A Boston native, Drinan attended Boston College and was ordaind as a Jesuit priest in 1953. He served as Dean of the Law School at Boston College from 1956 to 1970, at which time he was elected to the United States House of Representatives. A Democrat, he stirred controversy by supporting legalized abortion. After Pope John Paul II insisted that all priests avoid political office in 1980, Drinan did not seek reelection. He finished his career as professor of law at Georgetown University.