Catholic Worker odds & ends
Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "personalist" journal:
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"The function of government is to govern as little as possible. The funciton of the governed is to be intimidated (governed) by government as little as possible."----Virgil Thomson, American composer.
"States are like men in that their vigour and prosperity do not last forever; they mature, they grow old, they succumb...Many ancient kingdoms and many rich republics which governed the world have been exstinguished so completely that nothing now remains of them but the memory of history; and many powers which are at present great were nothing in reputation or in name only a little while ago."-----Michele Soriano, A.D. 1561.
"Ever since the Nuremberg trials, international legal authorities had moved to formally condemn the physical and psychological abuse of the powerless. In 1948 the United Nations General Assembly emphatically stated in its Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 'No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.' The following year, the third Geneva Convention reiterated this fundamental commandment: 'No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of amy kind.'----from THE DEVIL'S CHESSBOARD by David Talbot, Harper, Collins, 2015
War is the Health of the State|
"...as (C.Wright) Mills pointed out, the 'continual preparation for war' was also the main factor holding together America's power elite. Or in the mordant observation of Randolph Bourne as the United States plunged into the epic madness of World War I, 'War is the health of the state.' Foster (John Foster Dulles, Sec. of State in the Eisenhower administration) who always acted in the interests of the American establishment, understood this. It was this permanent war fever that empowered the country's political and military hierarchies and enriched the increasingly militarized corporate sector. It was the very lifeblood of this ruling group's existence---even if, in the atomic age, it threatened the existence of humanity."---from The Devil's Chessboard by David Talbot
The Power Elite|
"The real truth...is that a financial element in the larger centers has owned the Government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson."----Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
"I met Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin---though Peter was sick even then, and I couldn't talk to him---who started the movement for the love of God and their brothers in Him. I met gentle Jack English, who took care of the kitchen and cooking and (I always thought) did a lot to hold hot tempers checked. I met Dave Mason, who is big and jolly and always made me think of Santa Claus, but who can think and write so clearly about the evils of a society which has grown away from God and our need to go back to Him. And Tom Sullivan, who has an Irish temper but who knows how to feel the tragedy of Mott Street in the people who live there and yet sees the beauty of another kind of poverty for love of God. And Bob Ludlow, who wrote of pacifism, and who, I was sure, only God could have made a pacifist, for he seemed more like one of those revolutionaries who sacrifice everything for the Ideal, at last even the Ideal itself, and leave their footprints in the sands of time in blood-----Helen Caldwell Riley, (1926-2013), COLOR EBONY, Sheed & Ward, 1952
What the Catholic Worker means to me.|
What did the Catholic Worker mean to me? What does it mean to me now? I believe it became my image of Chistian life: to live with poor people, with few possessions of one's own, sharing food and drink and clothing and shelter, practicing all the "works of mercy," praying, crying out against injustice, working "for clarificaiton of thought," and enjoying the immediate company of a diverse and colorful community....We lived according to no rule, or out of any book except, in some ways (we hoped) , the Gospels, and---as Dorothy liked to say---a novel by Dostoevsky. No matter. I do tend to think of that life as exemplary. The Worker was a community in voluntary poverty, a surprisingly difficult ideal even to strive for, let alone to achieve. The Catholic Worker has over the years made it possible for many of us to live this life for a while and perhaps to achieve at least aspects of it later on in other places.
That such a life is possible, that it has in it much enjoyment, intellectual interest, congeniality, and spiritual learning---though it can often be confining and stressful----is knowledge that has stayed with me and helped me not to be afraid. The Catholic Worker is still a powerul presence in my life and remains my ideal, however little realized. Judith Gregory, Sept. 2, 1996
10 by John---a book review from THE CATHOLIC WORKER, Dec. 2015|
10 by John, Poems by John Stanley/ Corentine Books, P.O.Box 23, Hobart, New York 13788./ Reviewed by Edmund J. Egan.
John Stanley, actor, writer, World War II veteran, Greenwich Villager, Catholic Worker, has given us, in his ninety-fourth year, an elegant booklet of poems, culled from a large trove of verses, entitled "10 by John." It is published by Corentine Books, alian Robert Steed, whose fine abstract painting adorns the cover he designed.
This selection shows forth varied modes of form and subject matter, but as a whole the poems are filled with anger, eloquence and compassion. The author manifests disdain for the respectable and powerful, while showing great empathy for the so-called "ordinery" human condition.
The poem "The Devouring Class" occasioned at the death of a very old and very rich heiress, shows an uncommon kind of angrilly visceral rebuke of the "filthy rich." Stanley's unabashedly vitriolic fury is as powerful as it is unusual.
On the other hand, in his evocation of street life in the Village, the poet's description of young men variously comporting at play, manages to be at once celebration and dirge.
In the linguistically rich and original imagery of these poems, there often lurks an ominous aspect of the world's surfaces and crevices. Sunlight
is seen "to hoch a clot of yellow light," "soot piles up day and night in the cracks and corners" and "one last sparrow, broken-winged is waiting for the cat."
Redemption comes, however, in the pushing forth of spring, and in sudden flashes of something like ecstacy. And, in fact, the poems' moments of celebration display an emphatically Dionysian sensibility. "Appolonian" aspects of order, measure and conformity are seen as a pall shrouding the life-force and the chance of love.
In this capacious ranging of poetic imagination, John Stanley has given us a fearful human landscape, met with both anger and affirmation.
Walter Kerell & Alfred Chester|
"The rift in the Alfred/Arthur menage had occurred when a good-looking American named Walter Kerell arrived in Paris and fell in love with Alfred. Temporarily besotted himself, Alfred barely managed to stammer out to Arthur an implausible lie to cover up his leaving for a tryst in London with his new lover, and since Walter too had a wife, the escapade caused a rift there, too." ----from page 161 of Edward Field's THE MAN WHO WOULD MARRY SUSAN SONTAG, Pub. by U. of Wisc. Press, 2005
Alfred Chester was an American novelist and critic. and Walter Kerell was business manager & assoc. editor of The Catholic Worker from 1959 until the mid to late 70s. He was also my friend. Robert Steed
"Ammon, one might say, is an American peasant, though we in America dislike the word. Ammon is not only an American peasant, he is an Americn salesman. He likes selling things, whether they are Fuller brushes or corn flakes, both of which he sold to help him pay his way through college. He was so good a salesman of his book, 'Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist,' that it is now out of print.
Ammon will tell you the story of his life at the drop of a hat, because he feels that so much of it illustrates what he is trying to convey in the way of ideas. I may be crediting him with a virtue which he does not possess, but it seems to me that there is a profound humility too, in Ammon's talk of himself. Like all prophets he has a keen sense of the emergency---'now is the time' ---and that what each man does now is going to have its effect on history. With Peter Maurin this meant constant repetition and terseness of expression in the written word. With Ammon this humility meant 'What I can do, every man can do, if he will put fear far from him.' Ammon often says that he has the virtue of courage and knowledge, but lacks love; he knows how critical his attitude is about others. It is true he judges, but without malice.
Ammon;s autobiogaphy deals with two periods of his life, the time he spent in jail during the First World War and how he came to be a 'one man revolution.' There is then a period of his life when he married, built a house, raised two daughters and earned a living as a social worker. He never ceased, however, being an agitator. At the coming of peacetime conscription however, he reufsed to register, and due to the breakup of his family, and the passing of the withholding tax, he became a wandering migrant worker. It is this part of his life that makes up the second part of his writing.
There is much to clarify in his thinking and writing. He uses words too loosely. When he rejects such words as 'law and order' he is rejecting the disorder of the modern world. He himself desires the law and order of God; he is a follower of the Sermon on the Mount. When, as an anarchist, he talks of freedom, he is saying the same things as St. Paul did when he talked of the liberty of Christ and----'for such there is no law.' When he talks of anarchism and the rejection of authority he does not realize that he, more than any I know, accepts the authority of the functional society, though not of the acquisitive. When he, like most Americans, reacts against the word 'obedience' he is really reacting against 'obeisance' and the lack of the recognition of the dignity of man and his conscience. but of all the men around The Catholic Worker he is the most obedient to his duty, his work, his daily routine, and the needs of others who call upon him for help.
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