I unexpectedly surfed in on the London Catholic Worker website and, immediately, sniffed an oxymoron hiding away. There was not much about the site that appeared to be Catholic and, I suspect, none of them are workers, in my sense of the word anyway.
In case you think I am guilty of misjudging them, here is their own entree...
We are a community of the international radical Christian ‘Catholic Worker’ movement. The Catholic Worker is Catholic, ecumenical, pacifist, communitarian and anarchist in the spirit of gentle personalism. The London Catholic Worker was brought together by the action of the Jubilee Ploughshares in 2000. Those who came together had long sensed the need for a Catholic Worker community of hospitality and resistance in the world’s second imperial city. Our work is now made up by two houses of hospitality, a community café and a drop-in soup kitchen, and continue to focus our resistance on the ‘war on terror’, British nuclear weapons and the arms trade. We hope and pray others will be inspired and want to be part of our vision and our work.
Mmm, already I feel a wave of deja vu rolling over me at the use of tired old words and phrases....the "war on terror" meaning, Britain's fight against terrorists in far flung places such as Afghanistan and Iraq, except that, in their context they mean that the British and Americans are the terrorists.....and what does "We are a community of the international radical Christian Worker Movement mean? Has anyone from LCWM stopped to analyse such gobblydegook? radical Christian ‘Catholic Worker’ movement. The Catholic Worker is Catholic, ecumenical, pacifist, communitarian and anarchist in the spirit of gentle personalism" actually mean?
So, being a workers movement and being Catholic one might reasonably expect an image or prayer of even a mention of St Joseph - patron of all workers. Of course, there is nothing about St Joseph on the site. In fact, other than a rather dated symbol of the risen Christ on the top right hand corner, there is nothing of religious imagery to be seen.
And in terms of what they actually do, it is all rhetoric about saving Julian 'Wikileaks' Assange and his young friend Bradley Manning. Lots of demos and protests against war and injustice, but not a sign of a rosary group to save unborn children.
Special emphasis given to getting the alliance troops out of Afghanistan but not a word about the horrors of the Taliban or how they abuse and denigrate women.
I find it quite hard to believe that such simple minded souls exist in our society today. Are they just plain naive or plain gullible. Is there some more sinister anarchical element at work? Has the organisation been infiltrated by extremists? How many of them are card carrying Catholics?
One thing is certain, they are definitely in need of our prayers.