From The Distributist Review
By Mark and Louise Zwick
How can the Church tolerate us?
Although she could be very critical in private of the failings of churchmen, Day generally avoided or downplayed direct criticism of clergy in the Catholic Worker. Although this reticence was considered a weakness by some, especially in later years when general Catholic inhibitions against such criticism broke down, Day held to the view that Catholic religious owed obedience to their superiors and that lay persons should concentrate on positive social action rather than on attacking the Church and its leaders. When a group of activist Catholics in Los Angeles wrote her complaining of opposition from the hierarchy there, she replied” [in a letter in 1963]:
We must follow where the spirit leads. So go ahead, and don’t look for support or approval. And don’t always be looking for blame, either, or see opposition where perhaps there is none. It is judging the motives of others.
I had a conversation with John Spivak, the Communist writer, a few years ago and he said to me, ‘How can you believe? How can you believe in the Immaculate Conception, in the Virgin birth, in the Resurrection?’ I could only say that I believe in the Roman Catholic Church and all She teaches. I have accepted Her authority with my whole heart.
What does faith have to do with social concerns?
Almost from its beginnings, the movement’s adherence to traditional Catholicism has been misunderstood or dismissed as a curious anomaly. Secular radicals and many Protestants have often considered it a baffling or irrelevant hindrance to the movement’s admirable social views. The historian Lawrence Veysey, for example, is one of those who have considered the movement’s churchly orthodoxy a strange, marginal quirk: the Catholic Worker, he declares, ‘insisted on maintaining a tenuous tie with the Catholic Church.’
Saints and sinners in all ages
Hold onto your joy! Remember the words of Jesus: ‘I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.’
Don’t let a Church scandal screw up your chances for spiritual happiness. Do not lose your joy because of the sins of others; that would be a form of self-sabotage.
There have always been bad people in the Church: bad popes, bad bishops, bad priests, bad men and bad women. Despite them, decide to be joyful, no matter what.
My advice to anyone who is fed up with the Church is this; Don’t let anyone steal your joy!
Jesus taught us to reject the sin but love the sinner and we all must try to do that.
So don’t forget to make an act of contrition now and then for your own faults and failings. No one is without sin.
Also, never abandon the Eucharist. Forfeiting this wonderful gift would be the worst act of self-sabotage for Catholics.
And pray often, Lord, ‘I do believe, help my unbelief!’
Hold onto your joy!
Mark and Louise Zwick founded Casa Juan Diego in 1980 to serve immigrants and refugees. Over 50,000 immigrants have stayed at least one night in the Houses of Hospitality. The Zwicks received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice award from the Holy Father and the Jefferson award in Houston for their work. They are also the publishers of Houston Catholic Worker, a bi-monthly newspaper.