Catholic Workers’ protest justified
Letter to the Editor | Friday, March 30, 2007
Many ask if the Catholic Worker movement have the right to speak out against the injustices of our world? The movement is more than an organization that “does good work with the poor and oppressed” but participates in “needless and unproductive protests,” such as the prayerful demonstration that occurred Monday.
The Catholic Worker movement was founded by Dorothy Day, who spent portions of her life imprisoned for her radical call for love in the world. Can we claim the Catholic Workers violated their “appropriate place within the Church” when Day, the most influential person for the Catholic Workers, protested and even criticized the Church at times?
Notre Dame has an influential voice for the Church in America. It is important that Notre Dame’s stated Catholic values agree with the programs they support. The presence of an ROTC program on campus, although may not directly support “any war that the United States enters into,” does support war by providing the military with well-trained leaders.
John Kenneth Galbraith claims, “There remains the need to counter the presumption by the military power that war is an inevitable aspect of human existence.” Simply because war is the easiest solution does not mean it is innate to human existence. Peace takes courage and love of enemies, both ideals Notre Dame upholds.
The Catholic Workers have a right and duty to protest at Notre Dame. Unlike many, they care about others whether or not “they are affected at all by there being an ROTC program here.” The Workers’ concern for others implies a radical love about issues that do not directly affect them because their radical mission is to love their enemies.
The Catholic Workers, although not always favored by the Church, have been a voice of Jesus’ message to love our enemies. The Catholic Workers have every right to remind Notre Dame of their duty to not support ROTC, which supports war.
Was the Catholic Workers’ demonstration “needless and unproductive?” We may say that their prayer and demonstration may never change anything, but when has anything but a small group of committed individuals ever changed anything?