Example 6 - Family or Charity?: An examination of the...

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Family or Charity?: An examination of the conflict between family life and the Catholic Worker Movement 060.113.20: Expository Writing – American Utopias Working parents are often faced with the daunting challenge of balancing their time between work and family. As providers, they have to work to support their family, but as parents they have to spend time with their children. Now imagine the plight of Catholic Worker parents. Just how do they split their time between helping the world and helping their children? 1
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Founded in 1933, the Catholic Worker Movement is an unusual blend of two ideologies: conservative Catholicism and the liberal socialist thought that dominated early worker movements. The movement was founded with the goals of eradicating poverty and the unequal distribution of wealth, promoting pacifism, and providing a sense of community for its members. The Catholic Worker Movement tried to accomplish these goals by operating soup kitchens and hospitable houses for the poor and publishing a paper called The Catholic Worker , which promoted the beliefs held by the movement. Members of the Catholic Worker Movement are dedicated to a life of poverty and often open their home to strangers, who are often poor and sometimes mentally unsound, in accordance with the Catholic Worker’s goal of helping the poor. Other than that, members sometimes participate in protests against government policies that violate the beliefs held by the movement – an activity that sometimes gets them arrested or even jailed. Given these unorthodox settings, one might question the suitability of raising a family while being actively involved in the movement. At first glance, it would seem as though the conditions under which Catholic workers live and work is not conducive to raising children, since they do live in poverty and will not be able to provide for their children adequately. Moreover, Catholic Worker parents might not be able to take care of their children adequately since their responsibilities as Catholic workers are very heavy, consisting of running hospitality houses and protesting, among other things. However, despite these problems, I believe that it is possible to reconcile the conflict between raising a family and being a Catholic Worker. However, although it is possible to overcome these problems, it is still a difficult task, and not all families will be able to fit into the Catholic Worker Movement. For those who are able to find a compromise by 2
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taking advantage of the unique advantages of raising children in a Catholic Worker family and adapting to the few fundamental problems that arise, it is still possible to raise a happy, functional family. In order to develop this view, I will be examining several examples of real-life Catholic Worker families that have successfully overcome the obstacles of raising a family in that context and those that have failed. In her article “Finding Family at the Catholic Worker”
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This note was uploaded on 03/24/2009 for the course WRITING 060.113.20 taught by Professor Moran during the Spring '09 term at Johns Hopkins.

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Example 6 - Family or Charity?: An examination of the...

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