The Catholic Worker Movement

On Conscience

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The articles for the On Conscience theme were compiled and prepared by Nicholas Fustos (Westminster College, PA) and Angela Lahr (Westminster College, PA)

1948 January

On Pilgrimage,
(DDLW #486)
Meditation on the spiritual weapons of voluntary poverty and manual labor. Lists work to be avoided and personal practices of nonparticipation while exploitation in labor continues. Calls for decentralized living. Recommends growing in acceptance of God's providence and seeing good in others. Reflects on silence during Advent, a time of waitning and a time to examine one's conscience, a time "to see only what is loveable."

1948 June

"All the Way to Heaven is Heaven" (DDLW #159)
First of a series of articles on distributism (see DOC #160 & DOC #161). Against the backdrop of harsh city life she points to life on the land as a way to find zest in life. Distributism is a third point of view, neither Communism or capitalism. "The aim of distributism is family ownership of land, workshops, stores, transport, trades, professions, and so on." Recommends reading Belloc and Chesterson as an introduction to it.

1954 April

"Are The Leaders Insane?" (DDLW #664)
Passionate condemnation of the hydrogen bomb tests and industrial preparation of nerve gas for war. Upholds the supremacy of conscience and challenges each person to resist as they are able. Quotes spiritual writers in an effort to strengthen her faith and reduce fear.

1963 July

"On Pilgrimage - July/August 1963" (DDLW #805)
Goes to Danville, Virginia, and describes the brutality of the police against demonstrators. Speaks at a spirited prayer meeting devoted to civil rights. Ties civil rights to education, jobs, health care, and averting war. Participates in picketing. Says, "We all have something to give." Notes the death of friends.

1965 December

"On Pilgrimage - December 1965" (DDLW #248)
Discusses freedom of conscience and obedience to Church and State in the context of Vatican Council II's condemnation of nuclear war. Lauds the "little way" of St. Therese as the foundation of world peace and a means of social change.

1970 May

"On Pilgrimage - Our Spring Appeal" (DDLW #500)
Appeals for help and answers the question "What is it all about, this Catholic Worker movement?" Describes the Catholic Worker as a school, a family, and a community of need. Says they are anarchist-pacifist, which is distinguished from nihilism. Asserts the primacy of conscience and "The most effective action we can take is to try to conform our lives to the folly of the Cross, as St. Paul called it." Keywords: Catholic Worker philosophy, non-violence