When Dominican priest Fr Peter Murnane was down with an illness, he decided to write a book.
Archway to the Infinite is what he called his “pseudo-autobiography”, a perspective on his physical journey around the world and his inner journey spiritually.
“There are many layers of reality in our lives, in our world. That is what I’m trying to talk about. We sometimes get a glimpse through an opening to deeper layers,” he said, explaining the title of his book at its launch on November 22 at The Peace Place in Auckland.
“I have travelled many tens of thousands of kilometres around the world and probably, if you calculate my inner journey, millions of spiritual kilometres,” he said.
Fr Murnane will be remembered for being one of three men who broke into the Waihopai spy base with a bolt cutter and two sickles in 2009, slashing an inflatable plastic dome covering a satellite dish.
In 2003, he and another man protested the Iraq war by pouring their blood in the form of a cross on the floor of the US consulate office in Auckland. Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn offered an apology for the act and offered to pay the cleaning bill.
Fr Murnane, 78, still believes in the necessity of protest actions.
“If it is in any way corrupt, any organisation or institution has to be resisted in some ways and times. [To correct] social wrongs, it might be necessary to break the law. That can be a bit scary. We might be wrong,” he said.
He said he had a lot of thoughts going on inside his head as he was walking to the US consulate to protest the Iraq war.
“What am I doing? I have crossed the line. I’m different,” he said. “It’s a very strange feeling.”
He also gave some insights for those who might want to protest.
“It has to be rational. It has to be reasoned. It has to be limited, controlled, prayerful, in our case, those of us who pray. If you choose your target, it can be of significant use,” he said. “Rioting is one thing. Selective targeting is another.”
Fr Murnane, who was on a two-week visit to Auckland from Australia, said he has no regrets with the way he lived his life.
“I really don’t regret anything because God is real. Mistakes don’t matter. God is forgiving. God is infinite love,” he said.