Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Catholic Worker Movement: Intellectual and Spiritual Origins

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Catholic Worker Movement: Intellectual and Spiritual Origins

Article excerpt

The Catholic Worker Movement: Intellectual and Spiritual Origins. By Mark and Louise Zwick. (New York: Paulist Press. 2005. Pp. ix, 358. $29.95.)

This well-crafted work lives up to the promise of its title. Both authors write from an advantageous position, for as co-founders of the Houston Catholic Worker and the Houston Catholic Worker newspaper, they write from within the movement as well as from their research. Zwick and Zwick build upon previous studies and offer a fresh perspective rather than a great deal of new information.

Peter Maurin is given fine treatment throughout the book. The authors acknowledge Maurin's influence on Dorothy Day, particularly in terms of his grounding in Catholic tradition, including its social teaching, and the contribution of the French personalists Jacques Maritain and Emmanuel Mounier. Nor is Dorothy Day's role minimized. Her advocacy for others is aptly underscored, whether by providing food, shelter, and clothing, retreats for the laity, intellectual stimulation, a life close to the land, or as witness for peace.

The Zwicks' first chapter provides a fine entrée for the book. Written clearly, it provides short yet substantial introductions to Day and Maurin as well as to the Catholic Worker movement. Readers unfamiliar with the material profit from having a good introduction and, through it, an invitation to read further. Most likely, experienced readers will enjoy a review of the materials.

Three chapters-five, six, and fifteen-are particularly good. Chapter five, on the Russian philosopher Nicholas Berdyaev, recounts his critique of the bourgeois spirit, which threatened to undermine Christian principles of belief and action. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.