A Movement of Solidarity and Nonviolence

The Amistad Catholic Worker in New Haven, CT, is one of about 175 Catholic Worker communities in the US, grounded in the gospel, prayer, and Roman Catholic tradition. 

“As Catholic Workers, we strive to follow Jesus in seeking justice for the poor, an end to all wars, and a new way of life grounded not in the endless, exploitation-fueled accumulation of material things but rather based on solidarity, nonviolence, and mutual love,” says the Amistad website (amistadcw. wordpress.com).

“Our sources are the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures as handed down in the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, with our inspiration coming from the lives of the saints, ‘men and women outstanding in holiness, living witnesses to Your unchanging love’” (according to the Eucharistic Prayer). 

The movement got its start in 1933 during the Great Depression, when The Catholic Worker newspaper debuted on New York City streets, and Dorothy Day (1897-1980) and a few others sold copies for a penny, according to the Catholic Worker Movement website (catholicworker.org). 

Movement activists today continue to be stirred by the words of co-founder Day who said, “God meant things to be much easier than we have made them,” and co-founder Peter Maurin (1877-1949) who wanted to build a society “where it is easier for people to be good.”

Positions are spelled out at the Amistad site, including: 

In labor, human need is no longer the reason for human work. Instead, the unbridled expansion of technology, necessary to capitalism and viewed as “progress,” holds sway. Jobs are concentrated in productivity and administration for a high-tech, war-related, consumer society of disposable goods, so that laborers are trapped in work that does not contribute to human welfare. In all areas, moral restraints are run over roughshod, and a disregard for the laws of nature now threatens the very planet. 

• In morals, relations between people are corrupted by distorted images of the human person. Class, race, and sex often determine personal worth, leading to structures that foster oppression. Capitalism further divides society by pitting owners against workers in perpetual conflict over wealth and its control. Those who do not “produce” are abandoned, and left, at best, to be “processed” through institutions. Spiritual destitution is rampant, manifested in isolation, madness, promiscuity and violence. 

To donate to Amistad’s work, see amistadcw.wordpress.com.