The Catholic Worker is a newspaper published seven times a year by the Catholic Worker Movement community in New York City. The newspaper was started by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin to make people aware of church teaching on social justice. Day said the word "Worker" in the paper's title referred to "those who worked with hand or brain, those who did physical, mental, or spiritual work. But we thought primarily of the poor, the dispossessed, the exploited." When Communism was popular in the United States during the Great Depression, Day and Maurin wanted to teach what they thought was a well kept secret: the very progressive teaching of the church, so that the poor, mostly Catholic, would turn to their own tradition for the solution.
It first appeared on May Day, 1933 in an edition of 2,500 copies, to make people aware of the social justice teaching of the Catholic Church as an alternative to Communism during the depression. Its stated goal was to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable. Circulation rapidly rose to 25,000 within a few months, and reached 150,000 by 1936.
Day was the editor of The Catholic Worker until her death in 1980. The price per issue has always been one cent. The official annual subscription price in 2009 is 25 cents. Writers for the paper have ranged from young volunteers to such notable figures as Ammon Hennacy, Thomas Merton, Daniel Berrigan, Karl Meyer, Robert Coles, and Jacques Maritain. Ade Bethune and Fritz Eichenberg have frequently contributed illustrations.
The Catholic Worker lost thousands of subscribers because of its strict pacifist stance and refusal to join in the call for U.S. involvement in World War II.
Additional writers of "The Catholic Worker" have published copies in other areas of the country as well. For example, Mark and Louize Zwick are the founders and managers of Casa Juan Diego, a Catholic Worker house in Houston, TX that provides shelter and a medical services for immigrants. Their publication is bilingual so their residents can read the articles' messages as well.