War and Peace

Barbarians and Civilized

We call barbarians
people living
on the other side of the border.
We call civilized
people living
on this side of the border.
We civilized,
living on this side of the border,
are not ashamed
to arm ourselves to the teeth
so as to protect ourselves
against the barbarians
living on the other side.
And when the barbarians
born on the other side of the border
invade us,
we do not hesitate
to kill them
before we have tried
to civilize them.
So we civilized
exterminate barbarians
without civilizing them.
And we persist
in calling ourselves civilized.

German and French

After the fall
of the Roman Empire
German barbarians
invaded Gaul,
now called France.
The German barbarians
came as invaders
and were civilized
by the invaded.
The Gallo-Germans
living in Gaul,
now called France,
were Christians.
Through a Christian technique
the Gallo-Romans
made Christians
out of the German invaders.
So the German invaders
gave up their religion
as well as their language
and took up the religion
as well as the language
of the invaded.

Italians and Ethiopians

Italian soldiers
went to Ethiopia
to civilize the Ethiopians.
The Italian soldiers
still think
that invaders
can civilize the invaded.
But the Ethiopians
do not like the way
the Italian soldiers
try to civilize them.
The best way
to civilize the Ethiopians
is to prepare
Ethiopian young men
for the priesthood.
As Christopher Dawson says,
has a lot to do
with religion.

Spaniards and Moors

Moors from Morocco
ruled part of Spain
for eight hundred years.
They imposed Mohammedanism
on the Spaniards
through the power of the sword.
After eight hundred years,
the Spanish Christians
decided to give the Moors
a dose of their own medicine.
So the Spanish Christians
drove the Moors out of Spain
through the power of the sword.
Before the war,
Spanish Christians
failed to make use
of the power of the word.
Spanish Christians
seem to have more faith
in the power of the sword
than the power of the word.
So had the Moors
when ruling part of Spain
for eight hundred years.

Stalinites and Trotskyites

Eugene Lyons says
that Lenin and Trotsky
accepted the idea
that the end
justifies the means.
They thought
that an idealistic end
could be reached
by bloody means.
Because they resorted
to bloody means,
Stalin resorts
to bloody means.
The State has not yet
withered away
and the Communist ideal
is still out of sight.

No Party Line

The Catholic Worker
is free-lance movement
not a partisan movement.
Some of the Bishops
agree with our policies
and some don’t.
We are criticized
by many Catholics
for some of our policies
and especially
our Spanish policy.
The Communist Party
has a party line.
The Catholic Worker
has no party line.
There is no party line
in the Catholic Church.

Beyond Marxism

The U.S.S.R means
the Union of Socialist
Soviet Republics.
There is no Communism
in Soviet Russia.
According to Karl Marx,
“Communism is a society
wherein one works
according to his ability
and gets
according to his needs,”
Such a society is found
in Catholic monasteries
but not in Soviet Russia.
That is why Strachey
was told by Father McNabb,
an English Dominican,
“I am a Communist;
you are only an amateur.”
In the beginning of Christianity
the hungry were fed,
the naked were clothed,
the homeless were sheltered,
the ignorant were instructed
at a personal sacrifice.
And the pagans
used to say
about the Christians,
“See how they love each other.”
Father Arthur Ryan,
born in Tipperary,
used to call
this period of history
“Christian Communism.”
But it is
a long, long way
to Tipperary.

Priests and Policemen

Jean Jacques Rousseau said:
“Man is naturally good.”
Business men say:
“Man is naturally bad;
you can do nothing
with human nature.”
If it is true,
as business men say,
that you can do nothing
with human nature,
then we need fewer priests
and more policemen.
But if God the Father
sent His own begotten Son
to redeem men,
then we need more priests
and fewer policemen.

Non-Catholic Catholics

Apologetic Catholics

Some Catholics
like to apologize
for being Catholics.
Since Catholicism
is the truth,
it is foolish
to apologize
for being Catholics.
Since Catholicism
is the truth
then Catholics
ought to let non-Catholics
for not being Catholics.
To let non-Catholics apologize
for not being Catholics
is good apologetics.
To apologize
for being Catholics
is bad apologetics.

Led by the Nose

Non-Catholics say
that Catholics
are led by the nose
by the clergy.
Real Catholics
follow their consciences.
I must admit
that some Catholics
are led by the nose.
These Catholics
who are led by the nose
are not led by the nose
by the clergy.
They are led by the nose
by non-Catholics.
These Catholics
who allow themselves
to be led by the nose
by non-Catholics
ought to be called
non-Catholic Catholics.

A Wrong Way

Non-Catholic Catholics
tell us
that one cannot lead
a Catholic life
in a Protestant country.

The protestation
of Protestants
is not a protestation
against the Catholicism
of non-Catholic Catholics.
It is a protestation
against the lack
of Catholicism
of non-Catholic Catholics.
Non-Catholic Catholics
are giving to Protestants
a wrong view
of Catholicism.
To give to Protestants
a wrong view
of Catholicism
is not the right way
to make Catholics
out of Protestants.

Catholic Principles

have principles
but Catholics
have more principles
than Protestants.
But principles
must be applied.
To have principles
and not to apply them
is worse
than not having any.
Non-Catholic Catholics
fail to bring
Catholic principles
to Protestants
they do not dare
to exemplify
those Catholic principles
that Protestants
do not have.


Non-Catholic Catholics
like to tell
their Protestant friends.
“we are just as good
as you are.”
They ought to tell
their Protestant friends,
“we are just as bad
as you are.”
Their Protestant friends
ought to tell
the non-Catholic Catholics,
“you are not
just as bad
as we are;
you are much worse
than we are
for you are
our imitators,
you are not yourselves.”

Not Liberals But Radicals

The Word Liberal

The word liberal
is used in Europe
in a different way
from the way
it is used
in America.
In Europe
a liberal is a man
who believes in liberty
without knowing
what to do with it.
Harold Laski
accuses liberals
of having used
their intelligence
without knowing
what to do with it.
are too liberal
to be radicals.
To be a radical
is to go to the roots.
don’t go to the roots;
they only
scratch the surface.
The only way
to go to the roots
is to bring religion
into education,
into politics,
into business.
To bring religion
into the profane
is the best way
to take profanity
out of the profane.
To take profanity
out of the profane
is to bring sanity
into the profane.
Because we aim
to do just that
we like to be called

A Letter from Peter

Dec. 28, 1938
Seattle, Wash.

Dear Dorothy:
I arrived in Seattle
safe and sound
except for a couple bruises
on the chin.
We were driving
back to Spokane
from the Jesuit
House of Studies.
Father Robinson,
dean of Gonzaga College,
was the driver.
I was sitting in the back
with a Jesuit scholastic.
Our conversation
was so interesting
for Father Robinson
that he forgot to stop
at a red light
and ran into the middle
of a city bus.
The head of his car
was smashed.
His nose was cut
while his glasses,
which he was wearing,
were not broken.
The Jesuit scholastic
had a cut
above the left eye.
I was hurt
by bumping my chin
against the front seat.
The schools being closed,
I was only able
to talk to the scholastics
in the House of Studies.
It was Bishop White
who phoned Father Robinson
about me being in town.
I am coming back to Spokane
the 9, 10, 11 January.
I spent Christmas in Butte
with Elias Seaman.
With a Catholic Hindu
student in the School of Mines
we went to midnight Mass
at a Croatian Church.
This Croatian pastor
is a great friend
of The Catholic Worker.
I am sending you
a fifty-dollar check,
to help pay the debts.

While in St. Paul
I paid fifty-two dollars
and forty cents
for a 5,569-mile trip.
That trip takes me
from St. Paul to Seattle,
then to Los Angeles,
then to Denver,
then to Omaha,
then to St. Paul.
I can stop
anywhere I want
and it is good
for 150 days.
They intend
to start a Catholic Worker group
in Minneapolis.
It is also a question
of a farming commune.
Father Le Beau
at St. Thomas College,
Father Loosen
at St. Mary’s Hospital,
Sister Helen Angela
at St. Joseph’s Hospital
are great boosters
of The Catholic Worker.
Dr. John Giesen
is actively connected
with a Mexican center.
Dr. Bauer,
a German sociologist,
is now at St. Thomas
and is eager to co-operate
with The Catholic Worker.
Before leaving St. Paul
I made a short trip
to Eau Claire
and La Crosse.
The pastor of Eau Claire
agrees with us:
the youth needs a cause.
A Y. M. C. A. secretary
in La Crosse
is very much in sympathy
with the idea
of an Unpopular Front
on Personalist Democracy.
I found that the reaction
to The Catholic Worker propaganda
is very favorable.
There was very little talk
either about Franco
or Father Coughlin.
I wish you all
a Happy New Year.
Yours in Christ the Worker,


Looking Backward

In New England

There are three kinds of people
in New England:
the foreigners.
the Irish
and the Yankees.
The foreigners of New England
have given up
their own traditions
to keep up
with the Irish.
The Irish of New England
have given up
their own scholarship
to keep up
with the Yankees.
The Yankees of New England
have given up
their New England conscience
to keep up
with the utilitarian, futilitarian
political economists
of the Manchester School
of political economy.
So what can you expect
from New England?

In Louisiana

Waldo Frank says
that America
is a lost continent
and that to rediscover itself
America must go back
to Mediterranean thought.
Mediterranean thought
was brought to Louisiana
by the founders of Louisiana,
but the people of Louisiana
have turned over
the State of Louisiana
to greedy corporations.
The Catholic people
of the State of Louisiana
had to have
a Baptist lawyer
by the name of Huey Long
to save them
from the grip
that greedy corporations
had on the Catholic people
of the State of Louisiana.

In Texas

Spanish Franciscans
went to Texas
when Texas was part
of Old Mexico.
Spanish Franciscans
taught the Indians
to build churches,
to build schools,
to build mission-storehouses.
The ruins of those churches,
the ruins of those schools,
the ruins of those mission-storehouses
can still be seen
in the State of Texas.
But the Catholic people
of Texas
are not interested
in the ideology
of the Spanish Franciscans.
They are interested
in keeping up
with the Yankees.

In California

The Yankees were not able
to make wage-slaves
out of the Indians.
The Yankees used to say:
“A good Indian
is a dead Indian.”
By combining cult,
that is to say liturgy,
with culture,
that is to say literature,
with cultivation,
that is to say agriculture,
the Spanish Franciscans
who went to California
succeeded in making willing workers
out of the Indians.
The Catholics of California
have not found the way
to do for the Catholic unemployed
what the Spanish Franciscans
did for the Indians.
In the meantime
the people of California
are looking for a panacea
at the expense
of the taxpayers.

Going to the Right

Frey of the A. F. of L.
says that the Communist Party
is pushing Roosevelt
to the left.
The A. F. of L.
does not know enough
to push Roosevelt
to the right.
Going to the left
is going towards
the Industrial Socialism
of Stalin.
Going to the right
is going towards
the Rural Communism
of the Franciscan Founders
who founded Rural Communes
in what are now
the State of Texas,
the State of New Mexico,
the State of California.

Turning to the Church

When I was in St. Louis
I met a Maryknoll Father
who had recently returned
to the United States
after eight years in China
as a Maryknoll Missionary.
He is pleased to see
that non-Catholics
in the United States
are much more curious
about the Catholic Church
than they were
before he left for China
ten years ago.
While modern nations
give the sad spectacle
of going back on their word,
intelligent people
are turning to the Church
as the one moral security
left in the world.
Father McSorley,
great friend of
The Catholic Worker,
has always favored
the opening of small offices
where non-Catholics
curious about the Church
could receive information.


Prostitution of Marriage

Birth control
is not self-control.
What is not self-control
is self-indulgence.
What is self-indulgence
is prostitution of functions.
Prostitution in marriage
is prostitution of marriage.
Prostitution of marriage
is prostitution plus hypocrisy.

Prostitution of Education

To educate
is to elevate.
To elevate
is to raise.
To raise wheat
on a piece of land
is to enable
that piece of land
to produce wheat
instead of weeds.
To raise men
from the animal state
to the cultural state
is to educate men.
The teaching of facts
without understanding
is a prostitution
of education.

Prostitution of the Press

Modern newspapermen
try to give people
what they want.
ought to give people
what they need.
To give people
what they want
but should not have
is to pander.
To give people
what they need.
or in other terms,
to make them want
what they ought to want,
is to foster.
To pander
to the bad in men
is to make men
inhuman to men.
To foster the good in men
is to make men
human to men.

Prostitution of Politics

The Republicans say:
“Let’s turn the rascals out.”
The Democrats say:
“Let’s turn the rascals out.”
The Republicans
call the Democrats
The Democrats
call the Republicans
For the Republicans
as well as
for the Democrats
is just profitable business.
By making a business
out of politics
have prostituted
the noble calling
of politics.

Prostitution of Property

All the land
belongs to God.
God wants us
to be our brother’s keeper.
Our superfluous goods
must be used
to relieve the needs
of our brother.
What we do for our brother
for Christ’s sake
is what we carry with us
when we die.
This is what the poor are for,
to give to the rich
the occasion to do good
for Christ’s sake.
To use property
to acquire more property
is not the proper use
of property.
It is a prostitution
of property.

Prostitution of the Theatre

What applies to the Press
applies also
to the Theatre.
In the Middle Ages
the Theatre
was considered
as an efficient way
of preaching,
They liked to produce
Mystery Plays.
They aimed to preach
and not to pander.
Pandering to the crowd
has brought the degradation
of the theatre.
The Theatre started
in the Church.
The Theatre has ended
in the gutter.

Prostitution of Art

In the Middle Ages
the artists
were not called artists,
they were called artisans.
When the artists
were artisans
they had the community spirit.
They had the community spirit
because they believed
in the doctrine
of the Common Good.
Now that the artists
do no longer believe
in the doctrine
of the Common Good
they sell their work
to art speculators.
As Eric Gill says,
“they have become
the lap-dogs
of the bourgeoisie.”

The Road To Communism

Paraguay Reductions

In a book entitled
The Magic Mountain
Thomas Mann has a character
who has become a Jesuit
after having been a Marxist.
As a Jesuit
he could understand Communism
much better
than he could understand it
as a Marxist.
In Paraguay
the Jesuits established
a Communist society.
Part of the land
was held individually.
The other part,
known as God’s land,
was cultivated in common.
The produce was used
for the maintenance
of the aged,
the infirm
and the young.

Proudhon and Marx

“Communism is a society
where each one works
according to his ability
and gets
according to his needs.”
Such a definition
does not come from Marx;
it comes from Proudhon.
Proudhon wrote two volumes
on The Philosophy of Poverty
which Karl Marx
read in two days.
Karl Marx wrote a volume
on The Poverty of Philosophy.
Karl Marx
was too much of a materialist
to understand the philosophical
and therefore social value
of voluntary poverty.

The Sixth Column

We Catholics believe
what Dualist Humanists believe,
that there is
good and bad
in men
and that men
ought to express the good
to get rid of the bad.
We Catholics believe
what Orthodox Jews
and Quakers believe:
the Fatherhood of God
and the Brotherhood of Men.
We Catholics believe
what Fundamentalists believe:
Virgin Birth
and Redemption through Christ.
We Catholics believe
what the other believers believe
plus beliefs
that the other believers
don’t believe:
Papal Supremacy
and the Universal Church.

The Catholic Worker
stands for co-operativism
against capitalism.
The Catholic Worker
stands for personalism
against Socialism.
The Catholic Worker
stands for leadership
against dictatorship.
The Catholic Worker
stands for agrarianism
against industrialism.
The Catholic Worker
stands for decentralism
against totalitarianism.

On Specialization

Ten years ago
I asked a college professor
to give me the formulation
of those universal concepts
in the universal message
of universal universities
that would enable
the common man
to create
a universal economy.
And the college professor answered:
“That is not my subject.”
College professors
are specialists
who know more and more
about less and less
and if they keep on specializing
they will end
by knowing everything
about nothing.

A Negro student
had a father
who was a Baptist minister.
The Baptist minister
gave to his son
Baptist theology
but no science.
And the son
wanted to know science.
In the University of Pittsburgh
the Negro student
learned several sciences
without correlation.
And the Negro student
was complaining
about the University of Pittsburgh
for having failed
to give him
a correlated knowledge.

Henry Adams
went to four American universities
without acquiring
a correlated knowledge.
He went to England
and failed.
He went to France
and failed.
But in France,
looking at
the Cathedral of Chartres
and the Mont Saint Michel,
he realized
that one could have acquired
a correlated knowledge
in thirteenth century France.
And he wrote a book entitled
Mont Saint Michel
and Chartres,
now published
by the American Society of Architects.

Pie In The Sky

Bourgeois capitalists
don’t want their pie
in the sky
when they die.
They want their pie
here and now.
To get their pie
here and now
bourgeois capitalists
give us
better and bigger
commercial wars
for the sake of markets
and raw materials.
But as Sherman says,
“War is hell.”
So we get hell
here and now
because bourgeois capitalists
don’t want their pie
in the sky
when they die,
but want their pie
here and now.

Bolshevist Socialists,
like bourgeois capitalists,
don’t want their pie
in the sky
when they die.
They want their pie
here and now.
To get their pie
here and now,
Bolshevist Socialists
give us
better and bigger
class wars
for the sake
of capturing the control
of the means of production
and distribution.
But war is hell,
whether it is
a commercial war
or a class war.
So we get hell
here and now
because Bolshevist Socialists
don’t want their pie
in the sky
when they die,
but want their pie
here and now.

Bolshevist Socialists
as well as
bourgeois capitalists
give us hell
here and now
leaving us the hope
of getting our pie
in the sky
when we die.
We just
get hell.
Catholic Communionism
leaves us the hope
of getting our pie
in the sky
when we die
giving us hell
here and now.