Social Justice and Resistance
Many people applaud and support the work of Catholic Worker communities to efforts to the poor and marginalized members of our society; at the same time, they have difficulty accepting the what have been described as political dimensions of our activities. Rev. Dom Helder Camara, Archbishop of Recife, Brazil, said: “When I feed the poor, they call me a saint, but when I ask why the poor are hungry, they call me a communist.” Our political dimension represents an attempt to ask the questions about conditions that lead to the need for works of mercy.
As Catholic Workers, we struggle to carry out our double mandate: to minister to the needs of society’s forgotten people, and to challenge and offer alternatives to the attitudes, institutions and structures that create and perpetuate suffering and violence. Thus we find ourselves protesting unfair treatment of the poor and homeless, the death penalty, U.S. torture policy, U.S. wars and occupations, U.S. nuclear policy, and bloated military budgets that rob from the poor and make the world an unsafe place to live. While most of our activities involve us in public vigils, marches, and prayer and fasting, we occasionally find ourselves being led by the Spirit to acts of civil disobedience (or what some call Divine obedience), which at times lead us to jail or prison.
Following Christ’s example, we also believe it is our duty to spread the word of our work and provide others with the opportunity to serve. The Eugene Catholic Worker will achieve its goals by the grace of God and by working together to bring about a world of peace and justice as envisioned by our founders, Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin.