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?
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.
[...] 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 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. [...]
[...] On the one hand, Catholic Worker parents are required to champion the causes of the Movement by staging protests against government policies, which can lead to them getting arrested. On the other hand, if Catholic Worker parents get arrested and jailed, they will be unable to raise their children. Given their responsibility to their children, it would seem unethical for parents to involve themselves in activities which will render them incapable of caring for their own children. How then can parents reconcile the conflict between family life and the beliefs of the Catholic Worker Movement? [...]
[...] In Abercrombie's article “Catholic Worker: Can it work as a family activity?” we learn of a Catholic Worker parent, Kate Chatfield, who explained her reason for raising her children outside of the Catholic Worker Movement, feel it is better not to introduce our children to the craziness and chaos that can sometimes take place in a shelter.” While, the community in urban hospitality houses can provide support for Catholic Worker parents to raise their children, we learn from Chatfield's comment that the community is not always the best candidate since these communities are sometimes comprised of mentally ill and socially dysfunctional people, who bring in unwanted “craziness and chaos” into the children's lives. [...]
[...] Although it is indeed possible for some families to reconcile the problems that I have raised between family life and the Catholic Worker Movement, I still think that many families will find it difficult to remain completely faithful to both their families and the Catholic Worker ideals. However, it is still important to note that it is still possible for parents to maintain their family while still making some contribution to the Catholic Worker Movement. The only drawback is that some of the Catholic Worker ideals must be sacrificed to maintain harmony between family and the Catholic Worker Movement. [...]
[...] In Rosalie Troester's oral interview from “Voices from the Catholic Worker” with Kate Walsh, who grew up in a Catholic Worker house, we can see that the role of the parent is shared by the entire community and every member contributes to the child's development, which prevents them from being neglected. For example, when Walsh was asked if she ever felt neglected, she replied, There were so many people at the house that I never felt neglected I was just like one of their [neighbor's] kids. [...]
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