CRAIGforCONGRESS

Missouri's 7th District, U.S. House of Representatives

  
 

 

 

Congressional Issues 2010
SOCIETY
The "Works of Mercy"



Congress should:
  • not substitute coerced "national service" for true compassion
  • encourage the "works of mercy" and voluntary acts of service.

The "works of mercy" is a reference to the commands of Jesus in Matthew 25, frequently heard in Catholic Worker circles.


Matthew 25:31-46

{31} "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. {32} "All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. {33} "And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
{34} "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: {41} "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:
{35} 'for I was hungry and you gave Me food; {42} 'for I was hungry and you gave Me no food;
I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;
I was a stranger and you took Me in; {43} 'I was a stranger and you did not take Me in,
{36} 'I was naked and you clothed Me; naked and you did not clothe Me,
I was sick and you visited Me; sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.'
I was in prison and you came to Me.'
{37} "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? {38} 'When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? {39} 'Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' {44} "Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?'
{40} "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' {45} "Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' {46} "And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

There came a point in my life when I realized I had never seen a person who was hungry, thirsty or in need of clothing or shelter.

Then I realized the suburban neighborhood in which I had grown up was self-consciously designed to shield me from such people. Whole cities are zoned in such a way that the "good people" never meet those  "undesirables" who are in need.

At that point I visited a Catholic Worker House of Hospitality, eventually moved in, and lived there for nearly ten years.


There are three extraordinary things about this passage.

First, our eternal destiny would appear to depend on our good works, not just on whether we "went down the aisle" or "signed a decision card." Notice that the "good works" described by Jesus have little or nothing to do with ecclesiastical bureaucracies, hierarchies or rituals.

Second, any Christian who makes an effort to perform all of the works of mercy described in Matthew 25 will find his or her life turned upside down. After all, these works are not to be performed just once in a person's life. But even doing them just once will transform you.

Third, if Christians as a Body would take this passage seriously, it will transform culture.


Compassionate Conservatism?

Consider the failure of many conservative Christians to follow Jesus:

  • Abortion: a mother is being pressured to murder her own child by status-conscious parents, a greedy "doctor," and/or an irresponsible "boyfriend." "Compassionate conservatives" threaten to imprison or execute the mother. Conservatives initiated government regulation of adoption to prevent children from falling into the hands of dangerous non-conservatives. Like blacks.
  • Immigration: poor peasants seek to flee a drug-cartel controlled government and pursue happiness in America. Compassionate conservatives say, "Your papers, please," and threaten imprisonment or forcible deportation (kidnapping).
  • Someone is accused of a crime. Conservatives believe the police. They disobey Jesus, and will not visit criminals in prison.
  • There is a connection between true compassion and the Bill of Rights. A truly compassionate person does not initiate force against others, nor ask the government to do so.
  • Jesus shed his blood to make atonement for our sins, but "compassionate conservatives" believe more blood must be shed: "capital punishment."
  • Conservatives are willing to annihilate millions of innocent non-combatant civilians rather than work for nuclear disarmament. Jesus, speaking through the Old Testament prophets like Isaiah and Micah, said we should beat our swords into plowshares.
  • Conservatives believe in the "depravity of man," but not the depravity of conservative politicians.
  • Conservatives rightly oppose euthanasia, but won't allow those with terminal pain or other medical problems to use "illegal" drugs. "Give strong drink to him that is ready to perish, and wine to those that are of heavy hearts." Proverbs 31:6   
  • Conservatives will spend taxpayer money imprisoning a pathetic dope-smoking loser rather than helping an addict become confident and successful.
  • Conservatives rightly oppose homosexuality, but will not help anyone with AIDS for fear of appearing soft on homosexuality.
  • Conservatives favor armed invasions of mideastern nations like Iraq, killing thousands of people who didn't like Saddam Hussein any more than conservatives did.
  • I haven't yet covered issues M-Z.

Read more about the "Works of Mercy"

Compare the "works of mercy" and "the 12th Step" of A.A.

Compare and contrast personal service from the heart vs. government-coerced "national service"

Consider the social implications:

"Letter To Our Readers at the Beginning of Our Fifteenth Year"   DOC #155

Summary: Outlines P. Maurin's program for social action as the instituting of Houses of Hospitality, Clarification of Thought and Farming Communes, and explains where the C.W. has gone with each program. Reveals Maurin's sources of thought and the need to find lay apostolates. Traces personal sacrifices to Jesus' command in the gospels and asserts that the state cannot take over this duty.

"On Pilgrimage - May 1946"   DOC #424

Summary: Reaffirms doing the works of mercy--"It is our program, our rule of life."--and voluntary poverty. Asks us to "consider our daily occupation in the light of a work of mercy." Recommends The Snake Pit, a book about conditions in mental hospitals. Extols gardening.

"Our Fall Appeal"   DOC #242

Summary: An appeal for financial help and a restatement of the Catholic Worker belief in personal responsibility for the poor over State responsibility.

"An Appeal to Women"   DOC #153

Summary: Encourages the "personal" application of Christian principles. Gives practical approaches to this task and advocates "the little way."

"Have We Failed Peter Maurin's Program?"   DOC #236

Summary: Reflects on the ways they have failed Peter Maurin's vision and concludes " About all the above failures, I must say that I am not much concerned. I think that such failures are inseparable to a work of this kind, and necessary for our growth in holiness." Stresses trying to put ideas into action, more clarification of thought, continuing this "tiny work."

"Letter On Hospices"   DOC #183

Summary: Describes how Catholic Worker houses are run and the struggles with living the ideal of Christian love. Reflects on reconciling freedom and order. Maintains the primarcy of the spiritual. Gives her positions on cooperation, house leadership, handling money, and the relation of the Catholic Worker to the hierarchy. Concludes by emphasizing the little way and voluntary poverty.

"Aims and Purposes"   DOC #182

Summary: Restates the central vision of the Catholic Worker Movement as working for "a new heaven and a new earth, wherein justice dwelleth." This vision recognizes the "primacy of the spritual" and the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ. The Catholic Worker is "a new way of life" involving Houses of Hospitality for the daily practice of the Works of Mercy and Farming Communes where each person can take responsibility of doing their part.

"Catholic Worker Celebrates 3rd Birthday; A Restatement of C. W. Aims and Ideals"   DOC #300

Summary: Restatement of core Catholic Worker ideals regarding private property, class war, interracial relations, atheism, Marxism, fascism, Communism, materialism, and the role of the state.

"Distinguished Visitors Mark Past Month"   DOC #333

Summary: Another appeal has gone out entrusting their needs to St. Joseph. Notes how busy everyone is at the office, on the breadline, and on the farm. (Someone had noted the hordes of young men around the CW and wondered what they do.) Mentions that public works such as bridge building can be considered works of mercy.

"Peter Maurin 1877-1977"   DOC #256

Summary: Recounts her first meeting with Peter Maurin in 1932, his teaching style, his personal example, and his platform for the Catholic Worker: "Roundtable Discussions, Houses of Hospitality and Farming Communes--those were the three planks in Peter Maurin's platform."

"Poverty Without Tears"   DOC #230

Summary: Reviews several books on voluntary poverty, especially Poverty by Fr. Regamey. Elaborates on the joy of, objections to, and purpose of voluntary poverty. Rejects capitalist and communist solutions to real poverty, pointing to decentralization and distributism as the answer.

"We Go On Record: CW Refuses Tax Exemption"   DOC #191

Summary: Explains CW finances and why the CW refuses to apply for tax exempt status. Cites Ammon Hennacy and Karl Meyer's tax resistance as nonviolent protest against war. Upholds the principle that governments should never do what small bodies can accomplish.

"Workers of the World Unite"   DOC #177

Summary: Celebrates the 25th anniversary of the C.W. Perceives freedom as the greatest gift to man from God, and advocates a four hour work day, child labor, private property as personal property and manual labor. Personalism works from the bottom up and reminds her readers that Jesus told people, not states, to perform works of mercy.

"Peter's Program"   DOC #176

Summary: Outlines P. Maurin's program for social reordering. Calls for a Green Revolution, a return to the villages. Finds his whole message embodied in personalism, which begins with oneself. Blames the C.W.'s problems in its lack of ability to limit itself.

"Personalist - Peter Maurin"   DOC #170

Summary: Summarizes Peter Maurin's worldview and discusses his new social order and how his life embodied his ideas. Reveals the sources of his thought such as Proudhon, Kropotkin, Guardini and Karl Adam.

"On Pilgrimage - May 1948"   DOC #158

Summary: 16th anniversary recapitulation of distinctive CW positions, especially pacifism and distributism. Explains the C.W.'s philosophy of labor as serving others. Argues that the problem of unemployment originates from the machine - and advocates Gandhi's economic program. Emphasizes a philosophy of work and a philosophy of poverty.

"On Pilgrimage - March-April 1970"   DOC #499

Summary: After attending Ammon Hennacy's funeral in Utah she travels to Florida and Georgia visiting friends, the Koinonia community, and a trappist monastery. Prays for courage in the face of vast poverty and violence. Encouraged by Catholic Pentecostal movement and return to prayer.

"Thanksgiving Dinner and Other Things"   DOC #351

Summary: Describes their Thanksgiving feast. Despite the fact that donations were sparse, all enjoy a filling, yet sober, celebration. Notes the beginning of Advent and thoughts of feasting turn to fasting. Describes her speaking tour of New England, meditates on the virtues of manual labor, and reminds her readers that the truckmen of Burlington are suffering real privation during their strike.

"Day After Day - More Houses of Hospitality Are Needed"   DOC #331

Summary: Calls for every parish to have a Works of Mercy Center and for courage in doing the little immediate jobs of feeding the hungry and giving out literature. (Notes St. Therese's "little way.") Encourages discussion groups and round table discussions for the clarification of thought.

"In Peace Is My Bitterness Most Bitter"   DOC #250

Summary: Expresses her anguish over the works of war in Vietnam, which are the opposite of the works of mercy. She is upset with churchmen calling for "total victory," and notes that the Church is our Mother even though "she is a harlot at times." Calls on each person to work on changing their hearts and attitude.

"On Pilgrimage - December 1965"   DOC #248

Summary: Discusses freedom of conscience and obedience to Church and State in the context of Vatican Council II's condemnation of nuclear war. Lauds the "little way" of St. Therese as the foundation of world peace and a means of social change.

"Southern Hospitality"   DOC #239

Summary: Retells the indignity and jailing that an interracial group endured in Shreveport, Louisiana.

"The Incompatibility of Love and Violence"   DOC #232

Summary: Affirms that all men are brothers--a view shared by Communists and Christians alike. Disavows violent means of change and cites Peter Maurin's pacifism. Love requires suffering and the Cross is the path to joy and life.

"Poverty and Pacifism"   DOC #223

Summary: Elaborates on the vision of voluntary poverty and what it implies for the kind of work we do, what we eat and drink, how we entertain ourselves. Recommends decentralized living and numerous books. Says "We need saints. God, give us saints."

"The Case of Cardinal McIntyre"   DOC #196

Summary: Elaborates on the Catholic Worker relationship with Church authorities over many years and the "conflict of freedom and authority." Reaffirms the laity's freedom of conscience and leadership role in action against injustice. Reproaches "our shepherds" who fail to preach voluntary poverty and "preach the gospel in season, out of season, and that gospel is 'all men are brothers.'"

"On Pilgrimage - January 1959"   DOC #178

Summary: Argues from the principle of subsidiarity that to replace personal responsibility with the state's is a grave injustice. Criticizes the state's inefficiency in alleviating suffering; in its guest to regulate justice it causes more injustice. Associates a close bond between poverty and love and blames industrialism for the increasing practice of carting the aged off to institutions.

"Poverty Incorporated"   DOC #167

Summary: Contends that bigness, such as government, cities, institutions, etc., escapes personal responsibilities. One becomes lost in its array and thus is not responsible for his actions. Toys with the idea of incorporating the C.W., but prefers a decentralized organization. Comments on the power of the novena.

"A Long Editorial But It Could Be Longer"   DOC #15

Summary: Traces the program difficulties of Catholic Action to the belief that there is no need for it. Encourages both Communists and Catholics to study the capitalistic system and to compare the similarities and differences in order to raise questions. Sees the need for liturgy and sociology to be linked. Encourages individual responsibility for doing the works of mercy.

"Articles on War and Pacifism"   DOC #563

Summary: Various articles by Dorothy Day on war, pacifism, and the Catholic Worker positions on making peace.

"Reflections During Advent, Part Four"
"Obedience'
  DOC #562

Summary: Ponders the relationship between freedom and authority, faith and obedience. Uses her conversion and starting of the Catholic Worker as examples of conscience and the great freedom of the laity. Cites various authorities and the example of Pope John XXIII on freedom and obedience. Ultimately, links obedience to love and her faith. Repeats the need to "search the Scriptures" and to achieve a "second conversion" to the faith.

"Reflections During Advent, Part Two"
"The Meaning of Poverty"
  DOC #560

Summary: Gives examples of false voluntary poverty and refutes the notion that real poverty doesn't exist. Challenges everyone to a personal response, not a government one, to poverty and to ask ourselves "What shall we do?" Gives examples and concludes that all can do something and that whatever work of mercy we perform we "do it for love of Jesus, in His humanity, for love of our brother, for love of our enemy." Points to the scandal of the wealth of the Church and thanks God for the sacraments and the Word in the Scriptures--our light and our food.

"Reflections During Advent"   DOC #558

Summary: During the Advent of 1966 Dorothy Day wrote a four-part series for Ave Maria magazine grouped under the title "Reflections During Advent."

"On Pilgrimage - December 1971"   DOC #516

Summary: Excerpts from her letters while on an across country pilgrimage to Wheaton and Rock Island, Illinois, then Denver, Colorado. Reasserts the need to "go to the poor" and spread the good news by speaking and the works of mercy. Comments on a prison strike noting many are in jail for petty theft while "robber barons" get away with murder. Says "Property is theft."

"The Case of Father Duffy"   DOC #497

Summary: Commentary on a case where a priest is silenced for his work with the poor. Expresses the tension of obedience and love of the Church with the demands of serving the poor and Church shortcomings. Affirms her acceptance of Church authority but notes the demands of conscience have caused Saints to be critical of even the Pope in the past. Reaffirms their lay mission to enlighten, arouse the conscience, and lead from the bottom up.

"On Pilgrimage - September 1948"   DOC #469

Summary: Opposes registration for conscription and describes their picketing a sign-up site. Notes how easily pickets become violent and her loathing of the use of force. Updates on construction projects and retreat work at Maryfarm.

"On Pilgrimage - October 1947"   DOC #459

Summary: Reflection on Peter Maurin's ideas of groups of farming families on the land. Notes the work Fall brings at the farm and describes the community life of Doukhobors, Shakers, and the extinct Ephrata Community. Dismisses the efficiency offered by advertising.

"On Pilgrimage - February 1947"   DOC #451

Summary: Attends the wedding of Catholic Workers in Detroit. Visits the widow of Paul St. Marie and recounts his union organizing at Ford Motor Company. Sees Fr. Pacifique Roy, suffering in the hospital, and recalls all his help to the Catholic Worker. Meets Fr. Lacourture whose retreats for priests are the basis of their retreat work.

"On Pilgrimage - July August 1946"   DOC #427

Summary: Reports on hearing Canon Cardign speak of the Catholic Action movement which is reaching the workers with the Church's social teaching. Endorses non-violence, withdrawal, and getting at the roots in any mass movement. Eulogizes Sidney Hillman for his ground-breaking work in the garment industry. Notes that Peter Maurin received sacramental anointing and requests prayers for a labor leader who stopped practicing his faith. Quotes from Eric Gill's stations of the cross.

"On Pilgrimage - February 1946"   DOC #419

Summary: Explains why she is changing the name of the column to On Pilgrimage. A diary-like record of people and events around the Worker in January 1946--looting in the neighborhood, running out of coal, medical visits, butchering a hog. Comments on worthwhile work.

"Notes By The Way - October 1945"   DOC #415

Summary: Some thoughts on death after the sudden passing of a co-worker. Tells of Workers returning from war, painting chores, and prayers for conversions. Speaks of wanting to finish a novel that includes themes from the retreat given at Maryfarm and which has drawn criticism.

"Day After Day - September 1942"   DOC #385

Summary: A St. Joseph Day bequest provides an opportunity to explain why The Catholic Worker has never incorporated and the nature of its organizational philosophy favoring smallness. As he had promised, Tony Pereiro brings spindles, similar to those used by Gandhi, as souvenirs from his trip to India which are viewed as "revolutionary implements," symbols of another way of life.

"Go To The Poor"   DOC #383

Summary: Inspired by the beauty and inner-city location of Los Angelesí St. Bibiana Cathedral, this editorial focuses on the poor--" The closer we are to the poor, the closer to Christís love." Because May, 1942 marked The Catholic Workerís tenth year, reminds readers that we are called to love all men, friend and foe alike, because all are brothers--"love is shown by works of mercy, not by war."

"Day After Day - April 1942"   DOC #381

Summary: Begins with an appeal for two worthy causes--the Bishopís relief fund for war victims and the New York Catholic Charities. Ponders the role of citizens during wartime and our penchant for choosing men of action, like General MacArthur, as heroes rather than figures like Pope Pius XII. Envisions speaking about rayer in Wartime, the rural life movement, feeding the poor and hungry, and the use of decentralism and other means for producing social change on an upcoming West Coast trip. Denies that her strict pacifism has split the Catholic Worker movement and points out that they face more reader-resistance for their policy against denying aid to the "undeserving" poor.

"Day After Day - February 1942"   DOC #380

Summary: Shares her enthusiasm for Raisa Maritainís autobiography, We Have Been Friends Together. Defends their reaching out to all the poor, not just those deemed "deserving" of assistance. Reviews the positions taken on World War II by various Catholic Worker houses throughout the country, admitting that not all have their "in season, out of season" pacifism.

"Day After Day - May 1941"   DOC #372

Summary: Expounds on the value of manual labor and the opening of new Catholic Worker houses. Argues that it is right that the Catholic Worker campaign against the underlying social injustices which cause hunger, poverty, homelessness, and war. Asks for respect when views differ.

"Short Trip To Near-by C. W. Groups"   DOC #367

Summary: Admires the work of Ade Bethune's "folk school" in Newport, Rhode Island, calling it "one of the most interesting cells of the Catholic Worker." Describes the work of nearby Catholic Worker farms. Gives a talk where she stresses that the evils in the world are not inevitable, are not from God but from man's misuse of free will.

Our Stand   DOC #360

Summary: Reasserts their pacifist stand and opposes the use of force in the labor movement, in class struggle, and struggles between countries. Quotes Catholic theologians and Popes. Repeats that God's Word is Love and that using only non-violent means is indeed "the Folly of the Cross." Doubts that the conditions for a "just war" can be met in these times.

Catholic Worker Ideas On Hospitality   DOC #358

Summary: Defends against the charge that they do more harm than good in providing hospitality to the undeserving. Asserts that doing the Works of Mercy is following Christ and a revolutionary technique. Points to the monastic tradition of indiscriminate hospitality. Other keywords: Communism, hospices, social order.

Seattle, Portland, and Points South   DOC #355

Summary: Lists all the people and groups she visited and spoke to in Seattle and Portland, describing their projects to help the poor and the worker.

Day After Day - February 1940   DOC #354

Summary: Visiting Catholic Worker houses in Baltimore and Philadelphia, she reflects on the part everyone plays in the whole movement and feels a sense of solidarity. Notes how they suffer from the cold in New York. Tells of a visit to the headquarters of the National Maritime Union and their fine reading room.

"War Plans Taken With Awful Calm"   DOC #350

Summary: Reports on the growth of C.W., new houses, the newspaperís circulation, and various projects. Assesses the employment situation and the countryís willingness to mobilize for war and the making of profit. Expresses gratitude for the people who have answered their appeal and have continued to make the C.W.ís ministry possible. Amidst talk of war and peace " It would be hard to keep a cheerful spirit in the face of the calm acceptance of this preparation for mass slaughter and insanity if it were not for our faith."

"Day After Day - March 1939"   DOC #341

Summary: Describes a mission being preached in a nearby Church. Feels love for the poor ones in attendance seeing them as brothers of Christ. Explains why she prays for those who have committed suicide. Makes an appeal for funds.

"Visitors Criticism, CIO Convention"   DOC #336

Summary: Collection of little stories: visitors, helping Tamar with homework, praying to St. Joseph for money, reading Pelle the Conqueror, and attending a CIO convention. Affirms her "faith in the tremendous spiritual capacities of man."

"News of C. W. Groups Given By Editor"   DOC #335

Summary: A series of stories about the work of Catholic Worker groups she recently visited on a speaking trip: Portsmouth and Newport, RI; Boston and Worchester, MA; Milwaukee; Chicago; Rochester, NY; Detroit; and Pittsburgh.

"No Regrets,' Mooney Tells C. W. Interviewer"   DOC #326

Summary: Describes a visit to Tom Mooney who was jailed in 1915 for labor organizing and who spends his days caring for infirm inmates in San Quentin prison. Mooney sees Christ as "a great Leader of the workers who set an example of laying down His life for the poor and dispossessed of this world."

"Day After Day - April 1937"   DOC #319

Summary: Describes those who deny Christ in His poor as "atheists indeed." Blames well-off "professing Christians" for repelling those with no religion. Quotes from a pamphlet given to the men in the breadline about Christ being their brother and His poverty.

"Open Letter to John Brophy, CIO Director"   DOC #318

Summary: Urges John Brophey, the C.I.O. trade unions director, to use the technique of sit-down strikes, a nonviolent form of coercion, a means used by Gandhi and an example of pure means advocated by Maritain. "The use of force is unchristian."

"They Knew Him In The Breaking of Bread"   DOC #315

Summary: An appeal for money to support the growing breadlines. Describes the lines, cost of feeding so many, the help they receive, and prayers to St. Joseph. Reminds readers that their gifts put them in Christian solidarity with the breadline and what is done for the men is done for Him.

"Day After Day - November 1936"   DOC #307

Summary: Reflections on our being children of one Father, thanksgiving, the worth of spreading the "Christian revolution" by distributing the Catholic Worker paper, distributing clothes, and other stories of life on Mott Street.

"Why Write About Strife and Violence?"   DOC #279

Summary: Calls attention to the social crisis, class warfare, and numerous strikes. Notes how Communists practice the corporal works of mercy while lukewarm, comfortable, and indifferent Catholics turn their backs on strikers and their families.

"Spring Appeal"   DOC #251

Summary: An appeal for money to carry on the work of hospitality, and to buy and repair an old house. Compares the CW approach to the city and states' way. Notes that Jesus tells us to ask for what we need, and that our Heavenly Father knows what we need.

"C. W. Editors Arrested In Air Raid Drill"   DOC #243

Summary: Describes her and 18 others' arrest and court appearances for civil disobedience after demonstrating and not taking shelter in an air raid drill. Speaks of the courage and suffering needed in battle and in using spiritual weapons. Going to jail is one way of visiting the prisoner.

"Where Are the Poor? They Are In Prisons, Too"   DOC #241

Summary: A graphic description of how she and 29 others were treated by the police, jailers, and courts after arrest for protesting air raid drills against nuclear attack. Gives a reason for the protest and decries the inhuman aspects of their treatment--crowding, lack of food, waiting. Notes: "What a neglected work of mercy, visiting the prisoner."

"The Pope and Peace"   DOC #237

Summary: Explains what anarchism and pacifism mean against the backdrop of the modern state. Reaffirms the principles of subsidiarity, freedom and personal responsibility, and the membership of all in the body of Christ.

"Notes By the Way"   DOC #224

Summary: Tells of the work and people at numerous Catholic Worker houses and farms on a journey through New York, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

"If Conscription Comes For Women"   DOC #222

Summary: Asserts she would not register for the draft because it is the first step toward war and answers common objections to her stance. Cites the Holy Father, Thoreau, and E. I. Watkin, founder of the PAX movement in England. Keywords: pacifism, conscientious objection, taxes.

"Day After Day - January 1943"   DOC #221

Summary: A general summary of the Catholic Worker after 10 years--list of houses and farms (open and closed), marriages, births, deaths; whereabouts of workers; her travels. Notes they making an attempt at applying a personalist, communitarian philosophy, and quotes Eric Gill's notion of "a cell of good living." Keywords: philosophy of the Catholic Worker, conscientious objection.

"Grave Injustice Done Japanese On West Coast"   DOC #218

Summary: Decries the resettlement of Japanese Americans during World War II into concentration camps and describes their living conditions.

"Day After Day - June 1942"   DOC #217

Summary: Expresses a joyful heart in the midst of war preparations. Visits friends, Bishops, and West Coast Houses of Hospitality in Seattle and Los Angelus.

"Month of the Dead"   DOC #193

Summary: Decries the religious attitude that neglects the needs of this world in anticipation of "a fuller life" hereafter. Views this life as a "practice ground," an opportunity to use our talents to bring about justice and peace. Cites Ammon Hennacy and Peter Maurin as men who showed personal responsibility in this life. Everyone has the choice to bring about a better world aware that we are members of one family. We will be satisfied at death in God's rich mercy.

"The Mystery of the Poor"   DOC #189

Summary: Answers students' question: "How can you see Christ in people?" Says Christ shows himself in the hands and feet of the poor around us. What we do for the poor we do for Christ which leads to an increase in faith and belief in love.

"Education and Work"   DOC #173

Summary: Proposes a new attitude toward labor, which needs to be achieved through the educational system. Draws from Pius XII and Peter Maurin to articulate a mysticism of labor that promotes a wholeness of cult, culture and cultivation. This attitude advocates one to work for what one needs, not what one wants, so one can work for others in need.

"Beyond Politics"   DOC #166

Summary: Discusses the C.W.'s means to achieve a better social condition in comparison to communist means. Exhorts "the rich to become poor and the poor to become holy." Criticizes capitalism's unbalanced distribution of wealth and admits a certain compatability exists between Marx and Christianity.

"On Pilgrimage - July-August 1949"   DOC #164

Summary: Complains of the lack of help from the Church to promote unions. Forcefully explains the difference between communism and the C.W. and contends that the greatest threat to the Church is the working man's ignorance of the Church's social teaching not communism, which is "simply a consequence to the ignorance."

"On Pilgrimage - February 1949"   DOC #162

Summary: Discusses Truman's attempt to nationalize steel and argues that it should be permitted as a transition to smaller group ownership, or if private ownership is efficient. Mentions the lack of support for distributism, particularly among Catholics who support government intervention.

"More About Holy Poverty. Which Is Voluntary Poverty."   DOC #150

Summary: "Am I my brothers keeper?" Argues that increased state intervention limits personal freedom and responsibility. Sees the social security legislation and other state programs as taking responsibility from the community, parish, family and person. Voluntary poverty on the other hand promotes responsibility, since it comes directly from the person.

"Farming Communes"   DOC #149

Summary: Defines personalism as the realization that one "cannot find satisfaction in this life unless he reckons that there is only God and himself." Discusses the difficulties of farming communes and the need to establish the communal aspects of Christianity.

"C.W. Editor Back from Nova Scotia"   DOC #146

Summary: Describes her trip to Antigonish, Nova Scotia and her stay with the community. Discusses her meeting with the United Mine Workers and how cooperative stores there have built a spiritual foundation for their material needs distribution. Comments on the community's independence and its inter-dependence on one other.

House of Hospitality   DOC #3

Summary: An account of the first five years of the Catholic Worker (C.W.). Describes the C.W. not simply as a newspaper but as a movement. Explicates its position on labor and unions through Peter Maurin's ideas on personalism. Much of the book, however, is taken up with the day to day experiences of the C.W., describing the soup lines, publication of the paper, picketing, farm communes, and the finances of the C.W.

"House of Hospitality"   DOC #342

Summary: A detailed account of the first houses of hospitality in New York where the works of mercy, prayer, work, and community intermingle.

House of Hospitality
Foreword   DOC #435

Summary: An overview of the beginnings of the Catholic Worker. As a journalist covering the Communist led march on Washington in December 1932, Dorothy yearns and prays to find a way to work for the poor and oppressed. She meeets Peter Maurin who "indoctrinates" her in Catholic social teaching and his program to change the social order: starting a newspaper, houses of hospitality, roundtable discussions and farming communes. Includes several of Peter's essays and details about starting the newspaper and their first houses of hospitality.

House of Hospitality,
Chapter Two
  DOC #437

Summary: Vignettes about a mentally ill woman disturbing the neighborhood and the good luck and hard work life of a friend. Describes their struggles with food, lack of money, heated discussions, children's play, "little miracles," selling the paper at a nearby church, and the constant interruptions. Notes two kinds of materialism.

House of Hospitality,
Chapter Three   DOC #438

Summary: Tales of hospitality, distributing the paper, and propaganda meetings. Affirms the primacy of performing the works of mercy over "talking and writing about the work." Quotes from Frederick Ozanam on putting faith into action. Describes homey scenes at the beach house with Theresa and their beachcomber friend Smiddy. Tells of their poverty and their joy amid their city neighbors, a busy parish Church nearby, and Peterís efforts in Harlem.

House of Hospitality,
Chapter Four
  DOC #439

Summary: A mixture of colorful stories of guests' travails, daily tasks, and small pleasures. Includes a Peter Maurin presentation on Socialism's faults and the need for action based on a supernatural foundation. Reflects on St. Therese's Little Way as a way to overcome discouragement.

House of Hospitality,
Chapter Six
  DOC #441

Summary: Struggles with discouragement and turns to prayer and spiritual reading for courage. Includes quotes from various spiritual writers. Tales from the farm and trips to the Home Relief Office, swims to escape the oppressive heat, and sweet smells. Rejects the notion that all are not called to perfection and sees true security in giving ones talents in the service of the poor. Details their debt and asserts their insecurity is good.

House of Hospitality,
Chapter Eight   DOC #443

Summary: After describing their search for a farm and the move to Mott Street, most of the chapter is a clarification of why they support organizing and striking workers. Contrasts their peaceful methods with the communist calls for violence in a class war. Asserts a spiritual foundation based on the dignity of man, a philosophy of labor, and the unity of the Mystical Body of Christ. Wants workers to become owners and lauds the cooperative and back-to-the-land movements.

House of Hospitality
Chapter Ten   DOC #445

Summary: Expresses deep gratitude to God for the goodness of their first summer at the Easton farm. Explains why they distribute The Catholic Worker and Catholic literature at Communist rallies. Meditates on the phrase "Our Father" as the basis for understanding that all men are brothers. A long description of their efforts to help the striking seamen in New York.

House of Hospitality,
Chapter Eleven
  DOC #446

Summary: Bucolic description of the antics of Bessie the calf. Much of the chapter describes her visit to the sit-down strike in Flint, Michigan, against General Motors and their tactics. Says labor in the U.S. needs a long range program of education about cooperatives, credit unions, and a philosophy of labor. Quotes from a leaflet distributed to the men on the breadline inviting them to attend a parish mission. After a talk to a women's club in Florida she observes that the rich who deny Christ in His poor "are atheists indeed."

House of Hospitality,  Conclusion   DOC #450

Summary: Reflecting on the themes cover in the book, she acknowledges all that has been accomplished and distinguishes the role of the State and personal responsibility. Enumerates the many strikes they supported. Calls for a greater use of prayer and the desire to be saints. Speaks about what individual workers are doing in New York and is encouraged by houses around the country. Concludes by recalling Peter Maurin's fundamental ideas--voluntary poverty and the works of mercy. Prays that they continue on "the downward path which leads to salvation."

"To Christ - To the Land"   DOC #143

Summary: Presents P. Maurin three-point program: Round Table Discussions, Houses of Hospitality, and Farming Communes to further the personalist and communitarian revolution. Promotes worker ownership in order to go back to the land to establish farming communes.


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