Monday, December 19, 2011


POSADA ANNUAL 2011 (Posada: home, dwelling, lodge)

COMITE TIMON (Steering Committee of the New Sanctuary Movement, Milwaukee of Voces de la Frontera – Immigrant Workers Center)

I found participating in the planning for our annual Posada uncomfortable but rewarding. Columbians, Mexicans, Heritage latinos, and Milwaukeeans don’t see the Christmas story the same way. (Heritage latino: one born in the U.S. who learns the language and traditions from immigrant latino parents and grandparents) We had lots to sort out: Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem, Wise men, Shepherds, Sunday of the Holy Family, the presentation in the Temple, Our Lady of Guadalupe. Again we asked: what is a Posada, a novena, the Rosary – is it necessary, what songs do we sing, how does it relate to our work, can we do it?

Sanctuary Coordinator and recent U.W.M. graduate Nancy Flores was our discussion leader. Nancy, a young, heritage latina, led us deftly through the maze, and we came up with a plan. The successful plan was only possible with the wise counsel of moms and grandmothers, members of the “Comite.” One was a mom – grandmother whose son was deported to Mexico and was killed. Another was a woman whose husband had been deported and left her with a large family of children and grandchildren. They recounted past Posadas here and in Mexico and explained what they meant. From experience they knew the Christmas story.

It was a chilly December night and forty of us left the office of Voces and processed four blocks to a neighborhood community center called “Bucket Works.” It was cold and windy, but our candles were protected by cups and we wore our winter clothes. We were accompanied by children, two of them dressed to represent Mary and Joseph on their trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census mandated by the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus. Mary was with child expected to be born in Bethlehem.

We walked singing hymns in Spanish. Nancy and the Grandmas led; they knew the words. A tall young heritage latino man also knew the words. He took time off from the “Recall Walker Campaign” to be with us.

When we reached our destination, half the group went inside and the other half remained in the cold including Mary and Joseph. Those outside pleaded entrance. After a sung dialogue the outsiders were allowed to enter.

“Entren santos peregrines, reciban este Rincon no de esta pobre morada sino de mi corazon.” (Come in holy pilgrims, not to this poor house but to my heart.) Gradually more people with children joined us.

We read the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke. Father Alvaro of the Old Catholic Church read a reflection prepared by Nancy. The reflection noted that Mary and Joseph represent the immigrants of today. It is our duty to welcome all into our community.

One of the moms was asked to share a recent close call. She recounted that she had been stopped by the police for going through a stop sign while driving out of a grocery store parking lot. The police followed her a few blocks before they stopped her. She claimed that she did not go through a stop sign, and the officer evidently agreed, but gave her a ticket for not having a drivers’ license. A very dangerous incident; she thanked Voces and Sanctuary for support.

THEN SOME PRAYERS: (My translation)

Our Father, in heaven, make present here the joy intended for us.
Greetings Mary and pilgrims; you bring the chance for salvation.
Glory to God, and thanks to God for the joy of sharing with family.

A Madrina, godmother, for Mary’s baby was chosen. The baby will be consecrated to the Lord by the family and the Madrina in February.

It was time for the Piñata. The kids’ patience paid off. A big second grader smashed the hanging plaster of Paris image and candy sprayed everywhere. The second grader’s great-grampa, Jim Cusack was delighted.

We celebrated eating tamales, prepared by the grandmothers, and drinking hot chocolate. One of the moms I talked to said she was appreciative of the Posada, but was concerned for the safety of her daughter, the Voces Director, who was in Alabama for a march to the Alabama Capital, Montgomery.

Festivities were closed by singing happy birthday to one of the moms.

When we arrived home there was an e-mail waiting from one of the Voces people who was in Alabama. “I find myself in Montgomery, Alabama after a wonderful national march in opposition to the worst anti-immigrant legislation in the nation, bill HB 56.”

Good work, hermano, God is with us. ¡Si, se puede!

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Lessons and Carols, December 2, 2011

Church of the Gesu Milwaukee, WI (The church was named after the founding Jesuit church in Rome: Chiesa del Santissimo Nome di Gesu – Church of the Holy Name of Jesus.)

The Christmas concert at Marquette was beautiful – an attempt to put new life into tired myths was laudable. The concert was held in the upper church of the Gesu. This is the “Upstairs Church” of theologian and N.C.R. columnist Jamie Manson. (A distinction she made at the 2011 C.T.A. Conference. Upstairs = formal and in conformity; downstairs = pastoral and politically challenging). The hymns were in English, and impeccable Latin. The student choir was mostly white. I did notice one African American singer and a few Asians in the large choir that I guess was over one hundred students.

I doubt that a concert of such Roman Catholic magnitude could have been done at Marquette when I first arrived as a freshman in 1953. John Walsh, S.J.’s theatre productions were as skilled or more so, but the resulting catharsis was not directed by official Roman Catholic theology. Walsh’s life changing Masses in the basement church are another story, but the place did bring back memories. I remembered the basement church of my student days with renewed Faith and joy. Let’s call it the church of Yeshua – the homeless Jewish handyman from occupied Galilee.

It was liturgy in the round. Music and readings were from the four directions encircling the church. Participation of the congregation was requested and achieved. As a dry Mass, the concert was structured as a dramatization of the battle between good and evil. The singing began with a traditional English Carol, “The Lord Did Adam Make,” explaining creation and original sin. The “good” wins by Jesus shedding his Blood. (E’en So, Lord Quickly Come) Finally victory is confirmed with an outstanding rendition of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” from the Messiah.

The result was beautiful but troubling. The congregation was walled in the church by the four directional music and readings. We participated, but did not question. It was a liturgical retro return to cultural - theological Vatican dominance.

It fits, of course. The Marquette sports symbol is the Golden Eagle, the same as the Roman Empire (see The Roman Empire executed Jesus (Gesu), but the fundamentalist theology that explains the Stations of the Cross claims that Rome is innocent. The 1st Station (“Via Crucis” – Way of the Cross) on the eastern wall of Gesu Church shows the Roman Governor Pilate washing his hands of the execution. Rome is sanctified. The Jews were blamed as is presented on the 9th Station on the west wall where men of the Torah denounce Jesus (Gesu) after he falls.

A white male priest in a clerical suit with a Roman collar gave the final blessing. There was no “ita missa est” (go the mass is ended) charge to change unjust political structures. The handyman’s “Good News” that peace is possible through non violent political action was left to boil over from downstairs.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Joanne & I went to see the movie “The Way” with friends. The film features Martin Sheen on a pilgrimage to Compostela in Spain. The Sheen character achieves spiritual healing with the journey. We were all impressed with the message, acting and the scenery. (Is Sheen related to – an ancestor of Bishop Fulton J….. ?)

But Compostela is a shrine to a Christian victory over the Muslims in the 9th century C.E. The victory is credited to the help of Santiago - St. James. Who is the St. James of the legend makers? Is he the Apostle James the Greater, brother of John; is he the leader of the early Christian Jerusalem community? Is he the author of the Epistle of James – brother of Jesus? Can we say yes to all of the above? Legend relates that St. James preached in Spain, and returned to Jerusalem to be martyred. His remains were sent on a boat to northwestern Spain. They were found at Compostela and his ghost aided in defeating the Muslims. Santiago is often depicted in statues on a white horse with a sword raised in battle to kill Muslims. Santiago de Compostela is also referred to as Santiago Matamoros – St. James the Muslim killer. A town in Mexico is named Matamoros after St. James.

The pilgrims in Sheen’s movie achieved spiritual healing through love. But to what extent is it healing if it is not based on truth? The pilgrims in the movie suppressed part of the story. Santiago de Compostela is a shrine to the killing of enemies, and has nothing to do with love - Charity. Without truth is the movie a romantic cover up of hatred?

Sunday, November 20, 2011


From the U.S. Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.”

The Declaration was approved in 1776, but what does “equal” mean? At its conclusion Native Americans are described as “merciless Indian savages” – obviously not “men” and equal. The law of the land, the Constitution, was ratified in 1788. Slaves, women, Native Americans and non property owners were not guaranteed the right to vote. Only white male property owners, 16% of the population, could vote.

Lincoln said in the 1863 Gettysburg address that the U.S. political dedication to equality was an “unfinished work.”

Then there was the cry of Liberty, Fraternity, Equality – the cry of the French Revolution 1789.

The heritage that U.S. 1776 rebels were struggling against is described by Samuel Fielden in a brief autobiography written in the Cook County Jail as he awaited hanging for the Chicago Haymarket riot in 1886. He was one of eight labor leaders convicted of murder in one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in U.S. history. As an immigrant from England, Fielden had great expectations. He wrote, “My elder brother … he was quite radical in his views … it was a constant torment to him to debase himself before his master (employer) as lackeys were compelled to do in England. Now one of these means of debasement was being compelled to put his hand to his cap, in fact to bow down to Gesler (his employer). Thus must the proletariat bow the knee to the ‘bourgeoisie’ or starve, and some people call this liberty of contract.” (The Autobiographies of the Haymarket Martyrs, Philip S. Foner, ed. Monad Press, New York 1977, p. 144)

Fielden as a young mill worker in England supported the North in the U.S. Civil war even though the war cost them jobs in the cotton mills. English workers cheered the Northern victory, but experiences and observations on a trip to the South after emigrating to the U.S. forced some second thoughts for Fielden. In his autobiography he states, “… the Negro was held in as absolute bondage as he was before the war.” (Ibid. p.151) Does equality refer to status, class, religion, income or all of the above?

From the beginning, Catholic Social Teaching has been about equality. The first social encyclical concerning labor, Rerum Novarum, stated that workers had the right to organize in order to achieve equal status as persons and a living wage. In contrast "liberalism" considered workers as a commodity to be bought and sold at the lowest price.


The Call to Action conference in Milwaukee was so much better than I expected. When I saw the brochure I guessed it would be simply a hierarchy-bashing fiesta – a piñata for those nostalgic for Vatican II. It was that, but the conference was saved by three outstanding speakers - scholars, Marcus Borg, Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz and Jamie Manson.

The attack on Wisconsin workers was not mentioned in the brochure. Not surprising. Catholic response is muted by the priority of churchy “Social Issues” e.g. women’s ordination, abortion, gay rights, contraception, translation of the Roman Missal, Roman Catholic identity for hospitals. Both conservatives and liberals focus on these issues with a strong sense of purpose. Should Roman Catholic identity be defined by these “Church Social Issues” rather than by The Condition of Working People (Rerum Novarum)?

In my opinion, Church pronouncements on real social Issues are ignored. It seems that Benedict XVI’s Caritas in Veritate just gathers dust. If this Encyclical were an attack on gay rights, it would have been widely read. Right wing Catholics would be saying, “I told you so,” and the left would righteously denounce another ridiculous pronouncement. Both sides would generate lots of print and rhetoric while labor rights would continue to be forgotten, and the church hierarchy would continue to wallow comfortably in tired myths.

It is interesting both Catholic liberals and conservatives are concerned about immigration reform, but not how it relates to labor unions, e.g. a Guest Worker Program or the Employee Free Choice Act – EFCA. The challenge and fear of labor unions perceived by both the right and left in the Roman Catholic spectrum make alliances more difficult. Is there a point of convergence in that Latinos put life into the tired myths in the fight for social justice? For example, Milwaukee Voces de la Frontera – New Sanctuary Coordinator Nancy Flores, with the help of her mother and grandmother, have designed vigils of protest and prayer in such a way that even the “hueros” (non Latinos) are proud to be “Guadalupanos,” (activists devoted to Our Lady of Guadalupe) as a “comunidad de base.” (Medellin, Rerum Novarum) A “Comunidad de base,” could be a workers association not necessarily a labor union but a group that works with labor unions for social justice.

I was reminded at the Call to Action round table discussion of the keystone of Roman Catholic Social teaching. I asked, what is the most important document of Catholic Social Teaching? The response was, Rerum Novarum, which gives the rationale for workers right to organize. I agreed; all flows from this point. Before it could be mentioned that John Paul II declared Labor prior to Capital (Laborem Exercens, Part 12) and that labor unions are an “indispensible element of social life” (Ibid. Part 20), the group dispersed for a protest rally. The Milwaukee Catholic Worker group had organized a march and demonstration to protest Marquette Universities sponsorship of the R.O.T.C.

Call to Action keynote speaker Jamie Manson pointed out that her “church downstairs,” a type of “comunidad de base” that doesn’t need to be sanctioned by the hierarchy, has emerged, and is the Church of the future. Manson explained that at the church in New York where she ministers, she is not officially recognized as a priest or official of the church in the “upstairs church liturgy” because of her gender. In the “downstairs church,” at the community meal for the homeless, she has status from the people as a respected minister. This is the new church that is emerging, a “comunidad de base.”(Medellin) A step towards equality; isn’t it time to just forget about the hierarchy?

Another Call to Action keynote speaker, scripture scholar Marcus Borg, helped put Christian action into perspective by noting that the Jesus movement was in opposition to civilization as established by empires throughout history. Jesus, the Palestinian Jew, opposed the Roman Empire and was executed. Borg explained that the empire was for the benefit of the few in control. In resistance, Jesus enjoyed community meals with the alienated.

According to CTA speaker Angie O’Gorman, the best of capitalism follows the dictum of John Stuart Mill, “the greatest good for the greatest number.” Is this really acceptable for the ancient prophets and the Jesus movement? Before he was hanged as one of the Haymarket Martyrs in 1887 labor leader, Albert Parsons, wrote from the Cook County Jail,

“For the greatest good to the greatest number anarchy substitutes the equal right of each and everyone.” “Anarchy is the extension of the bounds of liberty until it covers the whole range of wants and aspirations of man-not men, but Man.” (Ibid. p. 43) “Privileges are none: equal rights for all. Liberty, Fraternity, Equality.” (Ibid. P. 56)

Does income equality mean a level playing field for all in the race for riches? C.T.A. Sunday speaker Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz explained the principle of solidarity in terms of relationship and cooperation as opposed to equality in competition. Fraternity – Sorority is a form of love – compassion, not a method of fair competition for happiness measured by riches. Ms. Isasi-Diaz mentioned the attack on worker rights in Wisconsin and the massive May Day marches organized and sponsored by Voces de la Frontera.

As stated above, a problem for both liberals and conservatives is for Catholic Social Teaching to remain relevant and present. Let us consider an example from the past. During the transition stage to Vatican II, Pius XII, in 1943, watched in silence as the Jews of Rome were sent to Auschwitz yet he made a major pronouncement on the Sacrifice of the Mass.

Gerald Ellard, S.J. commented and quoted Pius XII in his introduction to Pius XII Encyclical Mediator Dei:

“Pope Pius XII affords us, in his customary charge to Rome’s Lenten preachers, what might be called an annual ‘pastoral’ for Rome. That for 1943 dealt at length with the nature and efficacy of prayer and the Mass at the center of the Christian life. ‘The greatest, the most efficacious, and holiest of piety is the participation of the faithful in the holy Sacrifice’ (March 13, 1943).” (Encyclical Letter, Mediator Dei, of Pope Pius XII. With notes by Gerald Ellard, S.J. America Press, 1948, p. 9)

In the Encyclical (Mediator Dei November 20, 1947) Pius XII states, “We ourselves in the course of our address to the Lenten preachers of this gracious city Rome in 1943, urged them warmly to exhort their respective hearers to more faithful participation in the Eucharistic sacrifice.” Ibid. p.15.

The slaughter of the “unequal” Roman Jews was not remembered. Their existence and the memory of their existence were blotted out.

This blog is a review of Catholic Social Teaching with a reference to current events. We are now moving from the beginning documents into the transition stage before Vatican II.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011



shema yisra’el Adonai ’elohenu Adonai ’ehad. Duet. 6:4
Hear, O Israel, Adonai is our God, Adonai is one.

An opinion: elohenu is the God of nature, the philosophers – e.g. Aristotle’s uncaused cause, Stephen Hawking’s big bang and final crunch. elohenu retaliates with anger and requires sacrifice.

Adonai reveals a presence; Adonai is the Father – Mother of all; Abba of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the prophets. Adonai supports the struggle for justice; advocates and acts for the poor. Adonai is truly only one.

The model, the documents and comments listed are based on notes taken at a seminar in the summer of 03 given by Dr. Christine Firer Hinze of Fordham University, formerly of Marquette University and recognized expert on the work of labor priest John Ryan. (1865-1945) The seminar was one of many graciously given by Dr. Hinze for interns and other labor associates of the Faith Community for Worker Justice in Milwaukee. Dr. Hinze also participated in the annual “Labor in the Pulpits Program.” The New Sanctuary Movement of Voces de la Frontera now sponsors “Predicatores de Justicia” for the May 1st Labor Day since the Faith Community for Worker Justice of the Milwaukee Labor Council folded.

Some additions and deletions were made to Dr. Hinze’s notes. As the discussion continues more changes will be made. Notable points are listed, but it is recognized that such an abbreviation does not really represent the richness and complexity of the Encyclicals.


1891  Rerum Novarum, Pope Leo XIII, Workers’ right to organize.

1919  Program for Social Reconstruction, U.S. Bishops: Value international & interdenominational cooperation- also, equal pay for equal work for women.

1931  Quadragesimo Anno,  Pope Pius XI: Principle of subsidiarity.


194I –1952  Social Documents, of Pope Pius XII.
1941 Whitsuntide Message,  Pvt. property has social responsibilities.

1943  Xmas Message, Democracy & Peace,  “Corporate” democracy OK. Distrust of “masses.”

1949 To the Representatives of the International Union of Catholic Employers
Associations,  Reaffirm Q.A. Nationalization of assets, with limits, to
protect common good.

1950  To the International Congress of Social Studies, Balance of production with consumption a key issue - free mkt. not the answer. Workers ancient feudal bonds
similar to modern wage slavery.

1952  To the Italian Catholic Association of - Owner Managers: Principle of Solidarity.

1952  Letter to 39th “Social Week” Dijon, France,  Free market does not produce distributive justice.

1952  Radio Address to Austrian Catholics, Overcome class struggle by organic
coordination of employer & employee.

1952  Exul Familia,  Right to migrate.

1952  Xmas Message,  Unrestricted production is not the answer to unemployment.
Advocates international solidarity.

1952  Letter of Mons. Montini (future Pope Paul VI) to Catholic Social Week in Turin, Italy, : Addresses worker alienation. Advocates worker, employer solidarity.

1961 Mater et Magistra,  Pope John XXIII, Social duty of private property, Cf. Pius XII.
Part 1, 41-43. Values collective bargaining. Part 2, 91.

1963 Pacem in Terris,   Pope John XXIII, (John XXIII added, for the first time the salutation "and to all men of good will.")  Dignity of the person is the basis of human rights. Part 1, 8. Right to migrate reaffirmed. Part 1, 25

1963 – 1965 Council Fathers with Pope Paul VI

1964  Unitatis Redintegratio. (On Ecumenism), Advocates cooperation with “separated brethren” on social issues. C. II,12

1964  Lumen Gentium, (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church), The Spirit dwells
in the people. C. I, 4

1965  Gaudium et Spes, (Pastoral Constitution on the Church),: Labor right. to
organize & freely elect leaders. Right to strike. (vs. fascist Spain & Franco) #68

1965  Dignitatis Humanae, (Freedom of Conscience), In all activity man is bound to follow his own conscience. #3

1965  Nostra Aetate, (Relation to Non Christians), Although hostilities in past - make common cause for social justice. #2


1967  Populorum Progressio, (On the Development of Peoples), Paul VI: Neo-colonialism a concern. Free trade is fair only if it is subject to the demands of social justice. Part II, 52 – 58. Unjust political and economic structures denounced. Part I, #21.

1967   Medellin, Colombia Documents, Latin American Bishops: Foundation of Liberation Theology – Political and economic structural change advocated. Pope Paul VI's opening address supports change of oppressive systems and structures. "Comunidades de base" recognized. Task of "Concientizacion."

1971  Octogesimo Adveniens, (Eightieth Anniversary of Rerum Novarum,  Paul VI: Women have equal rights to participate in cultural, economic and political life. #13 Preferential Respect for poor.

1979  Puebla, Mexico Documents,  Latin American Bishops: Visiting Pope J.P. II endorses Liberation Theology. Preferential option for the poor.

1981  Laborem Exercens, (On Work), John Paul II: Labor is prior to capital, Labor Unions indispensible.

1986  Economic Justice for All,  U.S. R.C. Bishops: Use of sociological data.

1987  Solicitudo Rei Socialis, (On Social Concern). , John Paul II: In Solidarity, overcome structures of sin for true liberation. VII, 46

1991  Centesimus Annus, (One hundredth Anniversary of Rerum Novarum),1991, John Paul II: The church values the democratic system in so far as it insures the participation of citizens in making political choices. Chapter 5, #46.


2004  Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Pontifical Council for Justice &; Peace, Church doctrine on homosexuality, contraception and abortion is part of the Church social doctrine.
2009  Caritas in Veritate, (Selfless Love in Truth),  Benedict XVI: "Trade union organizations experience greater difficulty in carrying out their task of representing the interests of workers, partly because Governments, for reasons of economic utility, often limit the freedom or the negotiating power of labour unions. Hence traditional networks of solidarity have more and more obstacles to overcome."
Section 25

2011  Towards Reforming The International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority, Pontifical Council for Justice & Peace. Creation of a world political authority to regulate financial markets that cause “inequalities and distortions of capitalist development.”


Paul Lafargue, Karl Marx’ son-in-law, was sentenced to a year in jail for participating in the May 1, 1891 demonstration in Lille, France that turned violent. While in jail Lafargue won an election to become a member of the Lille chamber of deputies. His inaugural speech “caused an uproar among leftist members who might have otherwise supported him by appearing to support the conservative Catholic Church’s ‘Christian socialism’ and question the rectitude of the left’s commitment to separation of church and state.” (Gabriel, Mary, Love and Capital, Little Brown and Company, New York, 2011, pp. 558 – 561.)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


This blog is an attempt to present Catholic Social Teaching as it developed from Rerum Novarum in 1891 to the present. Some references to current problems are made within the historical context of the documents being considered and the church leaders of the time. In some instances reference will be made to future documents and the radical shift provided by Vatican II.

The topic we are now discussing is: Democracy, Equality and the Simple Life as seen by Pius XII. The previous posting was on Democracy; now we will consider Equality.

Before the posting on Equality, there will be an article on a demonstration in Chicago concerning the Obama administrations “Secure Communities” program.

The next ‘aside’ will be a post listing the major Vatican pronouncements on Catholic Social Teaching since 1891 including Rerum Novarum along with key concepts from the documents.

Protesting "Secure Communities" (from Voces de la Frontera Newspaper, Sept. 2011).

By Bill Lange, New Sanctuary Movement of Voces de la Frontera

On August 18th, Voces members Jim Cusack, Ken Greening and I traveled to the Haymarket Monument in Chicago to attend a press conference held before an Advisory Task Force hearing on “Secure Communities.”

The Haymarket is the site of the 1886 demonstration for the eight-hour day led by immigrant workers. Mounted police attempted to break up that rally and several policemen and some workers were killed. Labor leaders were indicted and falsely accused of murder. Four were hanged, only one of them a native English speaker. They are called the “Haymarket Martyrs.”

But is it any better today? At the press conference, Father Brendan Curran, O.P. of St. Pius V parish in Chicago, lamented the breakup of families with the “Secure Communities” program under the Obama administration. In Milwaukee, Voces is swamped with families looking for loved ones who have been picked up by law enforcement.

The advisory task force hearing took place at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ hall located around the corner from the Haymarket Monument. The meeting started with controversy as some were not allowed into the hall because of capacity restrictions. Jim Cusack of Voces was the first speaker: “It’s outrageous to incarcerate our neighbors – to make them fearful of even going to church,” he said.

Several in the crowd had enough of talking and took to the street. They blocked Randolph Street; buses threatened them, but protesters refused to move. Many were sitting in the street. A group of musicians were drumming as other danced around police who attempted to remove them. Young people with t-shirts reading “Undocumented” shuffled onto the street despite the police and chanted, “We are not afraid, we are not afraid!” Some protesters were arrested, but there was no violent action by the demonstrators.

Jenny Dale of the Chicago New Sanctuary Movement commented, “We should all be inspired by these courageous young people who take to the street in the struggle for justice.”

The next day, President Obama announced major changes to US deportation policy. It remains to be seen if this will actually grant some relief to immigrant workers.

Check this link for article and photos:

Saturday, August 13, 2011



Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is pushing his fascist program as fast as possible. By fascist I mean top down mandates without the voice of the people being heard, mixed in with racism and nationalism. With Walker’s program, public sector workers will have a very limited voice in the workplace. Walker’s budget favors the wealthy over the needs of the poor and children. The budget is a key component in the politics of wealth concentration. A wealthy fascist aristocracy supports Walker, and is attempting to gain more power. The tea party people represent the nationalistic aspect of the new fascism. Fascist racism is also there in the fierce opposition to immigrants. Walker’s budget includes a removal of in-state tuition for undocumented children. An Arizona type immigration bill has been presented by a Walker supporter to the Legislature’s Homeland Security Committee. Unwillingness to confront seriously the poverty and unemployment in central city Milwaukee is again rank racism.

The theme of this blog is a historical review of Catholic Social Teaching with reference to current events, and it will look at the rise of totalitarianism in the 30’s. This is the time of Quadragesim Anno, Pius XI and Pius XII. The Walker program is not the first time fascism has raised its ugly head. Can we fault Pius XI and XII for their blindness in not seeing the horror implicit in fascism? They were not alone. Check out the list of quotes I have assembled. Pius XI's pre-war and Pius XII’s pre-war and war-time positions might be more understandable. Does natural law ethics, the basis of Catholic Social Teaching, survive WW II? Quotes from Catholic scholars and others before the war, during the war, and after the war follow.

In 1946, Saul Alinsky said in his book, Reveille for Radicals,
“Organized religion, organized labor, and all other organized institutions of the people were completely impotent in preventing Fascism and war.” (Work, “Reveille for Radicals – Book Review,” Paul Kalinauskas, February, 1946.)
The question is why? Was all that was needed was Alinsky organizing tactics? 1946 reviewer Kalinauskas says Alinsky was naive. After the war it was easy to see the evils of fascism, but some Catholic intellectuals and officials only partially saw the coming horror.

Natural law philosophers – theologians, religionists fortified by the Ten Commandments, were at sea just as much as enlightenment liberals who claimed Hitler and Mussolini had a right to their opinion and were improving the social and economic situation in their countries.

(July 27, 2011: Voces was swamped with people looking for loved ones picked up by the police, the FBI, the ICE on a drug bust. The innocent are raked in with the guilty – no distinction – thus families separated. To whom do you complain? Kohl, Moore, Barrett are not listening. What happened to the 14th amendment? Is this due process?)

Before WW II
U.S. Attitudes and Political Theory
How does U.S. political democracy make decisions? According to Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, the basis for U.S. democracy is the Declaration of Independence statement, “all men are created equal;” therefore democracy is rooted in nature. However, Lincoln did not believe that a majority vote superseded nature. In his debates with Stephen A. Douglas, Lincoln opposed the Kansas Nebraska Act which would have allowed slavery in those territories if the majority approved.

(From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7-29-11, “Judge declares paid sick-day law ‘over’… In doing so he found the city law, passed by 69% of voters in November, 2008 and upheld by the state Court of Appeals in March, was moot because of state legislation (Walker’s gang) approved in April that voided it.”)

For Lincoln, and WW II President Franklin Roosevelt, the ‘common good’ was the goal of political society. Roosevelt was passionate about democracy, but his political philosophy was not based on the ontology of atomism or simply ‘survival of the fittest.’ He claimed the right wing individualists, ‘economic royalists,’ were the enemies of the people and invited progressives, Republican and Democrat, to work for the common good. The New Deal was an analogue to the Declaration of Independence. At the 1936 Democratic Convention in Philadelphia Roosevelt said:
“Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in the spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.” (Brands, H.W. Traitor To His Class, Doubleday, New York, p. 453.)

In the early days of European fascism it was not clear to the American public that fascism was inherently evil.
“From the time he came to power in 1922, the American press was generally supportive of Mussolini, who was credited with restoring order in postwar Italy and revitalizing its economy.” (Baldassaro, Lawrence, Beyond Joe DiMaggio, University of Nebraska Press, p. 122.)

As for fascism in the U.S., industrialists actually used fascist tactics. “Blackshirts” fought picketers at the 1934 Kohler strike in Wisconsin. Two strikers were killed. (Uphoff, Walter H. Kohler on Strike, Beacon Press, Boston, p. 73.)

(Today we have the Wisconsin recall elections. This is an attempt to save democracy. August 9, 2011, two Walker Senators were recalled.)

U.S. Roman Catholics and Academics
University of Chicago philosophy professor Mortimer Adler, of Jewish heritage, disagreed with his friend Robert Hutchins, President of the University, over the U.S. getting involved in the military war against fascism in Europe. Adler wrote in his autobiography:
“With the onset of the European war, a revival of American isolationism, under the banner of ‘America First,’ enrolled a large following. Among the leaders of that movement were Colonel Lindbergh, Gen. Robert E. Wood (chairman of the board of Sears Roebuck), Bob Hutchins, and Bill Benton, then vice president of the University of Chicago.”

Philosopher Bertrand Russell of England joined Adler and denounced Hitler. Adler claimed his argument against Hitler was supported by ‘natural law’ and, although Russell was correct in opposing Hitler, his argument was weak. Adler wrote:
“Abhorrence of Hitler had caused even Bertrand Russell, not only an avowed pacifist but also a relativist in morals, to advocate taking sides in the struggle because what Hitler stood for was, in his judgment, morally wrong. But my university colleagues would not forsake their skepticism about the objectivity of moral value in order to come out flatly against Nazism as politically and morally outrageous. They were willing and anxious to have us go to war against Nazi Germany, but could not bring themselves to declare that the issue involved rights and wrongs that were not a matter of subjective opinion or entirely relative to the declarant’s prejudices, feelings or point of view.” (Adler, Mortimer J. Philosopher at Large, Macmillan, N.Y. 1977, pp. 217 – 220.)

But before the war, even with a criterion to criticize the status quo, e.g. the natural law and disgust of Hitler, the ambivalence toward fascism as a political system and democracy as practiced in the U.S. and England, was a challenge to Mortimer Adler & Walter Farrell. Farrell was a Dominican priest and recognized as a scholar of the work of Thomas Aquinas. Leo XIII had proclaimed the theology of the 13th century Dominican Friar as the official theology of the Catholic Church.

Adler and Farrell wrote in The Thomist just before the U.S. entered WW II,
“We propose to make a philosophical analysis of democracy. We cannot ignore the fact that this analysis is coincident with a world-wide war which has come to be described as a struggle between the democracies and the totalitarian powers. …We ask the reader to help us by not identifying democracy with the existing governments of England and the United States. …The worst misunderstanding of what we are trying to say would be to suppose our judgment of democracy to be that it is always and everywhere the best form of government for people to adopt. …Far from supposing that democracy is the best form of government relative to every historic situation, we seriously doubt whether in the world today there is any people whose physical, economic, cultural, and moral attainments are yet adequate for the full practice of democracy.” (The Thomist, “The Theory of Democracy,” Mortimer J. Adler and Walter Farrell, O.P. Sheed and Ward, Baltimore, July 1941.)

Before he entered the Trappists, the young Thomas Merton wrote in his diary that he wasn’t so sure about going to war – was the defense of capitalism worth it? For example, he wrote,
“And if we go into the war, it will be first of all to protect our investments, our business, our money. In certain terms it may be useful to defend all these things, an expedient to protect our business so that everybody may have jobs, but if anybody holds up American business as a shining example of justice, or American politics as a shining example of honesty and purity that is really quite a joke.” (Run to the Mountain, The Journals of Thomas Merton, Harper San Francisco, 1996, p. 221) Merton applied for conscientious objector status in March of 1941. (Ibid. p. 361)

Other Catholic academics questioned getting involved in WW II. Jesuit priest, Joseph Husselein, S.J.,Ph.D. wrote in September 1941,
“It is not well for us to presume that the taint of totalitarianism does not exist, to a greater or less extent, in our own English speaking countries under the fair name and the guise of democracy. The teachings of popular professors in secular universities … who logically deny the existence of the natural law … and so derive all rights from the state are merely totalitarian in disguise. They are doctrines entirely subversive of that high ideal built up in the United States by the Founding Fathers on the firm basis of belief in God and consequently in inalienable natural rights from Him alone – rights not given by the state and cannot be taken away by it.” (Husslein, Joseph,S.J., Ph.D. Social Wellsprings, Bruce Publishing Co. Milwaukee, 1942. p. 316.)

There was a Catholic move to conscientious objection based on the common good, the good for all, not a particular nation. Archbishop McNicholas of Cincinnati wrote in a pre-war pastoral letter,
“Will such Christians in our country form a mighty league of conscientious non combatants? The organization of such a league deserves the consideration of all informed Christians who have the best interests of America at heart.”(The Chicago Catholic Worker, “The Case for Conscientious Objection,” Paul Kalinauskas and Ed Marciniak, December 1940, p. 5.)

Conscientious objection would be grounded on human nature, not custom, what works, majority opinion, or might is right. Kalinauskas and Marciniak explain,
“Conscience is a practical moral judgment of the intellect. It is practical because it does not concern itself with theoretical speculation on good and evil but tells man whether or not this particular action may or may not be performed by him, here and now. Men, unlike irrational animals, have been given the faculty of distinguishing between good and evil.” (ibid)

Here Kalinauskas and Marciniak do not argue for conscientious objection based on religious feeling or biblical interpretation, but they base their argument on reason – a natural law approach. Milwaukee native Gordan Zahn took up the challenge and became a WW II conscientious objector. It wasn’t a popular stance.

The January 1942 issue of the Catholic Worker, the first to appear after the declaration of war, displays this headline:

Dorothy Day wrote:
“We are still pacifists. Our manifesto is the Sermon on the Mount, which means that we will try to be peacemakers. Speaking for many of our conscientious objectors, we will not participate in armed warfare or in making munitions, or buying government bonds to prosecute the war, or in urging others to these efforts.” (The Duty of Delight, “The Diaries of Dorothy Day,” Edited by Robert Ellsberg, p.65, Marquette University Press, Milwaukee, 2008.)

In Europe, well known German philosopher, Martin Heidegger supported Hitler. In Spain, the Rector at the University of Salamanca, Miguel Unamuno, never spoke out against Franco until it was too late and then was put under house arrest.

Natural law philosophers, theologians, existentialists – few saw what was coming except some artists, – painters Picasso, (Guernica - 1937) Diego Rivera, (The Opponent of Fascism - 1933) Felix Nussbaum, (The Refugee - 1939) Marc Chagall, (White Crucifixion - 1938).

During the War

What about moral political decisions during the war, such as, the continuing massacre of Jews in Europe and the decision to end the war by dropping atom bombs on Japan?

The Holocaust: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued several strong statements condemning Hitler’s massacre of the Jews during the war. In 1944 Roosevelt said, after he was informed of a roundup of Jews in Hungary,
“In one of the blackest crimes of all history-begun by the Nazis in the day of peace and multiplied by them a hundred times in the time of war-the wholesale systematic murder of the Jews of Europe goes on unabated every hour.” (op. cit. p. 761.)
Roosevelt thought that conquering Hitler would be the only and quickest way to stop the massacre. He refused to bomb the death camp at Auschwitz or the rail lines feeding it because it would require the diversion of scarce resources.
(op.cit, Traitor to His Class, p. 761.)

Rhetoric was not enough for future U.S. President Harry Truman concerning the massacre of the Jews. Truman said in 1943, in what could be construed as a criticism of Roosevelt,
“Merely talking about the four freedoms is not enough. This is the time for action. No one can doubt the horrible intentions of the Nazi beasts. We know they plan the systematic slaughter throughout all of Europe, not only of the Jews, but of vast numbers of other innocent peoples.”(McCullough, David, Truman, Simon & Schuster, N.Y. 1992, p. 286.)

As President, Truman was supportive of the creation of the state of Israel.

The Atom Bomb: President Harry Truman explained his decision to use the atom bomb,
“The final decision of where and when to use the atomic bomb was up to me. Let there be no mistake about it. I regarded the bomb as a military weapon and never had any doubt that it should be used. The top military advisers to the President recommended its use. And when I talked to Churchill he unhesitatingly told me that he favored the use of the atomic bomb if it might aid to end the war.” David McCullough, Truman. Simon & Schuster, New York, 1992, p. 442.)

Some opposed the use of the atom bomb on moral grounds. The following appeared in the magazine Christian Century, August 29, 1945,
“Today a single atomic bomb slaughters tens of thousands of children and their mothers and fathers. Newspapers and radio acclaim it a great victory. Victory for what?”

Albert Camus declared,
“Technological civilization has just reached its final degree of savagery.”
Paulist priest James Gillis, a champion of social justice, a friend to labor, and an enemy of racial segregation, wrote an editorial in the Catholic World stating the use of the bomb was,
“atrocious and abominable …the most powerful blow ever delivered against Christian civilization and the moral law.” (Carroll, James, House of War, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 2006, p. 43.)

There was no public comment from Pius XII directly condemning the U.S. and Truman, but the Vatican’s Observatorio Romano August 7, 1945 commented,
“This war provides a catastrophic conclusion. Incredibly this destructive weapon remains as a temptation for posterity, which we know by bitter experience, learns so little from history.”

Pope Pius XII stated,
“Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man.” (Mark Weber, - Cached.)

Dorothy Day commented in the Catholic Worker September 1945,
“Mr. Truman was jubilant. President Truman. True man; what a strange name, come to think of it. We refer to Jesus Christ as true God and true Man. Truman is a true man of his time in that he was jubilant. He was not a son of God, brother of Christ, brother of the Japanese, jubilating as he did. He went from the table on the cruiser which was bringing him home from the Big Three conference, telling the great news: ‘jubilant’ the newspapers said, Jubilate Deo. We have killed 318,000 Japanese.” (op cit, Duty of Delight, Diaries of Dorothy Day, p.95.)

After the War

After the war Adler and Farrell nuanced and adjusted their before-the- war writings. Adler wrote in his autobiography,
“In 1945, both Father Farrell and I delivered addresses at the American Catholic Philosophical Association, in which we took the position that the superiority of democracy to all other forms of government could no longer be questioned by philosophers who regarded themselves as Aristotelians or Thomists, even though Aristotle and Aquinas could not be quoted in support of that thesis.” (Adler, Mortimer, Philosopher at Large, p. 309, Macmillan, N.Y. 1977.)

How do you justify not speaking out about political-moral atrocities? It’s a political decision. After WWII, Pius XII said,
“The duty of repressing religious and moral error cannot be an ultimate norm of action. It must be subordinated to higher and more general norms which in some circumstances permit, and even perhaps make it appear the better course of action, that error should not be impeded in order to promote to promote the common good.” (Murray, John Courtney S.J. We Hold These Truths, Sheed and Ward, 1960, pp. 61-62 Pius XII, - discourse to Italian Journalists December 6, 1953)

Looking ahead, to the dramatic changes brought about by Vatican II, John Paul II, Apostolic Letter sent on the 50th anniversary of WW II:
“I wish to repeat here in the strongest possible way that hostility and hatred against Judaism are in complete contradiction to the Christian vision of human dignity.” August 27, 1989.

In 2000 John Paul II visited ad Vashem, The National Holocaust Memorial in Israel. “I assure the Jewish people the Catholic Church … is deeply saddened by the hatred, acts of persecution and displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews by Christians at any time, in any place.”

He added, “There are no words strong enough to deplore the terrible tragedy of the holocaust.” Vatican II document Nostra Aetate, October 1965: “…what happened in his (Jesus Christ’s) passion cannot be blamed upon all the Jews then living, without distinction, nor upon the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as repudiated or cursed as if such views followed from Holy Scriptures.”

Conclusion: some opinions

Theologian, John Courtney Murray, tied American Catholic theology and philosophy to U.S. Political Democracy after WW II apparently following the lead of fellow Jesuit Joseph Husslein. He wrote that the Declaration of Independence was in agreement with Natural Law theory. He dismissed the notion that democracy was ‘in line’ with the ‘social contract theory’ by simply declaring that no one believes in the ‘Social Contract’ any more. “We no longer believe, with Locke or Hobbes, that man escapes from a mythical ‘state of nature’ by an act of the will by social contract.” (John Courtney Murray, We Hold These Truths, Sheed and Ward, New York, 1960, p. 7.)

The ‘social contract’ theory and moral relativism implies an atomistic ontology, e.g. - everyone for themselves – survival of the fittest. Atomists would contend the ‘common good’ or the ‘General Welfare’ means the ‘Greatest Good for the greatest number.’ In their most notable speeches both Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt use the word ‘charity’ in the classical sense of selfless love. This is not a word for political policy used by today’s survival of the fittest Ayn Rand followers.

The ‘social contract’ theory breaks down when it is admitted that the majority is not always correct, and there needs to be another standard of judgment. The ‘natural law’ theory fits the bill, but it needs to be reinterpreted. Retired MATC professor and union activist Anne Channell suggested, “It’s just human decency.” If the majority is not always correct, the voice of the minority must be listened to and protected. The best argument for the minority, opposing the majority, is reference to the standard ‘human decency.’ Common sense demands consideration of the common good as defined by Vatican II,
“…the sum of those conditions of social life which allow social groups and their individual members relatively thorough and ready access to their own fulfillment.” (Pastoral Constitution on the Church)

Even with the solid framework of the natural law and measured interpretation of Sacred Scripture, complete certitude is not always possible in political morality. Decisions rest on probabilities based on available information, but also sentiments and prejudices which are not always susceptible to immediate analysis. The decisions themselves are political, and unintended moral error is always possible. A broker who takes bets for a living would understand. Despite the uncertainty, especially in times with rapidly changing technology and politics, moral decisions must be made. The best decisions are made, with the least amount of anxiety possible, in Faith, perhaps without direct connection to an organized belief system or theology – e.g. Abraham Lincoln. Moral political decisions must be made with the goal of the common good in light of a ‘preferential option for the poor.’ No longer are political-moral decisions simply local. We must be always aware that we live in a ‘global village.’

Thursday, June 9, 2011



We’re in the midst of the battle. It’s difficult to focus on anything else than the war to prevent a fascist takeover in Wisconsin. But let’s move on from the first two Social Encyclicals to the writings of Pius XII. (Pope 1938-1958)

There is a gnawing question that surfaces. Why plunge into the history of the Roman Catholic Church to find a rationale for Justice? Could a search into the gargoyle-infested Gothic yield anything positive? These are the questions to be asked as we move to consider Pius XII. Maybe it’s OK to just skip over some horrible mistakes of the past and move ahead; let’s relegate the Borgias to a TV “novela”. But with Pius XII the pervasiveness of deliberate evil can’t be ignored. The enormity of the holocaust, its proximity in time; who are we as human beings as the creators of evil? How can anything good come out of this? Another problem: people that profess the Roman Catholic tradition include a large number of sign-of-the-cross, genuflecting, rich and white faithful who want to reverse the “Robin Hood” story, and then there are those who are mostly concerned about who are to be priests and who are to be canonized. They couldn’t care less about Catholic Social Teaching that advocates for workers and insists on a “preferential option for the poor.” But anyway –

Evidence shows that Pius XI (Pope 1922-1939) was sympathetic to the cause of fascism – a third way, the preferred option over capitalism and communism. He signed concordats with Mussolini (1929) and Hitler, (1933) but later denounced the dictators and their policies. (Vs. Hitler, “Mitt brennender Sorge” – 1937. Vs. Mussolini, “Non Abbiamo Bisogno” – 1931) Also, the Vatican led by Pius XII strongly supported the fascist dictator, Franco, in Spain. A major street in Madrid is named Pius XII. He witnessed the Jews of Rome taken to the camps in 1943 and said nothing publically to save Jews from the furnaces. For Pius XII, a few words of explanation are not adequate, but let’s try.

Let’s say Pius XII wasn’t an evil man. He was responsible for witnessing evil without protest, more than a direct cause of evil. We can ask ourselves in our present situation, is such non-action morally acceptable? Could you say that the political situation was a force that mitigates his responsibility - did he see his choices as lesser evils? Also, some of his mistakes were out of ignorance. Not just ignorance of the political situation and the proper course of action, but a policy rooted in a deeply flawed theology that is generated by the theology of the Christian scriptures themselves. Pilate (the Roman Empire) said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. Look to it yourselves. And the whole people said in reply, ‘His blood be on us and our children.’” (Matt. 27 vs. 24-25) The first Christian theologians developed a story that exonerated Rome and blamed the Jews for the execution of Jesus. The story was presented as historical fact. At the very beginning this was a failed strategy; when Christians were separated from the Jews, the Roman Empire fed the Christians to the lions. Later, under Constantine, Rome, the political empire, became identified with the Christian church, and the Jews faced more vigorous persecution. Were Pius XI and Pius XII looking to a revitalized Holy Roman Empire based in a penitent Europe ruled by an administrative dictator supervised by an infallible moral savant?

Pius XII was more than willing to defend Roman Catholic Jews and he spoke out for U.S. African Americans. He wasn’t a classic fascist in the Nazi sense. He once said of National Socialism in reference to the Nazis, “the arrogant apostasy from Jesus Christ…the cult of violence, idolatry of race and blood, the overthrow of human liberty and dignity.” (Cronin, Catholic Social Principles, Bruce Publishing, Milwaukee, 1950, p. 162) But the slaughter of millions of Jews, the slaughter of gypsies and others that didn’t meet Hitler’s ethnic and social requirements is a rancid tragedy soaked in blood, and Pius XII was complicit in it all; he said nothing and didn’t do anything significant to challenge Hitler. Is it that many of Hitler’s victims did not meet Pius XII social requirements, was he fearful for the destruction of the Roman Catholic Church and its treasures, where does Faith itself need to be considered? But wait a minute, I suspect that in some way we are all involved, past - present and future; the matter needs continued review. Is forgiveness possible?

Despite it all, the historical review of Catholic Social Teaching is worth it. Catholic Social Teaching provides an epistemological rationale to say there is a right and wrong and people can know the difference; that morality is more than custom, and its criteria to judge go beyond simply “what works.” Granted, no one person or group is free from error, but truth can be known. After all, the tradition relates to the sacred writings of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Maimonides, Averroes, and Thomas Aquinas are all contributors.

And it’s not all forgotten. Read former AFL- CIO President John Sweeney’s speech to “Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.” The speech was in honor of the 120th Anniversary of Rerum Novarum,

The struggle continues. If anyone asks me why I participated in civil disobedience Thursday June 2nd in Madison, WI, I will respond in terms of Catholic Social Teaching and use Martin Luther King’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail.” King quoted St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas on the nature of law and morality.


The tragic collapse of the reasonable brings on the theatre of the absurd. Resistance is swallowed up by the bizarre, yet courage to be, demands a response. Silence is death.

It started when Joanne & I couldn’t find 14 Mifflin Street where we were to meet the Voces de la Frontera group that was to do civil disobedience. Voces is an immigrant workers’ center based in Milwaukee. Joanne and I are volunteers for the New Sanctuary Movement housed and sponsored by Voces. We eventually found the meeting place about a block from the Capitol. I could explain, but it’s really inexplicable. The last time I recounted one of our getting lost stories, the kids threatened not to let us out of the house by ourselves.

We were late. George Martin, veteran peace activist, had just finished explaining the fundamental principles of non-violent civil disobedience. He looked at us and said, “Look at all these wonderful young people, we’re the only freeze dried hippies here.”

Voces had a press conference on the Capitol steps. The purpose of our visit was to protest the proposed elimination of instate University and Technical College tuition for undocumented children. State Representative Jocasta Zamarripa explained that the program would not increase the University budget and the students have to be residents and graduates of a Wisconsin high school and qualify according to University academic requirements. She said it was a very important program benefitting the state and the students. Voces brought 91 year old Father Bill Brennan, S.J. to the press conference. Father Bill, a former missionary to Honduras, supports immigrant families when and wherever possible. He knows and preaches Catholic Social Teaching. But he was dressed in a long cassock and a stove pipe hat. You could barely see his Roman collar.

We filed to fourth floor conference room in the State Capitol. The room held over 100 people. A tall young man with a blue shirt scooted around between aisles with a blue Segway. Joanne named him the “Blue Giant.” Another tall very thin young man with long red hair shaved on one side was operating his video camera. Places were set in the front for the legislators. They were to sit behind a long desk with microphones for each. Behind on the wall was a sign: “Joint Finance Committee.” OK, I know it’s Madison, but I didn’t know they did that. Attending were a busload of Voces high school students dressed in blue caps and gowns with signs hanging from their necks – “WHAT NOW?” This group did not plan to do civil disobedience. The Voces kids sat quietly, but the others- University students perhaps, I don’t know, - roamed around, went to the front of the room and mocked the legislators. Busy, professionally dressed legislative aides moved around one to the other talking with knowing smiles and head nods. It was a circus atmosphere, and we were ready for action.

The meeting was to start at 1:00 p.m. We waited and waited. Most of the people we did not know. I cautioned Joanne to speak only in Spanish because I didn’t want to give away our civil disobedience plans. We overheard that the meeting would be at 3:00 p.m. We waited, the Voces kids waited – with patience, and the clowning kids continued to entertain us. A little after 3:00 p.m. one of the legislative aides announced that the meeting would be at 5:00 p.m.

Joanne and I went for a bite to eat at a restaurant across from the Capitol building. Joanne ordered apple strudel with cheddar cheese and butter pecan ice cream. I ordered a bratwurst with sauerkraut smothered in salsa picante. We noticed that the Voces students had filed onto their bus. I went out and asked the Voces President, Primitivo Torres, what was going on? He responded that the students had permission from their parents only for the afternoon. He said, “Some are weeping –the legislators don’t want to hear their story.”

We were back at 5:00 p.m.; the civil disobedience cohort was ready to go. The clowns continued clowning. Suddenly a young man in a lacy mantilla was accosted by the police and arrested. He screamed - why? Friends shouted objections. The police took a handbag. People shouted that it didn’t belong to the arrestee. Off they went, people shouting and screaming behind them including the Blue Giant. The Blue Giant returned on his Segway. He denounced the people in the committee room for not protesting. It was a teaching moment. Larry Miller, member of the Milwaukee School Board, tried to explain. “You don’t denounce your allies.” The Blue Giant didn’t seem to understand.

The arrested man returned none the worse for wear. The police mistook him for someone else.

At about 6:45 p.m. the legislative budget committee appeared. Action began in the center ring; the role call triggered our civil disobedience response. Jesus Salas, former University Regent and associate of Cesar Chavez; Larry Miller, Milwaukee School Board Member; Al Levi, high school teacher, advisor to Voces youth group and member of the Voces Board of Directors; and Christine Neuman Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera, answered the call. They removed jackets or sweaters to reveal “T” shirts advocating instate tuition. They shouted their message stating that education is a universal right. The Madison police were on them in an instant. Democrats Jauk, Shilling and Taylor demanded that they sit down. The protestors went limp, and the police carried them out one by one. As Jesus Salas was carried out someone screamed, “Be careful, be careful, don’t hurt him.” Al Levi read the “Declaration of Independence” as he was carried out. His professor’s chair, “cathedra” was formed by the embrace of the Madison police.

After the protestors were removed, the meeting began again in earnest. Another protestor stood up, removed her jacket and read a statement advocating instate tuition. She was removed. Then one by one about 30 of us followed the same tactic. As I was carried out our son David called on the cell phone. Joanne answered and said in a whisper, “I can’t talk, Dad is being arrested,” then hung up. On the way home we called Dave and explained.

The police told those that had been carried out that we would have to leave the building and that we could not return that day, but we could return the next day. Outside the building we were met by a large group from Madison Interfaith Worker Justice. They kept up a constant singing of worker justice songs. Joanne and I talked to Rabbi Rene Bauer, the director of the group. Joanne enlisted Rabbi Rene’s support for a committee that is insisting that insurance companies pay workers’ compensate on to the injured undocumented. Rabbi Rene agreed that she would be part of the committee.

We arrived home in time to watch the late TV news on NBC’s WTMJ. There was nothing on the demonstration, but there was an interview with Governor, Scott Walker. He said he was worried about the recall of Republican state legislators, because money was coming from out of state to finance the effort. With that we hit the hay. It was like incredibly totally awesome.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Photos by Sue Ruggles

A record crowd was out on the streets in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Sunday May 1, 2011 for the annual May Day Immigrant Worker’s March for Justice. It was an historical event, not so much because of the massive crowd, but because it demonstrated solidarity between immigrant workers and the labor movement. The labor movement itself has its divisions, but many with SEIU jackets and shirts marched and cheered the speech by Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. The SEIU belongs to a different federation of unions called – “Change to Win,” ever since they separated from the AFL-CIO in 2005. Members of the UE –Electrical Radio and Machine Workers, who are not affiliated with either federation, were also represented. The UE received national attention in 2009 by forcing the Bank of America to pay workers owed benefits and wages at Chicago’s “Republic Windows and Doors” when the company closed. Because of restrictive labor law many workers are not able to be part of a union, but thousands of workers marched even though they are not. Thanks to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker for getting us together. Walker is attempting to take away most collective bargaining rights from State empolyees.

A key speech at the rally on May 1st was given by Mahlon Mitchell, President of the Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin. Mitchell stated that Scott Walker offered to exempt the firefighters from the take away of collective bargaining rights in order to split the firefighters from other state workers. The firefighters responded by denouncing Walker’s plan and marching in solidarity with labor. Catholic Social Teaching provides different reasons on the importance of getting together.

The solidarity expressed by the march was not exactly the solidarity proclaimed by the first two social encyclicals. The march solidarity is the solidarity expressed by Polish Pope John Paul II in his Encyclical Sollicitudo Rei (1987). John Paul II was beatified at the Vatican on the very day of the March –May 1,2011. Compare the two statements.

SOLIDARITY – Rerum Novarum (1891) Para. 39. “Neither capital can do without labor nor labor without capital.” Quadragesimo Anno (1931). Para 69. “…there is a social aspect… For man’s productive efforts cannot yield its fruits unless a truly social and organic body exists, unless a social and judicial order watches over the exercise of work, unless the various occupations, being independent, cooperate with and mutually complete one another, and what is still more important, unless mind, material things, and work combine and form as it were a single whole.”

“SOLIDARNOSC” - SOLIDARITY -“J.P. II Sollicitudo Rei (1987), Para. 38. Solidarity – “a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say the good of all and each individual, because we are all really responsible for all. This determination is based on the solid conviction that what is hindering full development is the desire for profit and the thirst for power …. These attitudes and ‘structures of sin’ are only conquered…by a diametrically opposed attitude…” Archbishop Listecki commented on the occasion of the beatification of Pope John Paul II. He noted that John Paul’s confidence that the Holy Spirit dwells within the church, “… generated his (John Paul II’s) warnings to capitalism and its potential for greed and the accumulation of wealth which entices us to live apart from the responsibility we have to our brothers and sisters.” (Milwaukee Catholic Herald May 5, 2011)

The first encyclicals advanced a theory of “corporatism” which could be called fascistic. It advocates the notion of the economic system as a body or “corpus” in Latin. All the parts are to work together as directed by the head. The analogy was used by St. Paul in a letter to the Christian sect of Judaism in Corinth, Greece (1 Cor. C. 12, v. 13) . “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons …” Pius XII in a 1943 encyclical described the Roman Catholic Church as the Mystical Body of Christ. (Mystici Corporis) War time Pontiff Pius XII reinforced the corporate model and corporate meaning of solidarity, “… the principal part of the Encyclical, Quadragesimo Anno, which contains the Church’s real program: viz., the idea of a corporate, occupational order of the entire economy.” (Address of His Holiness, Pope Pius XII, to the Italian Catholic Association of Owner-Managers, 1952.) Pius XII strongly supported Franco’s fascist government in Spain. Paul’s analogy does not work when stretched to include an economic system or a particular Christian church group especially since Paul was the "prime analogate" of dissidence.

Fascism or Corporatism does not allow for strikes. Apparently Pius XI in writing Quadragesimo Anno never envisioned the principal of “subsidiarity” in a legitimate clash with “solidarity.” Labor had the right to organize – to be a stick in the fascist bundle, but a strike – or a labor stoppage was not acceptable. “Strikes and lock-outs are forbidden; if the parties cannot settle their dispute, public authority intervenes.” Q.A. Para. 94

The 1919 American Bishop’s Pastoral on the Economy affirmed the Q.A. and R.N. position that strikes are an erroneous tactic. However by 1950, American Roman Catholic theologians took exception. Rev. John Cronin of the Catholic University of America wrote, “That workers in general have the right to strike is usually conceded.” (Catholic Social Principles, Rev. John Cronin, S.S., Ph.D. Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee, 1950). Paul VI in his Encyclical, Octogesima Anno, (1971) recognized workers’ right to strike with qualifications. “…the temptation can arise of profiting from a position of force to impose, particularly by strikes - the right to which as a final means of defense is certainly recognized - conditions which are too burdensome for the overall economy and for the social body …”Para.14. Paul VI’s predecessor, John XXIII, had ended the complete support of the Vatican for fascist Franco in Spain.

In its formative years neo-liberalism negated the right to strike in the U.S. During the Reagan years, the 1938 Supreme Court decision to allow replacement workers during a strike was put into effect. This policy eliminated the possible effectiveness of a strike. The Scott Walker attempt to eliminate collective bargaining is the latest effort to eliminate labor unions and establish complete economic control by capital supported by the government.

Kevin Mulvenna, MATC (Milwaukee Area Technical College)instructor, closed a video of the Madison demonstrations by noting that values are the most difficult subject to teach। For the public and the participants, the Madison demonstrations were an important lesson learned about democracy। Kevin, with tears of pride and joy, stated that he was happy that his kids were participants। Hope does not reside in the White House, but in the streets of Milwaukee and Madison.

The ultimate success of the May Day March of 2011 in Milwaukee will be difficult to determine, but for now let’s call it an experience of identity and consciousness raising.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


1:30 P.M. Sunday, May 1, 2011 Gather at Voces de la Frontera, 1027 S 5th Street to march to the Milwaukee Lakefront – Veteran’s Park.


4:00 P.M. Sunday, May 1, 2011 Busses leave from Veteran’s Park for the rally at the site of the Bay View Massacre.

The goal of neo-liberalism is to negate any outside influence over capital. The destruction of the labor movement is key in this neo-liberal quest. In 2001, a World Bank report on Mexico entitled “An Integral Agenda of Development for the New Era” was presented to the Mexican government of Vicente Fox. The report had specific recommendations on labor policy stating that collective bargaining and other labor rights should be eliminated.

The devastating poverty now experienced in Mexico points to the failure of neo-liberalism. Workers who migrate to the U.S. to earn a living, face a repressive immigration system and an attempt by neo-liberal politicians to deliver a death blow to U.S. organized labor, the only hope for just wages and working conditions. In protest and to demonstrate political solidarity with organized labor, we march on May 1st.

Besides public service workers, many sectors of society are adversely affected by Governor Scott Walker’s program for Wisconsin. A racist Arizona copycat law has been proposed by a Walker supporter. Dairy farmers are well aware of the damage this law could cause to the dairy industry. Other groups such as the faith community, various labor unions, the L.G.T.B. and political advocacy groups will march on May 1st in solidarity.

Although the principle of solidarity was best articulated by John Paul II in his encyclical “Sollicitudo Rei Socialis -1987, “solidarity” has been basic to Catholic Social teaching since “Rerum Novarum” 1891 and “Quadragesimo Anno” 1931. Marquette professor, Paul Misner in 1986 noted that the first two encyclicals objected to the extreme individualism of liberal capitalism. Misner wrote, “The traditional phrase, ‘one for all and all for one’ sums up the basic ideal. A Latin expression for it is solidarity.” Long before the solidarity, “solidarnosc,” movement in Poland in the ‘80s, the term was used for cooperative action to achieve social change.

Besides demonstrating political solidarity, May 1st marches are a memorial to workers who were injured and murdered in demonstrating for the Eight Hour Day and worker rights in 1886. On May 4th Chicago Police Captain Bonfield defied an order by Mayor Harrison and sent his mounted police to break up the meeting which was about to finish. A bomb was thrown, a policeman was killed, and several were wounded. Police opened fire. At least one worker was killed and many were wounded by gunfire. Several labor leaders were rounded up and blamed for the incident. Four were condemned to death by a Chicago judge and went to the gallows the following year. William Howells, dean of American letters, called the sentences, “the greatest wrong that ever threatened our fame as a nation.” George Bernard Shaw spoke at a rally in London protesting the arrest of the labor leaders.

The next day, May 5th, in Milwaukee the German immigrant workers’ demonstration for the Eight Hour Day was attacked by police. Several workers were injured. On the south side, Polish workers were gathered at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church to march to the Bay View Rolling Mill to demand the eight hour day. They were met at the Rolling Mill with a spray of bullets from the Wisconsin National Guard. Several were killed including a young boy trailing along for the fun of it. The orders to fire were from the Wisconsin Governor. When questioned, Governor Rusk responded by saying, “I seen my duty and done it.” (This is Milwaukee, Robert W. Wells, Doubleday, New York, 1970. The Making of Milwaukee, John Gurda, Milwaukee County Historical Society, 1999.)

May 1st Memorial parades to commemorate the Bay View and Haymarket martyrs have been held since the late 1800’s. May 1st rallies in the U.S. have been suppressed as communist until the recent May 1st marches for immigrant worker rights.

To resist is to remember. Memories of the social encyclicals, the Haymarket Riot and the Bay View Massacre have been suppressed. The Zapatistas in Mexico responded to the neo-liberal North American Trade Agreement, N.A.F.T.A., by occupying several municipalities. Zapatista leader Marcos wrote, “The war begun on the first of January 1994 was a war to make us listen, a war for understanding, a war against forgetting, a war to recapture our memory.” (La Revuelta De La Memoria, Marcos, Ciach, Mexico, 1999.)

Such is the Sunday, May 1st March in Milwaukee.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


The first two social encyclicals emphasized that workers had a basic right to organize and the government had the duty to intervene in the economy to establish a more just community. The encyclicals opposed “laisser-faire” capitalism or as they describe it in 19th century terms – “liberalism.” This is a source of the term neo-liberalism. What is ‘liberalism’ and what is this ‘new’ or ‘neo’- liberalism? “Liberal” in the U.S. is usually used to describe the economics of progressives, but liberal in the context of the encyclicals refers to “laisser-faire” capitalism. The term neo-liberalism is not used often in the U.S., and if it is, it refers to the policies of right wing democrats, but the strongest advocates of neo-liberalism are republican business tycoons. They promote the demise of unions, privatization of basic government services and free trade – completely contrary to Catholic Social teaching.

Of course, “laisser-faire” – “liberal” capitalists always demanded freedom to make as much money as possible without restrictions of the government or labor unions. Free trade was important unless it provided competition. A “liberal” free trade example is the Irish potato famine. Grain was shipped from Ireland while people starved, because the free market offered more money in other countries such as the U.S. The progressive movement – e.g. LaFollete of Wisconsin, T. Roosevelt, the New Deal – Franklin Roosevelt saved capitalism with some modifications. The “liberal” capitalists had to tolerate a few restrictions or face full scale revolution and chaos. They were also faced with competing political/military interests from other countries.

The distinction between neo-liberalism and liberalism is that neo-liberalism is under the aegis of world financial institutions. After W.W. II, G.A.T.T. (General world Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) replaced by the W.T.O. (World Trade Organization), the I.M.F. (International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank prepared the way for neo-liberalism. The fall of the Soviet Union meant the end of international political competition for capitalists. Worldwide financial institutions now dictate the rules. Free trade rules allow capitalists to exploit labor in all parts of the world. The I.M.F. and the World Bank insist on the reduction or elimination of government programs as a condition for loans. Resistance includes the “Battle in Seattle” and the Cochabamba, Bolivia Water War. Besides Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela; Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay show resistance when possible. Challenges over oil in the Middle East are controlled by the U.S. military.

The attempt to take away most collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin is an attack on “progressives” where the movement started. It is a direct attack on the union movement. Public service workers are the largest and most concentrated sector of the union movement, and therefore they have political power. The first two Encyclicals, Rerum Novarum – 1891 and Quadragesimo Anno – 1931 could be seen as supporting unions and other progressives against “liberalism,” but these Encyclicals focused on European problems. Despite the experience of W.W.1, international trade issues were not considered. The response to neo-liberalism as it revolves around ‘free trade,’ as defined by international financial institutions, remains to be considered in the light of later encyclicals.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


The key to Quadragesimo Anno – Subsidiarity: (Comunidades Autonomous o Fascismo? Autonomous Communities OR Fascism)

“The supreme authority of the State ought, therefore, to let subordinate groups handle matters and concerns of lesser importance, which would otherwise dissipate its efforts greatly. Thereby the State will more freely, powerfully, and effectively do all those things that belong to it alone because it alone can do them; directing, watching, urging, restraining, as occasion requires and necessity demands. Therefore, those in power should be sure that the more perfectly a graduated order is kept among the various associations, in observance of the principle of ‘subsidiary function,’ the stronger social authority and effectiveness will be the happier and more prosperous the condition of the State.” Para. 80

Joanne and I have been in San Francisco for three months visiting our daughter and her family. We try to make ourselves useful by babysitting, but besides having fun with the kids we visit lots of new places and reminisce with old friends who happen to live here. We have a small apartment near our daughter two blocks from Mission Street – once part of the Camino Real.

You don’t hear much English spoken on Mission Street. The district where we live is called the ‘Outer Mission’ or ‘Excelsior’, former home of Jerry Garcia. Years ago it was an Italian neighborhood, but now it is mostly Asian and Latino. The young Chinese woman who runs the bakery on the corner speaks Cantonese, Spanish and English. We take our 20 month granddaughter Monique to a play school where her playmates are Chinese and Latino. They get along fine, all learning to speak English – including the parents. Monique has no problem responding to “Monica.” There are classes for the parents on family issues such as parenting and domestic violence. Parents and staff sympathize with us concerning our Wisconsin Walker problem as they also face budget cuts sponsored by the now neoliberal collaborator Jerry Brown.

Our 11 year old grandson Liam participated in a protest by his classmates to Brown’s budget cuts. The kids also wrote protest letters to Brown.

The ‘Mission’ is known for its murals. “Conscientizacion” through art (Community organizing through mural art) – a remembering, an awareness, a motivating force – an identity. For example, St. Peter’s Church has a mural two stories high called “500 years of Resistance.” It depicts heroes of the resistance: Bartolomé de las Casas, Oscar Romero, Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez and others.

The resistance struggled against the Spanish “Conquista” - the age of colonialism; the beginning of exploitation and ‘culture theft’ by the Spanish monarchy and its emissaries. Next, the age of liberalism, exploitation by nationalistic European and U.S. capitalists, and now we have the age of neoliberalism – exploitation by capitalists in control of world financial institutions and supported by the U.S. military. Other murals show resistance in other parts of the world such as the Philippines and Nepal. Resistance to the U.S. neoliberal policy on immigration is also depicted on a mural. One mural reminded me that some Mayans were never conquered.

1931 Q.A. on liberalism:
“…and so it happened that the teaching of Leo XIII, so noble and lofty and so utterly new to worldly ears, was held suspect by some, even among Catholics, and to certain ones it even gave offense. For it boldly attacked and overturned the idols of Liberalism…” Para. 14

We visit with friends we knew in Bolivia some 40 years ago. We remember the Bolivian struggle and our part in the resistance. Joanne and I were married in Cochabamba and our daughter Dori was born there.

The great victory over neoliberalism in the year 2000 Water War took place in Cochabamba. Che Guevara had been in the area before he was murdered in 1967 on orders from the U.S. I remember a fellow Dominican priest telling us at a community meeting of the Friars in reference to the 1971 bloody grab of power by S.O.A. trained Hugo Banzer: “Bolivia is where communism was killed and buried.” I felt the brother was lost in his own head battles. Banzer’s governments provided a transfer from liberalism to neoliberalism; he was also president during the Water War. The S.O.A. headquarters in Columbus, GA display a picture of Banzer as one its honored former students.

Bolivian president and former labor leader, Evo Morales, has an acute awareness of current political reality. He prophesized to a large crowd celebrating the new Bolivian constitution in January, 2009: “I want you to know something, the colonial state ends here. Internal colonialism and external colonialism ends here. Sisters and brothers, neoliberalism ends here too.” (Dancing with Dynamite, Benjamin Dangl, 2010, AK PRESS)

Reflection and personal experience educated Morales. Resistance continues.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Wisconsin has become Armageddon for labor unions and their foes. The battle will have repercussions throughout the rest of the century and beyond. Although Wisconsin is the focus, battles are also being fought in Ohio and Indiana. Public service workers are the largest section of unionized workers. If collective bargaining rights are taken away from them, it won’t be long and labor will no longer have a voice in the work place or national economic issues.

Let’s call in the Four Horsemen for an apocalyptic moment of inspiration. In 1924, after Rerum Novarum 1891 and before Quadragesimo Anno 1931, sports writer Grantland Rice described the Notre Dame backfield as “the four horsemen” after they defeated Army at Yankee Stadium. Notre Dame went on to an undefeated season with a Rose Bowl win over the ‘infidels,’ (representatives of the dominant culture) of Stanford. (Book of the Apocalypse C.6, vs. 2-7)

Notre Dame’s legendary four horsemen may have been only a remote factor in labor history, but it can’t be denied they were men of courage. They represented a small Roman Catholic College in the northern Indiana woods. Their fans were low paid immigrant workers without status who were discriminated against because of their religion and race. In 1925 fans of the “fighting Irish” had status at least in their own minds. In a battle such as the Armageddon in Wisconsin, courage is a necessity. The courage demanded is the courage to speak out in spite of plutocrats who attempt to control politics and the ideas that shape politics discussed at universities.

The ghosts of the four horsemen could visit current theologians at Notre Dame working a miracle of “conscientizacion” (awareness and courage for action). Without the inspiration of the ghosts, the core of Catholic Social Teaching, the right and necessity of unions, will continue to be sidestepped at Notre Dame, Indiana. They will be no longer the “fighting Irish” but “soupers” (Irish who gave up their religion for that of conquering English in exchange for soup) with full stomachs accepting the money of the plutocrats.

Who are the Notre Dame theologians with the potential to make a difference? Let us consider three: Daniel G. Groody, CSC, Vincent D. Rougeau and Gustavo Gutiérrez, O.P.

Rev. Groody is outstanding on developing a righteous theology of understanding, respect and acceptance for immigrant workers. But what is to be done about their suffering? Immigration reform – OK, but what good would immigration reform do if workers continue to be exploited and alienated from each other? Immigration reform with the guarantee of union protection and a voice for all workers is a must. A vague law without advocates is meaningless.

Groody lists all of the major Roman Catholic documents on social concerns in his book Globalization, Spirituality, and Justice. Not once does he note that a key concept is the right and necessity of workers to organize. The first Encyclical Rerum Novarum in 1891 recognized the importance of worker’s organizations. This is a key concept. Q.A. re-affirms this crucial point as do the other following Encyclicals.

Pius XI in Q.A. (“Reconstruction of the Social Order”) on workers’ associations:
“Leo’s learned treatment and vigorous defense of the natural right to form associations began, furthermore, to find ready applications to other associations also and not alone to those of the workers.” Para.37

However, Groody correctly notes that the key concept in Q.A. is ‘Subsidiarity.’ A political structure that gives a voice to only one entity, e.g. the king or the plutocrats, is unjust. Other entities in society have a right to a voice. Qaddafi claims he is the “vox populi” – the voice of the people. Our very own Scotty Walker in Wisconsin makes the same claim.

“Subsidiarity” was a revolutionary concept in 1931 when free market liberals made the rules. Labor was considered a commodity to be bought and sold at will. We are in the same situation today. Pius XI in 1931 called for a “Reconstruction of the Social Order.” To a limited extent this was achieved, but destruction of these achievements is now the goal of free market neo-liberalism.
Pius XI in Q.A. (“Reconstruction of the Social Order”) on “Subsidiarity”:
“…it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do. For every social activity ought of its very nature to furnish help to the members of the body social, and never destroy and absorb them.” Para.79
Groody’s comment: “Subsidiarity, in this sense, becomes a corrective against the concentration of power and resources in the hands of a privileged elite. It helps put limits on government and keeps it from assuming totalitarian control over smaller constituencies, such as individuals, families, and local organizations, in way that would render them powerless.” (Globalization, Spirituality, and Justice, p. 115) Rev. Groody has potential; he is worth a visit from the ghosts.

Vincent Rougeau is a professor of law at Notre Dame. He is not a professional theologian but has written a very important book on Catholic Social Teaching. (Christians in the American Empire, Oxford University Press 2008) Rougeau does an indispensible service by pointing out how an individualistic view of law distorts U.S. court decisions on “affirmative action” cases. If the Catholic Social Teaching principles Subsidiarity and Solidarity (best articulated by Pope John Paul II) would be used in these decisions, justice would be better served with reference to the common good. Rougeau’s over all view is “cosmopolitan.” He challenges the “manifest destiny” view still present in the American collective sub-conscious. (my terms not his) However, Rougeau does not recognize the importance of the labor movement in his book. A visit from the ghosts would be helpful.

Gustavo Gutiérrez, O.P. is a visiting professor of theology at Notre Dame. The Peruvian priest has gained great renown as the father of “liberation theology.” Gutiérrez states that liberation theology “is a new way to do theology.” “Theology as a critical reflection on historical praxis is a liberating theology, a theology of the liberating transformation of the history of humankind and also that part of humankind –gathered into ecclesia – which openly confesses Christ.” (A Theology of Liberacion, p. 12, Orbis Books,1988.) The given material for liberation theology is Sacred Scripture and experience. It is a process of “conscientizacion” - awareness with courage to act for justice. Gutierrez’ liberation theology demands radical social change and points out the futility of depending on the development of a fundamentally flawed economic structure.

Liberation theology requires openness to the world and history, and therefore openness to the labor movement. The U.S. labor movement led the fight against privatization and unfair trade agreements (read neo-liberalism), but the most significant victory was in Cochabamba, Bolivia, where in the year 2000 labor leader Oscar Olivera in cooperation with other groups stopped the takeover of water rights by U.S. based Bechtel Corporation. (COCHABAMBA! Oscar Olivera with Tom Lewis. Also see the recent film, “Even the Rain”)

The battle in Wisconsin is class warfare waged not only by public service workers but also by their migrant worker allies. In Milwaukee, immigrant worker center Voces de la Frontera has responded to the Madison situation with busloads of protesting workers. Madison has been an inspirational time for worker solidarity.

Gutiérrez quotes Quadragesimo Anno: “In fact, human society now, because it is founded on classes with divergent aims and hence opposed to one another and therefore inclined to enmity and strife, continues to be in violent condition and is unstable and uncertain.” Para. 82

The four horsemen of the twenties knew what the statue at the top of the “Noder Dame” golden dome stood for. (Notre Dame – Nuestra Senora – Our Lady) A reminder by the ghosts to Gustavo Gutiérrez, and he would surely recognize the symbol of justice for all the Americas.

Let us quote from the book of the Apocalypse Ch.12, v. 1-2:
“A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.”

All three of these N.D. professors have incorporated in their work and added to a long tradition of Catholic social thought. They have progressed beyond the theology of the first two Encyclicals on Catholic Social teaching. Our analysis attempts to focus only on Q.A. and R.N. and show that minimizing or flat out forgetting the basic and key concept of Catholic Social Teaching, the right of workers to form associations weakens the structure of the tradition and the ability to enter into the battle of Armageddon.

These three prominent professors need to speak out on the most important economic, political and moral issue of our time. It is frightening, but the four horsemen, the ghosts, are on the way.