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The RoundTable


Christian Anarchism

Spring 1996


Major Articles

  • Dorothy Day: NeoCon Saint?
  • Christian Anarchism: Q & A – Mark Scheu
  • Radically Rooted in the Land – Brian Terrell
  • Anarchism and Food Stamps – Bill Miller
  • Personalism and Rules – Sue Frankel-Streit

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Regular Features

  • Why This Issue – Teka Childress
  • Cover – Artwork Jeff Finnegan
  • Centerfold –  A Christian Anarchist’s Sermon on the Mount – Mary Dutcher, Scott Stauffer, Jeff Finnegan
  • From Abroad - Human Rights Action Service – Bill Ramsey
  • From Karen House – Mitch McGee
  • From Little House - Mary Ann McGivern, SL
  • Poetry – Michael Bartz
  • Easy Essays – Peter Maurin
  • RoundTable Talk – Ellen Rehg

Why This Issue:

Some time ago, while we were brainstorming for an issue of The Round Table, someone suggested the topic "Has the Catholic Worker vision won out?" She offered this in reference to the budget cuts proposed by the Republicans in their "Contract with America." She was being somewhat facetious, but I was stunned by the comparison.

Well, this last November the American Enterprise Institute published an article by Bill Kauffman who made such a comparison, arguing that Dorothy Day, having little respect for the government programs aimed at dealing with poverty, would have approved of the Republican Agenda. Patrick Jordan, Robert Coles, and Mel Piehl responded to Bill Kauffman's article in the January 12, 1996 issue of Commonweal. We have reprinted it here with permission. These three who knew Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker well, explain the profound differences between Dorothy's vision and that of those making the cuts.

What does all this have to do with "Christian Anarchism: what is it and can it respond to these times"? Dorothy and Peter's vision was not the conservative vision of those in Washington who wish to reduce the power of the government so that individuals have less responsibility and can accumulate great sums of personal wealth. Yet, neither was it a liberal vision which looks to a centralized governmental solution to our problems. So we wanted to elucidate what this vision of a personalist, anarchist solution to our problems looks like and wanted to grapple with the dilemmas it raises. Thus, Mark Scheu takes on the brave job of trying to answer some questions about Christian Anarchism, such as, 'What is it?" and, "How can we limit the monopolization of resources and power into the hands, of a few individuals and corporations without relying on the government to intervene?" Brian Terrell, from the Catholic Worker Farm in Maloy, Iowa, writes about Peter Maurin's vision of living on the land. Brian reminds us that the word "radical" comes from the word "root." Bill Miller talks about the importance of food stamps and questions whether the government might not be necessary for certain things such as that. He advocates the principle of subsidiarity. Lastly, among the articles on this topic, Sue Frankel-Streit wrote a piece in The Little Way, the publication of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in Washington, D.C., which she has allowed us to reprint. In it she describes their community's struggle to give life to personalism by scrapping most of their house rules and replacing them with weekly meetings in which all in the house decide things together. The centerfold contains a Christian Anarchist's "Sermon on the Mount," in part composed and in part collected by Mary Dutcher and Scott Stauffer. The art work is by Jeff Finnegan.

Finally, Mitch McGee writes the Karen House article, describing some of the struggles at the house and what keeps him going. Mary Ann McGivern actually writes this Little House article about the Little House. Bill Ramsey describes the St. Louis Human Rights Action Service and what it's done to respond to political oppression around the globe. Ellen Rehg tells us some of the insights she's gained from being the mother of a newborn in the Round Table Talk. Michael Bartz shares a poem he wrote in honor of Daniel Berrigan's 75th birthday.

We offer these articles on the Catholic Worker vision as pan of the larger discussion on how the Catholic Worker can continue to respond to these challenging times. We are considering initiating a new practice of gathering after each issue of the Round Table to discuss that particular issue. We are discussing this Round Table, Christian Anarchism, ironically, on "Flag Day," June 14th. at 7 p .m, at Karen House in the Community Room. Come join us.

-Teka Childress



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