Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Louis Greenspan




Pacifism, though by no means the whole, is central to the thought of the Catholic Worker movement. This work is an attempt to explicate that position; to describe its development, the history of tis expression, in word and act, and to define its major emphases.

Founded in 1933, the Cathollc Worker was pacifist from its inception. That pacifism was, however, ambiguous and inchoate. Only under the pressure of larger events -- violence in the labor movement, the Spanish civil war, and finally World War II -- did the pacifism of the movement become more sharply defined. The Worker emerged as a clear and powerful voice for Christian pacifism and the focus for Catholic pacifism.

The key figure in the definition and expression of the pacifism of the Worker has been Dorothy Day who, with Peter Maurin, founded the movement. Though several other Workers played important roles, -- notably Father John Hugo D H.obert Ludlow, and Ammon Hennacy -- it is Dorothy Day who is largely responsible for Catholic Worker pacifism.

That the pacifism of the Worker is primarily religious, is undeniable. Though there has been talk of the just war tradition, the pacifism of the movement is rooted in the Gospel, in the teaching and example of Jesus. The key themes in the religious pacifism of the Catholic Worker ares 1) the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount, 2) the contrast between the works of mercy and the works of war, and 3) the idea of war as a violation of the Mystical Body of Christ.

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