The Catholic Worker Movement

The Mystical Body and Spain

By Dorothy Day

The Catholic Worker, August 1936, 4.

Summary: Wants both sides in the Spanish Civil war to cease their fighting since all are Members of the Mystical Body of Christ. Appeals for prayer and reminds us we are to love our enemies. (DDLW #303).

“Why do the Members of Christ tear one another; why do we rise up against our own body in such madness; have we forgotten that we are all members, one of another?” –Pope St. Clement of Rome.

On all sides, the controversy rages. Poor blood-drenched Spain is the most talked about subject today. Communists loudly condemn the rebels as Fascists and traitors to their class. Catholics wax indignant over the excesses of the loyalists, and cry “anti-Christ.” Who is right and who is wrong? We are inclined to believe that the issue is not so clear cut as to enable either side to condemn the other justifiably. There is much right and much wrong on both sides.

Our main concern is that the “members of Christ tear one another.” The Spanish people, Catholics for the most part, have been caught in a whirlpool of political ambitions, and are forced to take sides. Following “ideals” set forth by their leaders, they kill and maim and torture their fellow Members. This is not a condemnation. It is a cry of anguish, and the sob of one who sees his brother in agony.

Spain doesn’t need favorable publicity for the rebels. She doesn’t need condemnation of the loyalists. What she needs is the prayers of the rest of the Mystical Body. Pleas to God that Members will stop hating each other. Appeals to His son for an appreciation of the Love that He taught.

THE CATHOLIC WORKER makes this appeal to its readers. Forget your anger. Let your indignation die. Remember only that the Body is being rent asunder, and the only solution is Love. Let’s show ours by humbly praying the Source of Love that He intervene in the cause of the Body of which He is the Head.

You have heard it said, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thy enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies; do good to them that hate you; and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you.”