By Dorothy Day
The Catholic Worker, May 1933, 4 (First Issue)
Summary: States that the purpose of the paper is to articulate the Church’s social program and to popularize the Popes’ social encyclicals. (DDLW #12).
For those who are sitting on park benches in the warm spring sunlight.
For those who are huddling in shelters trying to escape the rain.
For those who are walking the streets in the all but futile search for work.
For those who think that there is no hope for the future, no recognition of their plight - this little paper is addressed.
It is printed to call their attention to the fact that the Catholic Church has a social program - to let them know that there are men of God who are working not only for their spiritual, but for their material welfare.
FILLING A NEED
It’s time there was a Catholic paper printed for the unemployed.
The fundamental aim of most radical sheets is the conversion of its readers to radicalism and atheism.
Is it not possible to be radical and not atheist?
Is it not possible to protest, to expose, to complain, to point out abuses and demand reforms without desiring the overthrow of religion?
In an attempt to popularize and make known the encyclicals of the Popes in regard to social justice and the program put forth by the Church for the “reconstruction of the social order,” this news sheet, The Catholic Worker, is started.
It is not as yet known whether it will be a monthly, a fortnightly or a weekly. It all depends on the funds collected for the printing and distribution. Those who can subscribe, and those who can donate, are asked to do so.
This first number of The Catholic Worker was planned, written and edited in the kitchen of a tenement on Fifteenth Street, on subway platforms, on the “L,” the ferry. There is no editorial office, no overhead in the way of telephone or electricity, no salaries paid.
The money for the printing of the first issue was raised by begging small contributions from friends. A colored priest in Newark sent us ten dollars and the prayers of his congregation. A colored sister in New Jersey, garbed also in holy poverty, sent us a dollar. Another kindly and generous friend sent twenty-five. The rest of it the editors squeezed out of their own earnings, and at that they were using money necessary to pay milk bills, gas bills, electric light bills.
By accepting delay the utilities did not know that they were furthering the cause of social justice. They were, for the time being, unwitting cooperators.
Next month someone may donate us an office. Who knows?
It is cheering to remember that Jesus Christ wandered this earth with no place to lay His head. The foxes have holes and the birds of the air their nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head. And when we consider our fly-by-night existence, our uncertainty, we remember (with pride at sharing the honor), that the disciples supped by the seashore and wandered through corn fields picking the ears from the stalks wherewith to make their frugal meals.