Karen House Catholic Worker
Shouting Out and Digging In
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1840 Hogan St.
Saint Louis, MO 63106
Why This Issue:
Increasingly, those of us in the Catho1ic Worker community working on the local
Nuclear Weapons Freeze campaign have found ourselves haunted by a set of questions. What is the relationship between this task of education/community organizing and our prophetic stance against the arms race? As we petition outside Busch Stadium, do we allow our understanding of the fundamental roots of the violence of the arms race to slide past others?
In the wake of Archbishop Hunthausen's decision not to pay his war taxes and the growth of the St. Louis Covenant Community of War Tax Resisters, how can one not mention tax refusal at a local Freeze house meeting? Are we betraying the Gospel call to be among the poor by workinq for a Freeze while the neighborhood around us deteriorates and the streets fill with evermore desperate people? These questions have prodded us to set aside some of the business of the Freeze campaign, and publish a late and expanded--but we hope, timely- Spring/Summer issue of The Round Table.
We explore the deeper unity we sense underlying our works to end the arms race.
Prophetic action, moments of resistance, and personal witness create political and moral space into which many peop1e may step with their-first, tentative movements.
To lament that people are only taking first steps is to limit the power of God to
work through our prophetic acts. Rather we believe that God calls us to welcome
every change of heart and every ac t of good will, however small, as the first fruits
of a new Spirit.
Also at stake in the set of questions prompting this issue is our understanding
of what radical change means. Change at the roots, We believe, calls for some “digging in" as well as "shouting out." Activity is radical as long as it invites people to profound conversions of heart and human history; and conversion, as we all know, is not a one-step process. Our fears of mixing with those who can only take first steps speaks more of our insecurity than our integrity.
Understanding that sometimes one must go to the people most entangled by thorny questions in order to unravel some wisdom, we interviewed Randy Kehler, National Coordinator of the Freeze Campaign, who spent two years in prison for draft refusal and who cooks at Karen House on Thursday nights. Mary Ann McGivern, S.L., with her years of experience with the economics of militarism, looks at the economic roots of the arms race and identifies the problem as the primacy of ownership, otherwise known as greed.
Bill Ramsey's letter to his children explains why he refuses to file his federal income tax forms until there is a Freeze. Then, Bill Miller, whose music and persistent smile have fueled Clergy and Laity Concerned’s witness at General Dynamics for years, reflects and concludes “not the one or the other.” He offers a prose poem on the 1982 annual meeting of General Dynamics. The book, The Fate of the Earth, and the film, The Last Epidemic, are reviewed by a mother and a daughter Childress, respectively. Virginia Druhe, who doesn’t “get out" as much as most of us, culled some selected quotes from the taped remarks of Phil Berrigan, Dorothee Soelle and Molly Rush, who have visited St. Louis in recent months, and offers her reflections on daily resistance to Violence.
There is, of course, news from our three houses. And, just in case we forget the faces that compel all this action and reflection, there is a photo essay of Cass House by Zack Davisson.
A look at the Gospels demonstrates that Jesus himself took people as he found them and not as he wished they would be. The crucial question seems to be, whether we are doing hospitality, Freeze organizing or civil disobedience, are we inviting conversions of heart and history in ourselves and others?
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