Inside Faith with Brother Joseph

If you were put on trial for your faith, would there be enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian?

I’ve heard this adage many times, but never had I met anyone to whom it could be applied. Enter Father Louis. Louis Vitale, a 78-year-old Franciscan priest, is one of the foremost peace advocates in our country. He believes unconditionally in the sacredness of human life, and he is willing to put his body—and at his age, his own life—on the line for his faith. To Louis, being Christ-like means serving the Gospel no matter the cost.

He is a leader of the School of the Americas Watch (SOAW), and has been protesting war and nuclear weapons for decades. Imprisoned hundreds of times for “Trespassing” on Pharaoh’s property, our lives intertwined during his most recent six-month Federal “bid”—this time a SOAW protest at Ft. Benning, Georgia, landed this septuagenarian in the slammer.

However, this outspoken protester is anything but a troublemaker. He is a daily presence of peace, joy, and love, and truly believes in the goodness of the men here. Not for a minute does he resent doing time. Whether he’s breaking boundaries by eating with different races, mixing with men of all faiths, or humbly vacuuming our small chapel, his service oriented life is a beacon of faith no matter where he goes.

The first Christians lived and died to radically alter the world, as Fr. Louis is doing today. In this narcissistic, self-indulgent age, are you willing to sacrifice your life, your freedom, for what you believe?

KEYWORDS: Christian, Franciscan, Louis Vitale, Gospel, School of the Americas, School of the Americas Watch, Ft. Benning, Faith, Peace Inside Faith

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