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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

St. Joseph was NOT a communist.

First issue of Catholic Worker Distributed May Day in Union Square

"The crowds in Union Square stopped to gaze on May 1, not only at the massed parades, blary bands, and various red banners, but also at the caption, The CATHOLIC WORKER, being displayed and distributed everywhere. Communists who make soap-box speeches were frankly shocked at its appearance, refuting as it did their claim that the Church is interested only in squeezing money from the people to send to Rome. Even more surprising to them was the revelation that Catholicism has a definite social program to aid the worker.

One old Italian, turned Communist because of unemployment and near starvation, remarked after reading a copy of our paper, "Ya know, da Church, she wanta help us after all. I t'ink I drop da red flag an' take up da ross again."

Some comments, of course, were not favorable. A young fellow, unshaven, his hair almost to his shoulder, and wearing a variety of red ribbons on his coat, reminded the writer of a scotch terrier that had won a half dozen second prizes at some kennel show. Glancing at our title, he muttered, "Aw, ya can't fool us . . . you're just tryin' to put the comrades we've liberated under the yoke of capitalism again."

If only he bad taken the trouble to look over our program he would have realized that that is exactly what we are not trying to do. We are entirely in sympathy with demands for better labor conditions, decent wages, and unprejudiced justice. We who edit and contribute to this sheet are unemployed ourselves, barely eking out an existence. Yet because of our desire for better conditions we see no reason for renouncing Christianity-the religion that has helped and elevated mankind for nearly 2,000 years.

Although the Communists may not as yet be aware of it, they witnessed in Union Square on May Day the inception of a new struggle for social justice. A germ of more than mere passive interest was planted in the minds of many who either read The CATHOLIC WORKER or saw its headlines displayed.

As soon as the worker realizes that the Church Militant is interested in man's welfare as well as his soul, he will stop to consider before embracing Communism and its atheistic ideas. The Scriptures, history, tradition and common sense will tell him that without God there is neither happiness, security or prosperity, either in men or in nations."

"The Listener"
By Dorothy Day
The Catholic Worker, June-July 1933, 1, 5.