Robert F. Drinan, SJ
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 1971-1981, franking
The above exhibit is an example of franking, the privilege of free mail for members of congress and certain other government officials. For one ten-year period one Jesuit's signature was as good as a postage stamp. Robert Drinan studied at Boston College and Georgetown University, both Jesuit universities, entered the Jesuits in 1942 and was ordained in 1953. Drinan worked at Boston College Law School from 1956 to 1970 as professor and dean. He ran for Congress, was elected and served from 1971 to 1981 as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Drinan was one of three Catholic priests to serve in Congress. Norbertine Father Robert J. Cornell represented northeast Wisconsin for two terms in the 1970s, and Father Gabriel Richard, a priest of the Society of Saint-Sulpice, represented Michigan as a non-voting delegate in the 1820s before Michigan became a state. After the 1980 order of Pope John Paul II that priests should not hold elective office, Drinan returned to teaching.