Thursday, June 27, 2024

Fr Paul Mayer

Paul Mayer (1931–2013) was a German-born American peace activist. Mayer is best remembered as a leading radical pacifist of the 1960s and early 1970s, taking part in acts of civil disobedience in an effort to speed an end to the Vietnam War.

Paul Michael Mayer was born in Frankfurt, Germany to Ernst and Bertha Mayer, German Jews. His father was a concert violinist who made ends meet working as his salesman, while his mother worked as a nurse.

Following the rise to power of Hitler and his Nazi party, Mayer and his younger brother were expelled from school by government edict, contributing to his parents' decision to emigrate to the United States in 1938. He spent a year living in an orphanage before his parents were financially able to obtain an apartment for the family in New York City.

Mayer converted from Judaism to Catholicism in 1947, at the age of 16, drawn to the church, he later recalled, by an "adolescent drive to belong." Aspiring to become a priest, Mayer joined a Benedictine monastery, where he lived for 18 years.

Mayer was deeply affected by liberation theology in the Catholic church, with its emphasis upon aiding the poor by battling unjust economic, political, and social conditions.

During his last years Mayer became involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement, expressing an affinity for its radical political ideology and anti-poverty efforts.


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