Thursday, January 28, 2016

Personalism: Dignity of the Human Person

Joy and Hope booklet from  the Institute of that name, mentions in one of the articles, encyclicals of the last few centuries, and Pope Francis' Laudatio Si. They restate the Church's understanding of the social gospel and our Christian values.
 
Personalism and  concern for the individual are all important, and the author mentions the work of a number of priests who were leaders in the co-operative movement:  Jose Maria Arizmendiarrieta  in the town of Mondrag√≥n, Rev. Michael Coady and Jimmy Tomkins  in the Antigonish Movement in Canada, and in 1890 the movement by Don Lorenezo Guetti the first cooperative founded in Trentino, Italy.

He then introduces us to  Peter Maurin: Prophet in the Twentieth Century, a book translated into Korean last year.   He was a founder of the  Catholic Worker Movement in the United States with Dorothy Day and was considered Dorothy's mentor. He failed in many of the programs he tried to implement but left behind round-table-discussion groups, houses of hospitality, farming communes, and other programs. He died a pauper but is respected as an outstanding Catholic layperson.  

He was born in France  and joined the Christian Brothers. He left them and was attracted by  the Sillon Movement  in France, which aimed to bring Catholicism closer to the ideals of the French Republic, but he left them because of their lack of concern for what he thought was the spiritual. His call to military service and his opposition to war prompted his leaving of France for Canada and later for the United States where he worked in the movement for Catholic workers with which he was familiar in France.

He lived a very difficult and poverty filled life. He found the church in the United States lukewarm, and receiving no help began a house of hospitality for ten women without homes as a cooperative. He joined  Dorothy Day, a journalist, a woman with radical ideas with whom he began the Catholic Worker newspaper which used the encyclicals of Pope Leo XIII,  Rerum Novarum,  and In the 40th  Year an encyclical  issued by Pius XI as resource material for their paper.

Briefly, he was against all movements and systems from above that used force and was promoting movements that relied on personal responsibility. He would  be considered a Catholic anarchist by many for he would oppose industrialization. He wanted everything to come from below, the responsibility of everyone and wanted the church to be a dynamic leader in the movement. His Easy Essays promoted these ideas. 

EASY ESSAY - WHAT MAKES MAN HUMAN
1. To give and not to take
that is what makes man human.
2. To serve and not to rule
that is what makes man human.
3. To help and not to crush
that is what makes man human.
4. To nourish and not to devour
that is what makes man human.
5. And if need be
to die and not to live
that is what makes man human.
6. Ideals and not deals
that is what makes man human.
7. Creed and not greed
that is what makes man human.

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