The National Catholic Review

I hope all religious institutions and organizations will consider their relationship to the Occupy movement, and take this occasion of a global social movement to ask themselves how their traditions of spirituality relate to their actions for justice and their works of mercy. More specifically, I ask Catholics and Catholic institutions to consider how the witness to a different economic order through the Occupy movement is congruent with Catholic commitments to love God in public, or in other words, to live justly with an untiring, and even today still radical, commitment not to individual good or the good of special interests alone, but to the common good. Catholic organizations: you have resources that the Occupy movement in your area might need. Will you prayerfully consider that? For more on this call for Catholic assistance, as well as updated pictures from Occupy Wall Street, especially of the Sacred Space there, please see here

Tom Beaudoin, Hastings-on-Hudson, New York

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david power | 11/14/2011 - 7:03pm
Juan ,

As somebody else said recently "welcome back".
what your pals should realize though is that anybody reading that who is not fluent in cielinese as I am would be left scratching their head   . The most decisive factor of all is the one that gives the energy to be open to all of the other factors.Without stating that in explicit language we are left with our calculators in our hands and no smile on our face.

Also I think that they are just using the crisis as a pretext to talk about God in  a roundabout way. If the words "encounter" "struck" or "presence" were not used around every 5 minutes most cielini would start to doze off.I have known them on three continents and they never vary.Apart from that I have the sneaking suspicion that all three words have more importance than any other words I am likely to hear in the next week.
This flyer is known as a Judgement in cl speak and I was all in favour of them until I read the one on the child abuse.It left a lot to be desired.It ran off into an ivory tower rather than state the truth of the Church.Nevertheless what LG wrote will haunt us like a bad smell and those who are faced with the economic crisis could have no better guide to life/Jesus than the man from Desio .

Peace and again it is great to see your name.    
Juan Lino | 11/14/2011 - 2:30pm
For those in NYC tonight, my friends in the Young Adults School of Community of the ecclesial lay movement Communion and Liberation are having a discussion on the Economic crisis and OWS, based on a flyer they wrote and handed out to those in OWS last week.
Here’s the end of the flyer and details:
“Reality stirs us and constantly provokes us to take a position in front of life. We are inviting everyone, then, to look at the crisis as an opportunity. It is an opportunity to pay attention to the things we take for granted — our families, our education, our jobs.
We are the 100%
Like everyone deep down, we aren’t satisfied by partial solutions, partial explanations, or partial reactions. Like everyone, we want to face the economic crisis by looking at all of the factors. Like everyone we want to get to the heart of the matter. We are the 100%.”
We invite you to join us to continue this discussion:
Monday, November 14, 2011, 8pm
SOC Meeting Room
125 Maiden Lane, Suite 15E
New York, NY 10038
Vince Killoran | 11/13/2011 - 1:18am
p.s. The OWS folks are coming to your neighborhood!  On November 23rd, the Congressional Deficit Reduction Super-Committee will meet to decide on whether or not to keep Obama's extension to the Bush tax-cuts and the 99% March to Washington will be there to "lobby" Congress.  Check out the website for activities along the way:
Vince Killoran | 11/13/2011 - 1:12am
With all due respect Anne, I don't think that you've read my reply carefully-I explained that I thought they did more than "vent"; I argued that they provide a democratic example of how to protest and that they've offered analyses of corporate America and dysfunctional politcs.

You seem very angry to the movement which is puzzling given that you haven't visited a site or read their webpage ( If you did you find out that they have been the catalyst for much local action.  I'll give you one example: they've engaged in collaborative work with "Guerrilla gardening" actitivists who occupy ill-use land to plant and sow seeds with sustainable farming methods.

It may not be the same as rubbing elbows with Senate aides or doing a power lunch but it's important.
Anne Chapman | 11/12/2011 - 9:27pm
Vince, you continue to focus on one comment/suggestion in my posts (lobbyng) and ignore the questions. You say that there are other ways to bring about change but don't say what they are.  This implies to me that you are unable to answer the questions and honestly don't know how the movement is actually going to be able to achieve any of its goals, which aren't even well defined.

 And that's too bad, because if the members of this movement and those who support them haven't thought things through enough to be able to answer a few questions, there is little hope that they will have much, if any, long-term impact. They are venting frustrations shared by many. But venting isn't enough if there is to be meaningful change.

Vince Killoran | 11/12/2011 - 6:29pm
You expect a grassroots movement a couple of months old to be a polished political force with lovbbyists in Washington, D.C. and since they aren't you spend a lot of blog space denouncing them.  That's not the only or even the best way to bring about change.
Anne Chapman | 11/12/2011 - 12:07am
Vince, do you want to just make a lot of noise or do you want to actually accomplish something?  

Unfortunately, the reality is that they have to convince politicians to propose and pass legislation if there is to be any change. 

Or maybe they really don't care much about doing the needed work to accomplish something - maybe they simply enjoy the street theatre and media attention?

Yes, they would also be ''lobbyists'', but they would not be paid lobbyists, which is a major distinction. Every individual who ever writes to a representative or Senator or the White House or even a letter to the editor that is published is a ''lobbyist''. We all ''lobby'' for what we believe in - there is nothing wrong with that. It's the paid lobbying and the donations and the trips and the vacations and the gifts and the perqs given by special interest groups that is a serious corruption of the system - whether it's the oil and gas lobby or the Teamster's Union and they ALL do it.  If you study carefully the published lists of donations to national politicians you will see that the big-time money goes to members of both political parties unless it's a ''sure'' district (even then they often make at least some donations to the  likely-to-lose candidate to hedge against an upset) - they hedge their bets as to who is going to be creating and passing legislation.  The Occupy protestors would not be giving big money donations, but they are voters, and they represent some voter sentiment, and they are getting some media exposure, so they would be listened to. There are no guarantees, but if they do nothing more than camp and make noise and create fake cities within cities, then what they are doing will have no long term impact.

The absence of real answers to real questions is very problematic.  If the protestors are unwilling to do the serious research, develop serious proposals, then they will not be taken seriously. Naming ''streets'' for marxist guerillas does not seem to reflect mainstream America, the real 99% and maybe they should become a little more aware of the messages they are sending.  Also you have not yet said whether these ''democratic'' protestors also respect the democratic processes of the country as a whole.
Vince Killoran | 11/11/2011 - 9:33pm
For not doing anything they're getting alot of attention!

"[T]hey can go up to the Hill and talk to members." Oh, jeez-just what we need: more lobbyists.
Anne Chapman | 11/11/2011 - 3:38pm
David Power, #41, I have learned that my questions will not usually be answered.  It's very frustrating at times, but I expect it.
Anne Chapman | 11/11/2011 - 3:37pm
Vince, from what little I've read, they are democratic within their own group.

My questions has to do with whether or not they respect the democratic process of the country as a whole?  Because it's very probable that many things on their ''wish list'' aren't going to become law anytime soon (NOTHING becomes law ''soon''), and one reason for that is the nature of our political process.  Senators and Congressinal representatives and Presidents are always aware of the demands of their constituents or they won't be re-elected. President Clinton was a genius at seeing how the wind was blowing. He was also pretty good at compromise, something that has become a rare trait in this town.  (The teamwork of Ted Kennedy and John McCain was very effective at moving things along, reaching compromise and preventing gridlock. Unfortunately, such a pairing no longer seems to exist in Congress these days).  Personally, after too many years of watching the lobbying process up close and knowing lobbyists personally who have worked in many offices on K Street (corporate, educational, union etc), the first thing I would do if were God and could simply do this by fiat is ban ALL paid organizational lobbying - and I mean ALL - corporate interests AND  unions.  It's not going to happen, but we can dream.  I can assure you, I am not going to camp out anywhere holding my breath for it to happen.

It is also my guess, especially given the implications of such seemingly trivial details as the naming of some of the ''streets'' after marxist revolutionaries, that the majority of campers in McPherson may not truly represent 99% of the American people in all of their wide range of issues or views, and likely don't even represent a simple majority in some of them.

It also seems that perhaps they could find more effective ways of working to promote their various causes and not continue to be a burden on the residents of the cities they are ''occupying''.  Washington DC is not a huge city like New York, and has only about 500,000 population. Much of the city is owned by the government which pays no property taxes.  People who live in Washington DC (I live in a suburb outside the beltway I'm afraid), pay among the highest per capita taxes in the nation - regularly in the top two or three in tax burden per citizen even though the federal government supplements city income and property and sales taxes with generous subsidies every year. Much of the city's revenue is not devoted to improving the schools or helping the homeless or on any of the other among the wide range of pressing problems facing the city, but in paying overtime to police, fire and EMT personnel, as well as to the sanitation crews who end up cleaning up after the demonstrators.  The one day demonstration of one of the environmental groups a few years ago cost the city millions of dollars to clean up the trash they failed to remove themselves.  They promoted recycling and every green cause you can think of while camped out on the mall, but couldn't bother picking up their own trash and hauling it to either a recycling bin or a trash bin. In their case it might have been American taxpayers who helped fund the clean-up because I think the Mall is under the Dept of the Interior.  But, why add to wasted billions? I could write you a book on all the waste I know of in the federal government and it arises in all agencies and all programs. Why waste more?

Since there seems to be no definable goal to these demonstrations, it is questionable as to whether or not the expenditures to provide the city services is the best use of the money nor is it the best use of time. They should draw up real position papers based on hard data and scholarship, fully documented, and enter the political process. They can publish. They too could lobby as unpaid individuals - they can go up to the Hill and talk to members - realistically probably talk mostly to their staffs, but, believe me, the staff carry a lot of clout with their bosses and should not be snubbed.  But they need to do their homework.
Vince Killoran | 11/11/2011 - 2:51pm
Why do you need the answer to these questions?  Who cares if they "camp out forever"? Is that so pressing right now?

If I were a living in the encampment (i've been in some of the demos and brought a little food by) I would argue that we undertake some intense reflection and draw up plans to use the ideas and energy in community and activist organizations.  I would hope that the nature of the Occupy Movement would remain intact-perhaps by monthly encampments. A bit like a Chautauqua. 

It seems as if you are intrigued by the issues they have raised and are in sympathy with at least some of their thinking. Why not use that to spurn political activism? Why isn't that enough?

As for democracy, have you found them to un-democratic in their structure? I haven't.  They seem very tolerant of varied perspectives and I have the ability to speak my mind in daily gathertings. As I wrote earlier, that's a rare thing to find today where speech is so managed.
Vince Killoran | 11/11/2011 - 1:53pm
In a city where billions of dollars go down the drain I don't see a grassroots democratic forum costing that much money. Do you have figures on this?

Anne's list of question is impossible-because the movement isn't a political party.  Why is that so difficult for critics to understand? Perhaps there is a "inside the beltway" thinking on Anne's part. . .? If we can't manage it, if we can't put it in a neat portfolio than it needs to be rejected?

I do know this: of all the sites of power in Washington, D.C. on this day the one that is the most open-the one in which you may participate, speak, & dissent-is the Occupy Washington, D.C. site.  Try that at the DNC or some Repub. institution and you'll be in the braclets faster you can say "Capitol Hill intern." 
ed gleason | 11/11/2011 - 10:49am
eveyone wants  OWS to  focus? maybe  9-9-9.. is our cup of tea???   (-:
Vince Killoran | 11/11/2011 - 9:11am
I don't care if your "shine a light" on the OWS movement. Hell, you can go down to your local Occupy encampment and participate in their open forum.

The Occupy folks have made some thoughtful indictments against the political and economic eltes in this county. That is their "focus."  They don't have a ten-point legislative plan and they never claimed to have one-although some Occupy groups have begun to move in that direction. That doesn't make ther efforts illegitmate or dishonest.

With all the conservative vitriol they're really hitting a nerve!  A news report this a.m.: Occupy protesters rallied at a Bachmann campaign appearance and distributed a flier explaining how her faux grassroots campaign is underwritten by corporate money. Direct action and open forums make some people nervous.

david power | 11/11/2011 - 8:53am

I am not only engaging in the ideas but offering those of my own as you will see in my posting at No.28.
Tom Maher has actually posted a very good description about the demands of the people involved at posting no.33 and it seems that I have more in common with the Occupiers than I imagined.I wanted an ice-cream and they want.... well not an ice-cream exactly.
Lack of democracy?How do they propose to enlarge American democracy?Monthly elections?What are their proposals to increase opportunity?
If you do post back please come with proposed solutions and not just a reiteration of the problems.
My point was and is that they have no focus.

Background is always important and to look into it is not to trivialize it but to try to understand. The Occupy movement says that Wall Street is motivated only by greed .Fair enough.Then we shine the light a little on them and you say "turn that light off".Not good enough I am afraid.Are they just after OPM or do they have proposals like I do?.I thought of mine in about 3 seconds and it is open to attack.
Vince Killoran | 11/10/2011 - 9:39pm
"Sad to see how people resort to comparing others to segregationsist because they are not in lockstep with the thoughts of others!
Ideas?That is the point I have been trying to make.What are their ideas?Please Vince elighten me ."

No, I'm arguing that there are important issues at stake and you are trying to trivialize them by attacking (inaccurately) the background of the protesters. I don't care if your disagreee but engage in the ideas.

And, please, the issues-inequality, lack of democracy, absence of opportunity-are thoroughly discussed by the Occupied folks and their supporters.
david power | 11/10/2011 - 8:05pm
God,I need a hobby.When I read what Ed wrote about "atholic" I thought that could be a good word to describe those who are more interested in the church than in Christ. Atholics!!!! I know that it will not catch on but as I am without a girl friday at the moment this will amuse me.
An Atholic is a catholic who shows no discernible interest in Christ.
BTW Ed my comments are usually filled with typos so it is not a call from the grammar police.
Tom Maher , how I agree with every word that you wrote!I worked in Italian trade Unions for four years and met some of the nicest and laziest people there are on the planet and they all had the common agreement that everything really should be paid for by other people.
My dear brother in Ireland (the most loveable guy you ever met) has never really worked a day in his life and he rejoices at Occupy.I have worked from the age of 15 and have a chip on my shoulder to prove it .Point?   
 Too many thoughts flood the mind when the alarm clock is not ringing out at 6am.
I read my Plato after a days work and so have no desire or energy to tear down buildings or  Occupy anything except my bed.I may be wrong and remain open  to correction  
ed gleason | 11/10/2011 - 7:39pm
Juan .. right.. and the movement can easily be co-opted by anarchists as in Oakland.  Pace e Bene & Pax Christi all have experience in training people for non-violent protest. I've asked them to start showing the Catholic flag.
Many of the clergy that helped post/carry  the Catholic flag have faded away like old soldiers do. anyway it is ?r?e?a??ll?y? ?a? ?l?a?y? ?j?o?b? ?t?o? ?p?o?s?t? ?t?h?e? ??????Ca?t?h?o?l?i?c? '??f?l?a?g'???  presence ??i?n? ?t?h?e?? city? ?p?l?a???z?a? ?a?n?d? ?s?q?u?a?r?e?s? ?o?f? ?t?h?e? ?c?o?u?n?t?r?y?.
Tom Maher | 11/10/2011 - 7:30pm
Occupy Wall Street does indeed have many eclectic demands all of which are quite self-serving.  Most of these demands involve getting free stuff from government for themselves unearned and at the expense of everyone else.  If only the government could take the wealth away those mean people who are 1% of the population with the most wealth and re-distribute their wealth to the more deservig people - themselves.

A typical example ot their demands is to get the government to payoff their student loans or other personal loans such as mortgages, car loans and credit cards.  They reason:  Why shouldn't all their needs and wants not be taken care of?  They would be very please and would righteously accept hugh unearned windfalls of debt forgiveness worth ten of thousands of dollars or more.   One of the problems with this "targeted" redistribution of wealth is that most people do not go to college and therefore would pay for without benefiting from this gratuitous govenment giveaway, also known as an old fashion political patronage but with new beneficiaries.  And most people work hard to earn the things they have and pay off their debts.  Why should OWS types get debt forgiveness paid for by other people?  Why should OWS types received unearned privledges that noone else receives or expects?  

A current Rasmussen polls shows 66% pf voter are against student loans being paid off by the governnent.  Can you imagine the the public outcry from people who paid off their student loans and other personal loans or the majority  of people who never went to college over this arbitrary unearned windfalls demanded by the jaded and deluded Occupy Wall Street crowd as an expected right. Politically Occupy Wall Street demands are politically non viable wishes that are obnoxious to most voters.
Juan Lino | 11/10/2011 - 4:01pm
Ed (#31) - I definitely agree that the US economic system definitely needs reform although I wouldn't know where to begin because, as Anne said, it's very complex. 

Yes, a community outpouring is a good first step but without a clear goal it's easy to be dismissed.  Perhaps they should look at what MLK and the people around him did, they had a clear goal and they trained volunteers in those goals and in ways to behave, etc. (at least that's what I recall when I studied their techniques).

When I went down to the OWS site it reminded me of the movie Network, especially the part where Howard Beale starts yelling "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore" ; )
ed gleason | 11/10/2011 - 3:29pm
Juan, I agree that OWS has no specific goal. but the US economic system is out of whack.. almost all sides agree. a community outpouring is the first step
Juan Lino | 11/10/2011 - 2:39pm
Ed – In today’s light, my remarks to you in #18 are too brackish, please accept my apology.  A sentence you wrote in #26 clarifies what you mean by ‘dirty hands’ so thanks for that.  Presuming that the movement you refer to truly has a Christian goal, then I agree that we can’t adopt a fortress mentality.

However, getting back to OWS, I’m not convinced that it has a Christian goal.  Yes, some elements may appear to support some aspects of Catholic Social Teaching but, as everyone points out, this may be accidental since there really isn’t any clear direction to what is happening.  Sure, individual Christians are free to support the elements they believe are part of CST. 

Should the Church as an institution support this endeavor – I say emphatically no for a variety of reasons, one of them being that we should not reduce the Church to a social service agency. 
Shayne LaBudda | 11/10/2011 - 2:36pm
Some forms of protectionism are beneficial.  Those who argue against any are those who benefit from unfettered markets; no rules allows them to game the system more easily.  I'm certainly no economist either, but generally look askance at the trade, as you can make statistics say whatever you want; we all subscribe to the economist who's parroting our biases in the first place.

I think though that in attempts to be polite, we dance around the question of how much wealth is sufficient or too much for any one person, including corporations with their new mantle of personhood.  I still hold some belief that the northern european states have a better balance than us, at least in part because there is a willingness to keep a handle on greed and a genuine recognition of fairness to all parties.  As catholics or any other people guided by some semblance of a moral structure we should recognize greed as an evil.  But, the marketing machine that is America (the country, not this magazine) has convinced too many of us that it is an every-man-for-himself arena. 

The grotesque and obscene disparity of wealth we have on our hands is unjustifiable.  I can't accept any argument that makes the case that the system works just fine with such evidence of its imbalance.  The machine is running, yes, but the output isn't optimal. 

Lastly, I agree with you David again about voting.  I've long thought that we (at least in the US) get what we deserve.  We vote on some insiginificant character trait (or a single issue) of a candidate and then harumph when they don't make the machine run better.  They put on the overalls to look the part, but they don't know how to use the tools. 
david power | 11/10/2011 - 12:35pm
Sad to see how people resort to comparing others to segregationsist because they are not in lockstep with the thoughts of others!
Ideas?That is the point I have been trying to make.What are their ideas?Please Vince elighten me .
I agree with your analysis Shayne but I my knowledge of economics is limited to reading Krugman.I think that when we vote for people who do not represent "our" interests this is the result.That means to me a simple protectionism.The only anti-dote to this inhuman form of capitalism that I can see is the dirty idea of protectionism.For some reason everybody seems to see it as a smelly thing.
It is the same in Europe where all of the factories have closed and not even a murmur came from the workers/voters for the simple    reason that we could not see the long-term implications.
A robust protectionism would soon have us saying "Its morning in America" and the rest of the first world for that matter. :)  
ed gleason | 11/10/2011 - 11:15am
Shayne; You have said your  analysis well. You say, "Those protesting or "occupying" are often depicted as n'er do wells who couldn't or wouldn't hold a job if given the opportunity'
 The Catholic question is as the title of this blog states
 'Call for Catholic Assistance to the Occupy Movement'
Some will always point out that some in any movement are 'dirty,lazy,drugers 'etc.This is done in order to defame the purpose of the movement. They are against the 'cause' so they defame the people. And as I stated above how do activist Catholics join a movement that has a Christian goal and therefore be allied with others who do not share the methods or motives of a Catholic stance. That's what I mean by 'dirty hands' . If one will only join a community/political movement that that has people with the same 'pure Catholic' motives he holds, he will sit home and watch TV and rant. Getting into a movement big tent takes a lot of  discernment, caution, patience and the putting away  being judgmental [which was hard for me.. (-:  ]
Catholics who do not want to engage in the public square movements ought to join the Amish. That's where I think I would go if I ever got 'fed up' but that would mean I could never call myself Catholic.
Shayne LaBudda | 11/10/2011 - 10:01am
David (#11)
Your comment about this being class warfare instigated by the middle class is accurate.  But I think it's also understandable and justifiable, as the middle class has been on the losing side of a more deft class warfare for at least a generation. The rules have been written and exploited for those with the most resources to gather ever more resources, under some phony construct that their wealth will ensure more wealth for all.  To the working stiffs who play by the rules, even if they don't fully understand the rules, and barely get by or make any material advances (security?) in their families' lives, they see those who don't 'work' (the same way they do) for their livelihoods making great gains under a set of rules written by and for them.  Yes, many people may have taken out mortgages they couldn't realistically afford, and many have paid a very painful price.  But, many firms constructed and sold very complex financial instruments relying on their complexity for obfuscation, I suspect knowing pretty well how unsustainable they were, and have paid no real price when the wheels came off.

I see the OWS movement, for wont of a better word, as simply an outcry in response to the unjustifiable imbalance we now have on our hands as a product of legislation and deregulation that has taken the tethers off the money makers, allowing them to do so with abandon and with a very large disingenuous caveat emptor, as if all the working stiffs should have known that they were being fleeced.  And when the bankers and market makers get caught, and the house of cards falls down, they without a blush turn 'round and ask for help building it right back up on the same flimsy foundation, that what they're all about is good for everyone.  Just trust us, we know what we're doing.  The public outcry says yes we know what you're doing and we don't want anymore of it thank you very much.  They (the OWS folk) need not be any more explicit or detailed than that as far as I'm concerned. 

Those protesting or "occupying" are often depicted as n'er do wells who couldn't or wouldn't hold a job if given the opportunity.  Projecting my own sentiments, I suspect many have, can, and will hold jobs, but want to earn their livelihoods in a universe not mastered by Gordon Gecko.  They want to see a social pay-off for their efforts on a scale larger (dare on say better?) than individual acquisition. 
C Walter Mattingly | 11/10/2011 - 8:00am
For Occupy the White House, make that OWH! , not OWS. Sorry. The correct acrostic does capture the nation's pain generated there the last several years.
C Walter Mattingly | 11/10/2011 - 7:52am
In addition to cleaning up their act, ie, not blocking Oakland paramedics of a liberal democratic mayor's administration from offering assistance to those who are having medical problems/injuries, not enabling Occupiers who have committed sexual assault felonies to escape prosecution by "handling" such alleged rapes "internally" by taking away their blankets, etc, and other such acts of vigilante justice.  Even more impactfully, perhaps they could expand their protest to include Occupying Fannie and Freddie and its Senate and Congressional proponents of bad and liar loans to those who couldn't afford/lied on their applicantions. It's not the banks who drain the Treasury of what is approaching a quarter trillion dollars, it's those two quasi-governmental catastrophies. And it continues even now, with proposals to make and guarantee mortgage loans of 3/4 million dollars to millionaires.

Also, since about 3/4 of Occupiers reject the performance of President Obama, according to surveys in New York, perhaps they could attempt to do better than this All-Time Food Stamp and Unemploment Comp Champion administration, either by promoting a 3rd party candidate such as, perhaps, Dennis Kucinich, who seems to have integrity to his word, or by expanding their scope to include OWS (Occupy the White House). This could culminate in November 2012. 

Such moves might greatly expand and enhance support of this movement not only for many Catholics, but the general public as well. 
ed gleason | 11/10/2011 - 1:13am
Juan... yes picketing or marching for pro-life is a real Catholic witness. We have done that too:  the 'dirty hands' is when you are accompanied by fanatics who insist on waving fetus pictures and  have an angry even hateful stance toward anyone who disagrees with 'their take'.. pols etc. We separated from them. 
ed gleason | 11/10/2011 - 1:00am
David  Smith ..Protests were  over 50 years.. we work on all your local suggestions too and not just a few hours. Blog is about public community political action.. guess you wandered off topic. it's easy to do.   
Rick Malloy | 11/10/2011 - 12:56am
Sorry don't know how to make that link work on this. One needs to copy and paste the url.
Rick Malloy | 11/10/2011 - 12:54am
"What would Jesus Say and Do about Occupy Wall St.?" is the title of an article I wrote for our student paper here at the University of Scranton last week.  Here's the link to the article on my blog:
Juan Lino | 11/10/2011 - 12:15am
Ed & Peg - what does 'dirty hands' business mean? Is that a line from the Man From U.N.C.L.E.?
I've volunteered with the Missionaries of Charity in the Village, the CFRs in the South Bronx, and I’ve stood up for the most defenseless in our culture - the unborn - by prayerfully protesting in front of their killing centers - does that count?
Brett - thanks for the link to that great article.

ed gleason | 11/9/2011 - 11:36pm
Juan Lino. Protesting and standing for change and being  a witnessing Catholic is a 'dirty hands'  business.
Our first protest was with Catholic Interracial Council walking with communists for racial rights.. 
Vietnam protests meant we walked with people who carried a No. Viet flag..So as one who had family KIA in WWI and WWII that was harder than walking w/the 'commies'. 
Get over your  ACORN problem.. Juan you're in your twenties so if 'dirty hands' is a problem you will have to stay home... but no sympathy here.
Juan Lino | 11/9/2011 - 8:23pm
BTW, Ed & Peg, I'm a "youngster" since I've fo a few years before I hit 30!
Juan Lino | 11/9/2011 - 8:15pm
David (#11) - I like your comment and will join you for a sundae in spirit!

Ed & Peg (#10) - do you really think that OSW is the same thing as the things you mentioned?  Let's get real here.  Sure it's nice to say you are protesting and walk around thinking you are making a difference and then sleeping in a nice LL Bean tent.  Sure, the movie Wall Street has a lot of truth in it but is it possible that WS is just the "scapegoat of the month/year, decade"?

And then there's the life changing chants: What do we want?  Free tuition!  What do we want? Bailout for my credit card bills.  This is entitlement run amok.  My questions still stand.  And what about the former ACORN people that are apparently behind this fiasco in NYC?  And let's not forget that this started as a "day of rage" protest.  

Seems to me that this is nothing more than a liber 
david power | 11/9/2011 - 5:58pm
Ed ,

Despite my negative comments in the prior post I do respect and admire those who are prepared to stand up for the rights of others and  liked reading what you wrote.
God alone knows where we would be if people did not stand up for others.That bloody nose was very providential in my eyes btw.
But all that glitters is not gold.
david power | 11/9/2011 - 5:52pm
Juan , 

too close to home and too near the bone. 
Mary ,you spoke of how easy it is to find out what Occupy Wants but all I want is an ice-cream and I'll get it in five minutes.
I studied the Occupy movement for a week in London.Every morning I passed them on my way to work. and they were basically the remnants of the "No War" movement.Of course Sean Penn and Cindy Sheehan don't look so cool going up against Obama so that was all knocked on the head.No W ,no party.
I ,like Juan come from a poor background and see nothing in the way of altruism in these gestures .I see a moralism at play that would be fine if it were not so self-righteous.This is Class warfare ignited by the middle classes. 
It is rightly pointed out that the modern English yobs are missing a war and so they turn to hooliganism.Dashing  hooliganism is on display here. 
Mimetic desire is running amok too.If there were only two there there would be only one or none tomorrow but 100 people and 50 cameras leads to 5000 in no time.
Excuse me while I go for my vanilla dip. :) 
ed gleason | 11/9/2011 - 5:49pm
For the youngsters who asked here what good does this OWS do. Answer is we don't know yet.. but since Ive been in protests for many decades let me explain winners and losers.
In 1963 we picketed for a young black lawyer who was banned from looking at a new home. Later he  became Ca. Speaker and San Francisco mayor. Willie Brown bought a nice house too.  
We marched for civil rights and won new laws. We marched for the end of Vietnam war. that's took time but we won. We picketed Mercury Nevada test site.. and no more testing. We marched and housed El Salvador refugees and that war finally ended. Some refugees returned to ES.
We were arrested and jailed when Reagan threatened to invade Nicaragua. He blinked.
we marched against the US Gulf war..and Baghdad was not invaded. We were again arrested when the Government would not let homeless veterans have Presidio housing. They backed down and 9th US circuit court overturned convictions. That's  8 wins. All engagements were under and with a Catholic laity banner.
Marched against Iraq war.. lost that one. Organized VOTF California.. Lost that one too' However Iraq may go into win column. Hierarchy has bloody nose and still standing on wobbly feet. Who knows? 
Eight out of ten ain't bad.. now it's up to you guys to get a winning record.

Juan Lino | 11/9/2011 - 4:39pm
Why have journalists, writers - including you Tom - latched onto this tempest in a teapot?  Do people want to feel like they are living the 60s again? 

Now, I live in New York, where this all began, and I have strong thoughts about it, particularly since I grew up poor and currently live from paycheck to paycheck in this very expensive city. The media is painting a romantic picture but when I go down there and look at the food they were serving (of course now the “freeloaders” are being excluded!) and the tents, etc., that these poor people have (right!) the reality is something else – but I will put those thoughts aside for the moment and ask a question. 

What, ultimately, is the goal? Sure, no one knows but it seems to be "let's take from the rich and give to the poor?" Or maybe it's, "let's shame the “have’s” into distributing their wealth to the “have nots”?"

But why would they do that? And if they don’t, should we violate the freedom of the “haves” and force them to do it?

Lastly, Jeff asks a very ggod question and I'd like to see Tom's answer too!
Anonymous | 11/9/2011 - 3:07pm

In early Ocotber of last month, Tom Beaudoin advocated in this blog that the Occupy Wall Street model be used against the Catholic Church in the same spirit of the new Arab Spring. He specifically mentioned the "physical occupation of spaces." 

Google News headlined a rebuttal of the blog-post by Scott Richert at (of all places), but the article was posted on the message board of

On November 2, a break-away faction of the Occupy Vancouver movement tried to occupy the city's Holy Rosary Cathedral during mornign Mass. 

Here's more on the story:

"Several dozen protesters, calling themselves ‘Occupy the Vatican’, were halted when Archbishop Michael Miller requested a police presence, and were stopped again later in the day by police and members of the Knights of Columbus.
The incident highlights a trend by some in the anti-corporate protest movement to use it as a launching pad for attacks on Christianity and the Catholic Church in particular.
Most infamously, on October 15th, members of the Occupy Rome protest entered a Roman Catholic Church and destroyed a statue of the Virgin Mary.
The effort to occupy the church in Vancouver comes after a call on October 13th by former Evangelical leader Frank Schaeffer for the Occupy movement to begin targeting Evangelical and Roman Catholic churches."

Could Mr. Beaudoin please comment briefly on these developments?

ed gleason | 11/9/2011 - 10:35am
Last week w?e walked  in a San Francisco Occupy march to Bank of America headquarters with a peaceful even joyous crowd, Many oldsters like us outnumbered the very young.? ??T?h?e? ?majority were in the forties/ fifties and about 2000 participated in  the 2 mile walk.
Anne Chapman | 11/9/2011 - 9:56am
Thank you, Mary.  This is the first real summary that I've seen. However, it is a just a summary and the issues and proposals are extremely complex.  It is unlikely that ALL of the demands will ever be met, and, from what little I've read about the occupy other cities, the demands range all over the map, and are not confined to these specific pieces of legislation.  

So, will the protesters continue to camp out until ALL these damands are met? What will they do if some are not met by congress?  Will they camp out forever?  How will they react if the majority of voters in the country do not support ALL of these demands in the democratic process (shown by how they vote in congressional and presidential elections)?  Do they respect the rights and views of those who may disagree?  Do they respect the electoral process in this country?

Unfortunately, I have no time now to truly research all of these demands.  I don't know what the economic trade-offs are for most of them.  I may agree with several of them, but I can't really say without a lot more research.  I am an economist (retired from economics though) and I know that there are no easy answers or solutions and that there are costs as well as benefits for everything. What is the balance?  For example, progressive taxation at some point begins to harm the general economy rather than help. What is that point? What level of progression are they asking for?  There are many sophisticated econometric models out there that attempt to predict what will happen if, for example, you change tax rates, and, as we know, their predictive value is often not very good - basically because the economy is so complex and subject to so many global variables that no model can capture all of them.  
Mary Sweeney | 11/9/2011 - 9:53am
Tom, thank you so much for this article. I confess strong doubt that your suggestion will fall on fertile soil. So far there has been no response that I have seen to Archbishop Dolan's September 15th letter from the USCCB to the Bishops of the USA. Admittedly I can speak only of the Archdiocese of Boston in which the letter has received no mention in the Archdiocesan newspaper and I have yet to hear any subsequent discussion from any pulpit. Mine is of course a small sample. Everyone else may have been informed and involved. Still, I take that and have to wonder how much attention will be paid to a closely related but external cause.

But keep beating the drum...
Mary Sweeney | 11/9/2011 - 9:40am
@ Anne Chapman My very limited experience is that people's likelihood of finding things increases in direct proportion to the amount of effort invested in looking. The parable of The Lost Coin speaks to this. The woman a) lights the house and b) begins to sweep.

I keep wondering why it is in this age of ''Google'', ''Bing'', and ''Chrome'' and other flavors of search engine that so many are unable to discover what it is that the Occupy movement wants. My understanding is that writers get paid to do ''investigative journalism'' — lighting and sweeping. It is for them not a hobby, but paid employment. I searched Google to verify my hypothesis just a minute ago. Search words: Occupy demands. I got 23,900,000 hits in 0.18 seconds. The third item identified was: Occupy Wall Street Demands -  Anyone can follow the link therein and go here ( and read and VOTE on these demands. They seem easily understood and easily found to me. Anyone can do their own ''science experiment'' and duplicate the results with their search engine of choice.

The more important/significant question for me is why this myth of ''having nothing particular in mind'' persists and is circulated/magnified by every flavor of media, regardless of how factually incorrect it is. Presumably investigators are also too busy to read the minutes of the General Assemblies which seem to be posted online daily.

I am 65 and actually lived without television for 21 years so I hope you can understand my inability to accept that it is not possible for people in this culture to find anything of importance.
Beth Cioffoletti | 11/9/2011 - 8:59am
If Dorothy Day would be there, I'm in ...
*** COMMENT: Dear Stanley and Anne and Beth:  Thank you for your replies. Stanley, I think you have stated things well. In my experience, many of those involved with -- and the many more sympathetic to -- the Occupy movement would lean toward the policy goals you state. But remember that there are apparently well over one thousand Occupy sites globally, made up of -- and supported by -- a diverse mix of people who do so for their own reasons and with their own desired outcomes, or quite often, like any honest thinking person, perhaps more than a little unsure about what the outcome should be. I understand the frustration some have with Occupy that it has not presented a list of demands that give the movement(s) a single political focus. The time for that may yet come, and various sites in the movement have talked of, and some are working toward, an Occupy "constitutional convention" next summer. But it is important to remember that no one is "in charge" of Occupy. It does not (at present, anyway) have a governing board who could issue demands. The political difference that Occupy represents makes it confusing and challenging for the political system to which we have been acculturated. But I can tell you that from the perspective of inviting people on board, the "leaderless" quality and the absence, to date, of a concrete set of demands, has created a space for thousands of different communities, including religious ones, to join or contribute to Occupy, because it leaves room for the creative articulation of the fundamental Yes or No that people all over the world feel in response to their awareness of the deeply inequitable distribution of resources, national to global, and the social, political, economic, religious and other systems that keep our dehumanizing economic and social relationships to each other in place. "No agenda" for now has meant a growing movement that, if you visit Occupy Wall Street for example, shows you just how many different kinds of people find reasons to work (and pray) together for change. There may be a time for "no agenda" to change to "concrete agenda," but that will have to come from the ground up. And if anyone wants to advocate for that, all they have to do is show up to an Occupy site and begin to make their case. They will no doubt find many sympathetic ears. As many of us who have been involved say, our presence is, for now, our demand.  Tom Beaudoin
Stanley Kopacz | 11/9/2011 - 8:56am

I'm sure all the occupiers would support

the reintroduction of meaningful, enforced regulation to the stock market
dissolution of corporate "personhood" 
campaign finance reform bigtime
increased progressive tax rate
upper limit on usurious credit card rates 
As for the rest, occupy is a big brainstorming session.  All ideas are on the table.  You'll have to excuse the  creative, non-apriori thinking. ***
Anne Chapman | 11/9/2011 - 8:14am
Tom, I have not followed this movement closely, as it doesn't seem to have any specific goals, but to be primarily a collection of people with vague protests that it wants to replace the ''god of Wall Street'', but without saying what it wants to replace the market with, or how it is to be done, or what the costs and benefits to society will be.
Could you please summarize what exactly it is the protestors are looking for?  What would be the actions or policies that they want to see undertaken by government that would end this protest? Can they produce coherant and logical cost-benefit analyses to support their their proposals?  

Right now this movement seems to be mostly an opportunity for people to vent their very understandable frustrations at a wide range of perceived problems and injustices, but does not seem to be a movement with any coherance or plan.
Anne Chapman | 11/11/2011 - 2:13pm
Vince, you still haven't answered the questions I asked.

WHAT must happen for these demonstrations to end?

 No, the OWherever is not a political party but the "movement" is asking for political action.

 I agree with some of their complaints and proposals, I disagree with some of what they say, and I imagine that this is true of most Americans, and apparently it is true of the protestors themselves. 

So, what will end it?

Do they respect the democratic institutions of this country? 

To repeat the questions again (#7)

So, will the protesters continue to camp out until ALL these damands are met?

What will they do if some are not met by congress? 

Will they camp out forever?

  How will they react if the majority of voters in the country do not support ALL of these demands in the democratic process (shown by how they vote in congressional and presidential elections)? 

Do they respect the rights and views of those who may disagree?  Do they respect the electoral process in this country?

So far, nobody has attempted to answer the question

david power | 11/11/2011 - 1:38pm

I am still waiting for some answers to the questions you asked on the Sanctity question about a week ago.