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Friday, October 20, 2006

Why not for the common good?

Word from Dorothy, emphasis mine.

"Love of our brothers, and voluntary poverty. Those are the things I began to talk about, and those are such fundamental topics that one could not talk about them without getting on to the subject of the modern State and war. The paternalistic state, the servile state, the coercive state that tries to do away with personal responsibility, that builds great institutions to take the place of the family, the parish. The coercive state whose prosperity is founded on preparations for war rather than on work to supply human needs. You get a lot of reading done when you are travelling, and one of the books I read on this trip was "Through Eastern Eyes," by Fr. Von Straelen, published by Grailville, Loveland, Ohio.
The East is not impressed by our great institutions, Fr. Von Straelen quotes a critic as saying. Our orphanages, mental hospitals, homes for the aged, -- all the other great buildings that loom on the horizon mean that there is no longer a loving family, no longer help from friends and neighbors to care for the sick, the orphaned, the cripple, the poor. It is the failure of Christianity that those buildings express, not its successes. ...
And since it all does depend on each one of us, that means that we must each try to have a Christ room in our homes where we can shelter others. Better still if there were an extra floor in our house (Oh those lucky people who live in houses!) that could be turned into a little apartment for a family. The fact of the matter is that so-called Christian people will not rent to families any more. No children allowed! Let them get in a housing project! Let the state, the city, bring that pressure to bear on them to limiting their families! ...
The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light. They build up fortunes and lose them. They bring pipe lines from west to east. They put up gigantic skyscrapers, they build factories, they venture much, not for the common good but for profit. And why not these risks for the common good?"

"On Pilgrimage - November 1951"
By Dorothy Day
The Catholic Worker, November 1951