14 March 2011

Mission Trip: Catholic Worker

Here is one of the promised posts!

The work part of the spring break trip was with the Catholic Worker houses in South Bend, IN. Their outreach is to the homeless.

There was also time for discussion about the philosophy of Catholic Worker. I knew something about it from reading about Dorothy Day in the last couple of years. I also know that some Catholic Worker groups have moved away from the piety and orthodoxy of Day. I think that the South Bend houses try to keep her spirit and faith. Those that we met are an inspiring group of Christians. Still, they have some ideas on the fringes.

One is "Christian anarchy." I really think that they could do better coming up with a term for what they believe. (When I think of anarchists, I think of bomb throwers. I do not think I am alone in this.) From what I understand (and I realize that I understand a very limited amount), they think that we should do away with government and replace it with Christian charity -- love of God and love of neighbor. They are very distrustful of government, it seems, at all levels, especially the bigger. OK -- but they mean it seriously. My fear is that the "anarchy" would overtake the "Christian" pretty quickly. Also, it presupposes a world made up entirely of saints. And finally it is so serious. There is nothing too small not to be uptight about with them. When you choose Malcom X as a Friday night movie, something is a little too intense! Philosophically, my objection is that for Christian anarchy to work (just like integralists at the other end of the religio-political spectrum) everybody has to do it. It is an absolutist position. For better or worse, I think we live in a time (and perhaps a world) of creative minorities rather than of absolutist uniformity.

Got to go now. I will try to continue. Look for posts on pacifism. I will also try to say what I agree with! That would be a change :-)

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