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Thursday, September 07, 2006

A Christian Anarchy

Anarchism n. the theory that all forms of government should be replaced by voluntary cooperation 2. resistance, sometimes by terrorism, to government
Anarchy n. [an-, without + archos, leader] 1. The complete absence of government 2. political disorder and violence 3. disorder; confusion

Anarchy and Christianity by most understandings are total opposites but Day constantly maintained that the she and the movement were both. It seems like an oxymoron until you read it in her words.

Anarchism and nihilism are two words familiar to the young and now attractive to them. They do not believe in building a new society within the shell of the old. They believe that the old must be destroyed first. That is nihilism. In a way it is the denial of the "here and now." Perhaps St. Paul defined The Catholic Worker’s idea of anarchism, the positive word, by saying of the followers of Jesus, "For such there is no law." For those who have given up all ideas of domination and power and the manipulation of others are "not under the law." (Galatians 5). For those who live in Christ Jesus, for "those who have put on Christ," for those who have washed the feet of others, there is no law. They have the liberty of the children of God.
On Pilgrimage - Our Spring Appeal" By Dorothy Day The Catholic Worker, May 1970

I believe Maurin and Day envisioned a world where everyone acted on their conscience, but it was a conscience shaped by the Gospel and the Church. Voluntary cooperation, yes, but all men cooperating in love. Ideally, a society of saints, however, given our nature we are doomed to struggle amongst one another. Day felt these struggles were sacrifices to overcome, not cause to judge or restrict an individuals freedom.