On Thursday, I am leading a class at St Mary’s University Twickenham, on the Catholic Worker movement and its place in Catholic Social Tradition. In particular, in relation to liberation theology and Catholic Social Teaching. So I have been looking up some old Catholic Worker articles from some years ago, that impressed me and stayed with me in their clarity and inspired me with their Gospel radicalism.
The first is by Frank Cordaro, probably the best known Catholic Worker in the USA today, at least among those in the movement. His “Call to a Resistance Church” outlines how to read the life of Jesus as the life of a non-violent activist, as well as God incarnate. While Frank was writing in the 1990’s, this is a reading of the Gospels that is today being integrated into a ‘christology from below’. According to Scripture scholars there can be little doubt that the Gospels show us a Jesus whose non-violence was a “central part of his life and teaching” (see this article by Terrence J Wynne).
Frank outlines “Four Marks of A Resistance Church”: Downward mobility, identification with the poor and oppressed, non-violent resistance to injustice, and intentional communities. Download it here as a PDF: A CAll to a Resistance Church – Frank Cordaro
The second was written in the late 80’s. Originally entitled “Christian Radicalism in the United. States: The Catholic Worker Tradition” this article by Mark White and Angela Jones into the true Gospel radicalism of Catholic Worker thought and practice: radical in the sense of the Latin meaning of the word. The Latin ‘radix’ meaning ‘root’, indicates how the Catholic Worker vision gets down to the fundamentals of the Gospel as well as the issues of our age, such as the what it means to ‘live’ God’s Kingdom or Reign as a ‘spiritual revolution’. Reading this it is crystal clear why most of today’s radical movements are not too radical, but not radical enough, as they do not get to the spiritual roots of our crises. See here for their article.