What the Catholic Worker Believes

December 1st, 2009

What the Catholic Worker Believes

The Catholic Worker believes

in the gentle personalism

of traditional Catholicism.

The Catholic Worker believes

in the personal obligation

of looking after

the needs of our brother.

The Catholic Worker believes

in the daily practice

of the Works of Mercy.

The Catholic Worker believes

in Houses of Hospitality

for the immediate relief

of those who are in need.

The Catholic Worker believes

in the establishment

of Farming Communes

where each one works

according to his ability

and gets

according to his need.

The Catholic Worker believes

in creating a new society

within the shell of the old

with the philosophy of the new,

which is not a new philosophy

but a very old philosophy,

a philosophy so old

that it looks like new.


The Duty of Hospitality

People who are in need

and are not afraid to beg

give to people not in need

the occasion to do good

for goodness’ sake.

Modern society calls the beggar

bum and panhandler

and gives him the bum’s rush.

But the Greeks used to say

that people in need

are the ambassadors of the gods.

Although you may be called

bums and panhandlers

you are in fact the Ambassadors of God.

As God’s Ambassadors

you should be given food,

clothing and shelter

by those who are able to give it.

Mahometan teachers tell us

that God commands hospitality,

and hospitality is still practiced

in Mahometan countries.

But the duty of hospitality

is neither taught nor practiced

in Christian countries.


Christianity Untried

Chesterton says:

“The Christian ideal

has not been tried

and found wanting.

It has been found difficult

and left untried.”

Christianity has not been tried

because people thought

it was impractical.

And men have tried everything

except Christianity.

And everything

that men have tried

has failed.


Feeding the Poor at a Sacrifice

In the first centuries

of Christianity

the hungry were fed

at a personal sacrifice,

the naked were clothed

at a personal sacrifice,

the homeless were sheltered

at personal sacrifice.

And because the poor

were fed, clothed and sheltered

at a personal sacrifice,

the pagans used to say

about the Christians

“See how they love each other.”

In our own day

the poor are no longer

fed, clothed, sheltered

at a personal sacrifice,

but at the expense

of the taxpayers.

And because the poor

are no longer

fed, clothed and sheltered

the pagans say about the Christians

“See how they pass the buck.”

This entry was posted in Faith and Poverty, Health Care, Mobilization for Health Care for All, Spirituality & Centering Prayer. Bookmark the permalink.

Are We Cells in a Mystical Body? Center Update 2018

December 24th, 2018

As many of you know, I am a social justice geek. I compulsively read and think about social movements, and have been doing this for a long time, and am now considered a specialist in the field commonly referred to … Continue reading

House Journal 2017

January 22nd, 2018

It is amazing that the Trump election and inauguration was over a year ago. The Center for the Working poor (aka the Center), has been dramatically affected by these cycles of Trump and the protest movement. In the weeks after … Continue reading


January 9th, 2017

Many have asked how I am feeling after Trump was elected to President of the US. The largest natural disaster in my lifetime just hit my community. It reminds me of both the day after my father died in my … Continue reading

Click Here to Kick Glenn Beck Off the Air: Web Activism’s Big Wins—and What to Do Next

August 5th, 2013

You may find the original article in Yes! Magazine or read the full text below. It was also published on Truthout.org. Click Here to Kick Glenn Beck Off the Air: Web Activism’s Big Wins—and What to Do Next Monday, 24 … Continue reading

Climate of Change: What Does an Inside-Outside Strategy Mean?

August 5th, 2013

I wrote this article with my brother Mark Engler about strategy in the movement to combat climate change. It was published in Dissent magazine and Truthout.org. You can read the complete article below or read it on Truthout.org: Climate of … Continue reading

Keeping the flame alive: an appeal for our movement and community

December 18th, 2012

Dear Friends, In our journey to build a more just, a more democratic, and a more sustainable world, there are many challenges: cynicism, fear, despairs. But this holiday season, we are lifted up by the words Dr. Martin Luther King … Continue reading

Christmas Update From Paul Engler & The Center

December 17th, 2012

The Center for the Working Poor, (aka the Burning Bush Community), continues to share in the wonderful mix of serving the poor, communal living, prayer and meditation, and nonviolent movement organizing that distinguishes our beautiful home. In addition to delivering … Continue reading

The Rise of 99Rise | The Nation

November 5th, 2012

By Isabelle Nastasia The impact of the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission allowing unlimited and anonymous campaign spending has been profound and could yet be decisive in this election. With an estimated $9.8 billion … Continue reading