INTERVIEW: Martin Sheen reflects on life, Catholic faith

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Interview with Martin Sheen, actor, producer, director

by Sr. Camille D’Arienzo

SR. CAMILLE: What follows is a summary of a recent conversation I had with Martin Sheen in May. It was not our first. Fr. Daniel Berrigan brought us together for the first time about 40 years ago. After attending Mass we went for breakfast on Manhattan’s West Side. My cousin Sr. Stella Auricchio, CSJ, was with us, as was Martin’s wife Janet and a man who had just published a book about AIDS, a disease that was new at the time.

We’ve reconnected now and then, at Pax Christi’s sponsored Good Friday Stations of the Cross along 42nd Street and at assorted celebrations. I count myself among his many fans as he takes on interesting roles. One of my favorites was his portrayal of a U.S. president on “The West Wing.” As we have this conversation (in the middle of May) we’re waiting for the playing of “Grace and Frankie.” I asked him what this one’s about.

SHEEN: The show features two male law partners, specialists in divorce, who fall in love with one another and decide to leave their wives.

SR. CAMILLE: That role, compared with your portrayal of President Bartlet, suggests the range of your talent.

Remembering your connection with Dan Berrigan reminds me that real life drama often exceeds that created for television or the silver screen. When were you drawn to him?

SHEEN: It was in 1968 when he was hiding from the police … They were after him because of his involvement with the Catonsville Nine. With them he burned draft cards to protest our nation’s involvement in the Vietnam War. 

To read the entire interview, click here.

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