Catholic Worker Movement
Established by Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day in the early 1930s, the Catholic Worker Movement is a Christian movement dedicated to nonviolence, personalism and voluntary poverty. Over 130 Catholic Worker communities exist in the United States where "houses of hospitality" care for the homeless. The Joe Hill House of hospitality (which closed in 1968) in Salt Lake City, Utah featured an enormous twelve feet by fifteen foot mural of Jesus Christ and Joe Hill. Present-day Catholic Workers include Ciaron O'Reilly, an Irish-Australian civil rights and anti-war activist.
Anne Klejment, professor of history at University of St. Thomas, wrote of the Catholic Worker Movement:The Catholic Worker considered itself a Christian anarchist movement. All authority came from God; and the state, having by choice distanced itself from Christian perfectionism, forfeited its ultimate authority over the citizen...Catholic Worker anarchism followed Christ as a model of nonviolent revolutionary behavior...He respected individual conscience. But he also preached a prophetic message, difficult for many of his contemporaries to embrace.
The Catholic Worker Movement has consistently protested against war and violence for over seven decades. Many of the leading figures in the movement have been both anarchists and pacifists, as Ammon Hennacy explains:
Christian Anarchism is based upon the answer of Jesus to the Pharisees when Jesus said that he without sin should be the first to cast the stone, and upon the Sermon on the Mount which advises the return of good for evil and the turning of the other cheek. Therefore, when we take any part in government by voting for legislative, judicial, and executive officials, we make these men our arm by which we cast a stone and deny the Sermon on the Mount.
The dictionary definition of a Christian is one who follows Christ; kind, kindly, Christ-like. Anarchism is voluntary cooperation for good, with the right of secession. A Christian anarchist is therefore one who turns the other cheek, overturns the tables of the moneychangers, and does not need a cop to tell him how to behave. A Christian anarchist does not depend upon bullets or ballots to achieve his ideal; he achieves that ideal daily by the One-Man Revolution with which he faces a decadent, confused, and dying world.
Maurin and Day were both baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Church and believed in the institution, thus showing it is possible to be a Christian anarchist and still choose to remain within a church. After her death, Day was proposed for sainthood by the Claretian Missionaries in 1983. Pope John Paul II granted the Archdiocese of New York permission to open Day's cause for sainthood in March 2000, calling her a Servant of God.
... to co-founder Peter Maurin, the following are the beliefs of the Catholic Worker gentle personalism of traditional Catholicism ... Thomas, wrote of the Catholic Worker Movement The Catholic Worker considered itself a Christian anarchist movement ... its ultimate authority over the citizen...Catholic Worker anarchism followed Christ as a model of nonviolent revolutionary behavior...He respected individual conscience ...
... The Catholic Worker movement began as a means to combine Dorothy Day's history in American social activism, anarchism, and pacifism with the tenets of Catholicism (including a strong current of distributism ... The group started with the Catholic Worker newspaper, created to promote Catholic social teaching and stake out a neutral, pacifist position in the war-torn 1930s ... The movement quickly spread to other cities in the United States, and to Canada and the United Kingdom more than 30 independent but affiliated CW communities had been founded by 1941 ...
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