayer for Busy People, which is a classic in contemporary spirituality. Deep prayer does not require the silence of a monastery, he said. Ordinary people can pray in the midst of noise and activism. “We are blessed with a merry God; indeed, we are the entertainment,” he said in the book – with a flash of the humor for which he was famous.