Jan 19 2018

What If L.A.’s Homeless Population Were A City? Temporary Trailers for 67 Persons As A Short Term Solution? Homeless Deaths Doubled–All Pitiful.

 This LINK is to an excellent Op-Ed piece that appeared in the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, January 16.

An excerpt:
“Fifty-seven thousand eight hundred. That’s approximately how many people are homeless in Los Angeles County on any given night. If they all came together, they would constitute a city the size of (suburban) Arcadia.

What would such a city look like? What can we say about its residents, its health, its future?

If we walked through Homeless City, we would see that more than two-thirds of its residents are male. Four of every 10 people we meet would be African American — many more than in the surrounding areas, where only 9% of residents and 12% of those living in poverty are African American.

We wouldn’t get very far before being struck by the children of Homeless City. One of every 10 city residents is a child. We ought to be particularly worried for these 5,370 youths because experiencing homelessness as a child powerfully predicts later homelessness.”


This LINK is to Mayor Garcetti and the City Council’s solution to end homelessness. A very pathetic and shamelful response to say the least in one of the nation’s wealthiest cities. Obviously the poorest of the poor in Los Angeles mean little to nothing to Los Angeles city officials.


This LINK gives the grim and shameful story of the more than 800 homeless people who died on Los Angeles County streets and in shelters during 2017. This is morally wrong and unacceptable in the wealthiest nation in human history. May God have mercy on U.S.

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/01/19/what-if-l-a-s-homeless-population-were-a-city

Jan 12 2018

We Welcome Back our “Washington Clippers” Foot Care Team

Each January, for two weeks, four to six beautiful, wonderful, and amazing women from Olympia, Washington, travel down to the LACW to care for the feet of the Skid Row poor and homeless. This week they began their ministry and have a fully booked schedule each day Tuesday – Saturday from 7:00 am until noon. Welcome back Rev. Kathleen, Maggie, Saima, Cheryl, Nancy, and Judy.

In photos are: above left, Cheryl, above right, Maggie, left, Rev. Kathleen, right, Saima; below left – Judy. below right – Nancy.

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/01/12/we-welcome-back-our-washington-clippers-foot-care-team-2

Jan 04 2018

2018 Summer Intern Program Applications Now Available

Applications for the 2018 LACW Summer Intern Program are now being accepted. This year’s summer program will begin on Monday, July 2 and end on Saturday, August 11.

To learn more about our Summer Program see our INTERN OPPORTUNITIES page.

You can download an application HERE or e-mail info@lacatholicworker.org or call 323-267-8789 to request one along with any questions you might have. Closing date is March 27.

Please complete and either e-mail it to info@lacatholicworker.org or mail it via USPS to:
L.A. Catholic Worker, 632 N. Brittania St., Los Angeles, CA 90033-1722, Attn: Summer Intern Program.

Notification of acceptance will be in early to mid April at the latest.

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/01/04/2018-summer-intern-program-applications-now-available

Jan 03 2018

Response To Tom Cornell’s Article on Christian Nonviolence

Since Tom Cornell’s article on Christian Nonviolence: Theory and Practice (PDF) was originally published in the New York City Catholic Worker newspaper–The Catholic Worker–there has been a strong response from Catholic Workers around the world who disagree with Tom’s position. Below are seven (7) PDFs of each response thus far. More will be added when submitted.

Ciaron O’Reilly Response

Michele Naar-Obed Response

Bernard Survil Response

David Eberhardt Response

Jim Forest Response

Scott Schaeffer-Duffy Response

Mark Colville Response

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/01/03/response-to-tom-cornells-article-on-christian-nonviolence

Dec 22 2017

Christian Nonviolence: Theory and Practice

“Christian Nonviolence: Theory and Practice” — an essay by Tom Cornell.

Tom Cornell is a longtime editor of The Catholic Worker newspaper and former co-founder of the Catholic Peace Fellowship. In a slightly different form his essay was published in the December 2017 issue of The Catholic Worker. With Jim Forest and Robert Ellsberg, he co-edited A Penny a Copy, an anthology of writings from The Catholic Worker.

Christian Nonviolence: Theory and Practice

by Tom Cornell

“To me nonviolence is the all-important problem or virtue to be nourished and studied and cultivated” (Dorothy Day, Diaries, Oct. 1968). And Thomas Merton agreed: “You are right going along the lines of satyagraha [Gandhi’s term for nonviolent action; literally the power of truth]. I see no other way….” Merton held nonviolence to be essential. Nonviolent action embodies a moral truth in response to a serious moral crisis by way of protest and acts of resistance, including civil disobedience, that do no harm, conducted in openness and truth with willingness to pay the legal penalties. Nonviolent action may be acts of witness only, but they may also lead to mass mobilization and real change.

U.S. military troops had been engaged in the Vietnam civil war for five years. Fifteen thousand of them had been killed when, on October 27, 1967, Father Philip Berrigan and three accomplices entered the Baltimore Selective Service headquarters carrying a pitcher of blood. They opened the file cabinets containing the records of men eligible for the military draft and poured the blood over the files. The Baltimore Four, as they came to be known, were convicted six months later on felony charges. Days before they were to stand for sentencing, Philip Berrigan, together with his brother (and fellow Catholic priest) Daniel and seven others, raided the Selective Service offices in Catonsville, Maryland, hauled hundreds of draft files out onto an adjacent parking lot and incinerated them using homemade napalm, hardly a plea for leniency.

On hearing of the Berrigans’ action, we at the Catholic Worker house in New York City were astounded by their escalation of tactics. Philip was a dear friend–he had baptized my daughter the year before–and now I admired his daring, wanting to believe that he had enlarged the boundaries of nonviolent action. Not everyone was so enthusiastic. Dorothy Day, the radical pacifist founder of the Catholic Worker, while not criticizing the Berrigans publicly, remarked pointedly: “These acts are not ours.” Property damage, in her view, was not part of the nonviolent arsenal.

The Catonsville Nine, as they were called, received prison sentences of two to six years. The Berrigan brothers and three others refused to surrender and went underground. Dorothy considered this a major breach of nonviolent principles. Consistent with Dorothy’s reservations, the Catholic Worker newspaper remained largely silent about the Catonsville action and the trial that followed, despite widespread coverage in the mainstream media. (An article in June 1968 was the lone exception.) And in the four decades that followed, we published virtually nothing on the Berrigans and the Plowshares movement that, in 1980, they would help launch. Then we gave over an entire issue to Dan Berrigan on his death.

For the past thirty years or so, Carmen Trotta and I have argued, no, tried to reason together, about Plowshares. Is it genuinely nonviolent? Is it just? Should we encourage, discourage? And, “What would Dorothy say?” These acts may not be ours, but many of the people are, and so many of them so transparently genuine, loving people, not least of them Fr. Dan Berrigan, Greg Boertje-Obed, Michael Walli and Sr. Megan Rice.

The May 2014 issue of The Catholic Worker featured an eloquent tribute to the Transform Now Plowshares, by Patrick O’Neil, entitled “Sr. Megan, Mike & Greg, Thanks!” On July 2012, they had broken into the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, which houses the world’s biggest supply of enriched, weapons-grade uranium. Cutting through four perimeter fences, they reached the site’s Protected Area unobserved, and hammered on the uranium storage structure, while pouring human blood they had brought, and hung banners and crime-scene tape. The action garnered international attention, largely because it exposed the vulnerability of nuclear-weapons sites. So we have come to some kind of terms with Plowshares. But what matters is nonviolence itself.

From the Christian point of view, weapons that are intended to kill the innocent may surely be destroyed in justice. Justice may even demand it. But is it nonviolence? Is it disarmament? Disarmament occurs when people lay down their weapons, not when their weapons are taken from them. That only moves belligerents to procure more and better weapons if they can. When activists destroy weapons, do they effect any conversion or change of heart in their opponents? Do they lead any to lay down their arms? Are such actions what we need?

There are practical concerns as well. The secrecy involved in Plowshares activities invites infiltration by spies and agents provocateurs. Openness and truth must be laid aside. Secrecy breeds suspicion within the group and creates a class system of those “in the know,” the “serious,” and those who merely attend to chores or lend moral or financial support. At trial, too often, it has come out that many “in the know” were actually spies.

A nonviolent army has no cannon fodder. Many in the antinuclear movement have literally put their lives on the line, risking being shot when they entered restricted areas. When Sister Megan was asked about these risks in an NPR interview, she answered that she was perfectly at peace with the possibility of being killed. Straight to heaven for her, no sweat! But how about the young security guard who might be obliged to shoot her? What of his mental and spiritual health after that?

The basis of Christian nonviolence is the same premise that underlies all of the Church’s social teaching: that every man, woman, and child is created in the image and likeness of God. Persons are never a means to an end; they are ends in themselves, and thus are not to be violated in any way, either in body, mind, or spirit. Persons are not disconnected individuals in a war of all against all, as in the capitalist model; nor are they to be subsumed into a larger whole, as in the collectivist model. Instead, all are formed in, by, and for community. Thus Pope John XXIII, in his 1963 encyclical, Pacem in Terris, grounded his hope for peace in human rights. But how to establish and protect human rights? Most people throughout history have assumed this is only possible through physical force. An ancient Latin adage goes, Si vis pacem, para bellum–if you desire peace, prepare for war. That’s like saying, “If you desire grapes, sow briars.” Christian peacemakers would rather say, Si vis pacem, para pacem–if you desire peace, prepare for peace.

Christian discipleship will be judged by the criteria of the Last Judgment: the works of mercy that Jesus describes in Matthew 15. War may be judged by these same criteria, for the works of war are the exact opposite of the works of mercy. Feed the hungry? No, destroy their crops! Give drink to the thirsty? No, poison their wells! Shelter the homeless? No, bomb their village! The weapons of Christian nonviolence include the spiritual works of mercy; again, the works of war are the exact opposite. Instruct the ignorant? No, lie to them! Counsel the doubtful? No, draft them or imprison them! Console the bereaved? Give them more deaths to grieve!
Forgive injuries? Not on your life! Make them pay, ten times over!

Authentic nonviolence must be revolutionary because the social, political, economic order we live under violates the human person in fundamental ways–body, mind, and spirit. The present order is more accurately called disorder. It kills and maims the body by war and by withholding the means to life from the poor. It violates human intelligence because it thrives on lies–truth is always war’s first casualty. And it violates the human conscience, which instinctively shrinks in horror from killing our own. Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, a West Point psychology professor pioneered the conditioning technique known as killology to overcome our natural aversion to homicide, a prime task of military training. Wars can be fought only by stilling the voice of conscience. By contrast, nonviolence recognizes the humanity of the opponent and appeals to “that of God in everyone,” as the Quakers put it–that which the Creator breathed into our first parents and which we all share, even the boss, the landlord, the racist, the oppressor, the warmonger.

In struggle, the nonviolent activist does not seek victory but reconciliation, the redemption of opponents, never their humiliation much less their annihilation. Therefore, the nonviolent activist always allows the opponent a way to retreat with dignity, an honorable way out of any conflict. The principal weapon of nonviolence is dialogue. Genuine dialogue assumes the good faith of partners and avoids invidious language and ad hominem argument. Dialogue may be suspended at an impasse, but resumption is always a goal. The nonviolent armory includes protest, public dissent, noncooperation, and active resistance, but always with the purpose of re-establishing dialogue. Civil disobedience is the last weapon to be used, not the first, and should be undertaken after careful discernment under spiritual direction.

Christian nonviolence is a way of life, not a tactic. Often adopting nonviolence is part of a conversion process. The nonviolent activist is a man or woman of spiritual discipline, who has peace within, for one cannot give what one does not have. In order to practice Christian nonviolence we have to prepare ourselves through study– nonviolence doesn’t come naturally for most of us. Thomas Merton pointed to the superficiality of much of what he saw coming out of the peace movement of the 1960s. The years since have seen worse. We Christians need to recover what our ancestors in the faith knew about peacemaking. And we need a revolution of the heart. To purify our wills we need to pray. To tame our lusts we need self-control, discipline, and fasting in one way or another. Only then can we come to the study of nonviolence with the realistic hope of putting it into useful practice. One need not be a saint, but the intellectually slothful and the self-serving will not make effective nonviolent practitioners. The way of nonviolence must proceed person by person.

At this point, a reasonable objection confronts the pacifist. Jesus counsels that I turn my own cheek, not my neighbor’s. Do we not have an obligation to protect the innocent? Does it not happen sometimes that the only effective way to protect the innocent is by force, even force of arms? Is it not a crime that cries to heaven that the international community did not intervene to stop the genocide in Rwanda and in Sudan? Refusal to support military force in defense of the innocent for reasons of conscience does not extricate anyone from this moral dilemma. Advocates of nonviolence have pioneered peaceful ways to resist aggression or home-grown tyranny. Religious groups such as Maryknoll and the Quakers have long prepared for re-entry into conflict areas in Asia. Other groups such as Christian Peacemaker Teams and Voices for Creative Nonviolence have sent trained activists into conflict areas such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine, and Central and South America as “accompaniment teams” to document abuses and to train others in the work of resistance and reconciliation.

Another response, suggested by Gandhi, is to build up community, creating “cells of good living” in a violent world. This is what Catholic Worker groups, the Bruderhof, and other intentional communities strive to do in ever increasing numbers. All the same, there is weight to arguments for forceful intervention to protect the innocent. The innocent do need protection, and the world as we know it does need a police force. International police action is different from war. It is a perversion that, in this country, the police are being militarized.

There has to be another way. Imagine solid ranks of Catholic conscientious objectors heeding the call of Pope Paul VI at the United Nations on October 4, 1965: “No more war, war never again!” His message was echoed by Pope John Paul II when he addressed the youth of Ireland at Drogheda in 1979: “On my knees I beg you to turn from the paths of violence and return to the ways of peace…. Violence only delays the day of justice. Violence destroys the work of justice…. Do not follow any leaders who train you in the ways of inflicting death. Love life! Respect life, in yourselves and in others. Give yourselves to the service of life, not the service of death…. Violence is the enemy of justice. Only peace can lead the way to true justice.”

The Catholic Church is becoming, if not a pacifist, then a peace church. In his 1991 encyclical, Centesimus Annus, John Paul II again pleaded, “No, never again war, which destroys the lives of innocent people, teaches how to kill, throws into upheaval even the lives of those who do the killing and leaves behind a trail of resentment and hatred, thus making it all the more difficult to find a just solution of the very problems that provoked the war.” And Pope Benedict XVI: “I would like to call out to the consciences of those who form part of armed groups of any kind. To each and every one, I say: Stop, reflect, and abandon the path of violence!” (Angelus message, Jan. 1, 2010). And more: “It is impossible to interpret Jesus as a violent person. Violence is contrary to the kingdom of God; it is a tool of the Antichrist. Violence never serves humanity, but dehumanizes” (Angelus message, Mar. 11, 2012). Let us hear no more, “Yes, but….”

When war is outlawed, as it must be if humanity is to survive its penchant for self-destruction, our progeny will look back on justifications for war with the shame we do today on justifications for slavery by Christian theologians a mere one hundred and fifty years ago. If Christians are not in the vanguard of the war against war, if that is left to nonbelievers, then we will have deserted the field, cowards indeed, and other generations, if there be any, will have to restore the credibility of the gospel of the Prince of Peace and the integrity of his Church. Disarmament must be a top priority. Most people would agree in principle–popes and presidents included–but there is no will to do it. It’s been over fifty years since we had a broad-based disarmament movement in the United States or the world. Meanwhile the nuclear threat has only become more severe as nuclear weapons capability proliferates.

In the Catholic Church, a grassroots peace movement among the laity has been growing–and not just among the usual suspects in the Catholic Worker, Pax Christi, and Plowshares movements. Academic groups such as the Kroc Institute at the University of Notre Dame are contributing too.

Merton again: “The duty of the Christian in this [present] crisis is to strive with all his power and intelligence, with his faith, his hope in Christ and love for God and man, to do the one task which God has imposed upon us in the world today. That task is to work for the total abolition of war” (The Catholic Worker, Oct. 1961).

So let us get to work. The first words I ever heard Dorothy Day speak, sixty-four years ago: “There are great things that have to be done, and who will do them but the young?” No cause is more noble or more necessary. I’m old now; it’s your turn, young people. Pray and study, then get out there!

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2017/12/22/christian-nonviolence-theory-and-practice

Dec 19 2017

United Nations Rapportuer Recently Toured Los Angeles’ Skid Row – Gives A Scathing Report

This LINK and this LINK are to two Los Angeles Times articles on the U.N. monitor on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, who recently toured Skid Row, and in his preliminary report gave harsh criticism on the conditions human beings are forced to live in on the streets of Los Angeles. In above photos, Philip Alston and General Dogon, from Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN).

An excerpt: “The United Nations’ monitor on extreme poverty and human rights said Friday that political will created the hundreds of encampments that he saw lining the streets of Los Angeles, adding that the country is rich enough to end homelessness.

‘But we don’t want to put the money into it,’ special rapporteur Philip Alston, just off a two-week fact finding tour that included downtown L.A.’s skid row, said at a Washington, D.C., news conference. ‘We want to see homeless people as losers, a low form of life.'”

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2017/12/19/united-nations-rapportuer-recently-toured-los-angeles-skid-row-gives-a-scathing-report

Dec 18 2017

Saturday Volunteers Serve With Christmas Spirit

Regular Saturday volunteer Larry Gunsalas brought in a bag of Christmas head gear on December 16, which volunteers wore while serving and voicing Christmas greetings to our guests, which brought smiles to many faces.

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2017/12/18/saturday-volunteers-serve-with-christmas-spirit

Dec 12 2017

Angel City Chorale Performs At Hippie Kitchen

On Saturday, December 9, the Angel City Chorale again made their annual visit to Skid Row to sing Christmas Carols in our dining garden. Everyone from guests eating in the garden to volunteers and community members thoroughly enjoyed the concert. Each year their performance seems to go up a notch. This year, as last, they had a variety of songs from old classics to newer originals. As is the custom, near the end of the concert they spread out among the tables and invited everyone to join in a sing-a-long. The entire hour+ was a wonderful holiday treat. Thank you, Angel City Chorale, for making time to visit our garden and spread the holiday spirit among L.A.’s most poorest. Blessings upon all and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Hope to see you again next year.

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2017/12/12/angel-city-chorale-performs-at-hippie-kitchen

Dec 10 2017

LACW Attends County Burial Memorial For Unclaimed Dead

On Wednesday, December 6, the LACW attended the Los Angeles County Annual Burial Of The Unclaimed Dead, a memorial that has been held since 1896. This year the ashes of 1495 unclaimed bodies of people who died in 2014 were laid to rest in a common grave at Evergreen County Cemetery, in Boyle Heights. For the past few years the attendance has greatly increased, most likely because of press coverage. This year there were more than 200 people who came to pay their respects to those who died with no one to claim their bodies, including an infant. Our longtime friend, fellow activist, and celebrant at our liturgy on the first Wednesday of each month, Fr. Chris Ponnet, presided. (Double click on photos to view in high resolution.)

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2017/12/10/lacw-attends-county-burial-memorial-for-unclaimed-dead

Dec 06 2017

December 2017 Agitator

Here is the December Catholic Agitator

In This Issue:

      • Slow But Steady – Christmas 2017 Appeal by Jeff Dietrich
      • Fighting For Skid Row Toilets, A Matter Of Dignity by Matt Harper
      • Racism And The Lost Cause – Letter To The Editor by Richard Nester
      • Better Know a Volunteer by Sarah Fuller and Theo Kayser
      • At LMU LACW Protest the Air Force ROTC Program by Matt Harper
      • Knowing I Was Loved by Mary Ann O’Connor
      • A Motley Gang Of Holy Daredevils by Marc Gulaya
      • Practicing Compassion by Kaleb Haven
      • Faith And Justice by Iris Vazquez Howard
      • The Demands of Skid Row by Lilian Vasquez

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2017/12/06/december-2017-agitator

Dec 04 2017

St. Paul High School 2017 Walk For Hunger

On Sunday, December 3, St. Paul High School, in Santa Fe Springs, had their 45th Annual March For Hunger, which benefits the LACW. The walk begins at Salazar Park in East L.A. and ends at Santa Monica Beach, a 26+ mile journey. The LACW and a few kitchen volunteers greeted the walkers and gave them key chains five miles into the walk. Eight LACW community members and volunteers also joined on the walk on a gorgeous, sunny, 72 degree day (lower right photo). We thank all students, faculty, parents, and alumni for walking to help feed our guests at the “Hippie Kitchen.” We wish you many blessings and a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2017/12/04/st-paul-high-school-45th-annual-walk-for-hunger

Dec 01 2017

Memorial for U.S. Church Women Martyred in El Salvador

Join the LACW community for a memorial service on Saturday, December 2, 7pm at Mount St. Marys College Doheny Campus in Chapel (near building 15), 10 Chester Place, Los Angeles, CA 90007, Phone: 626-345-1666, to commemorate the 37th anniversary of the four U.S. churchwomen martyred in El Salvador.

The four women — (pictured from top left) Sister Ita Ford, M.M., Sister Dorothy Kazel, O.S.U., lay missioner Jean Donovan, and Sister Maura Clarke, M.M, were, on Dec. 2, 1980, abducted, raped, shot and killed by Salvadoran national guardsmen trained at the U.S. School of the Americas (SOA) in Fort Benning, GA. The murders were part of a brutal pattern of attacks by death squads and members of the Salvadoran Armed Forces against persons working with El Salvador’s poor and war refugees.

The women were killed nine months after the assassination, in March 1980, of El Salvador Archbishop Oscar Romero, also killed by graduates of the SOA with U.S. taxpayer money.

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2017/12/01/memorial-for-u-s-church-women-martyred-in-el-salvador-3