Issues and Ministry
The Beatitudes direct us, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God" (Matthew 5:9). To this end, we have been active in past and current peace movements. As of late, we have been focusing on protesting drone warfare (particularly at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base) with the Syracuse Peace Council, nuclear weapons (at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base) with the Catholic Plowshares, and the many armed conflicts that continue to rage around the world.
Catholic Workers are committed to nonviolent responses to war and violence. Nonviolent action is not a path for the fearful. What Thomas Merton called, the "nonviolence of the weak" merely complies with evil without resistance. Far from coddling the those who commit acts of violence, the nonviolence of the strong is inconvenient and uncomfortable, and thus forces them to recognize our shared humanity. It requires immense courage to stand, unflinching, in the face of hate. The nonviolence of the strong directly and forcefully reacts to hatred by swallowing it and reflecting love for all.
In his second Papal Encyclical, Laudato Si, Pope Francis reminds us that this pale blue dot where we make our home is like, "a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us." The Pope reminds us that environmental degradation, including climate change, deforestation, air and water pollution, and the biodiversity crisis are not only a matter of politics. They are also religious concerns in that they are largely driven by, "apathy, the reckless pursuit of profits, excessive faith in technology and political shortsightedness," and have profound effects on human well-being. We answer his call for "swift and unified global action," through responsible stewardship for God's creation. In addition to making personal changes in our own lives to minimize our environmental impact, our members also participate in environmental activism and volunteering with organizations such as the Coalition to Protect New York and Groundswell Center.
Works of Mercy
Christ tells us, "For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home...Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, so you do unto me" (Matthew 25:35 & 40). As Catholic Workers, we are called to practice the works of mercy:
Hebrews (13:2) calls us to, "not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." How can we listen to the Christmas story and not be reminded that it is one of migrants. Millions follow in the footprints of the Holy Family in search of a better life to escape the scourges of poverty and war. As Catholic Workers, we are called to see Christ in these migrants without inquiring about their immigration status. We heed this call by working with organizations, including the Tomkins County Immigrants Rights Coalition and Committee on U.S.-Latin American Relations to advocate for the rights of all immigrants and extend them kindness along their journeys.