Archive for May, 2009

Folding the Digest, keeping book lists

May 9, 2009

After some reflection and a little prayer, I’ve decided that it is time to close the Catholic Worker Digest.

When I started the Digest back in August 2004, I had several purposes. The first was to give online exposure to the type of articles found in the Catholic Worker newspaper. The great Catholic Worker Movement web site was up at that time, but seemed mostly useful as a reference resource about the movement. I didn’t notice other people providing an ongoing CW perspective. So I figured I’d provide summaries of Catholic Worker articles and provide people with ways of either subscribing to the newspaper or accessing the archives at Marquette University.

In 2009, there are a lot of places to explore an ongoing Catholic Worker perspective on current events. Check out Pie and Coffee or any of the other numerous CW blogs. Or check out CW newspapers from Houston, Los Angeles, or other areas.  There is also Frank Codaro’s seemingly comprehensive email list of all things Catholic Worker. I suspect that if you e-mail him at frank.cordaro@gmail.com, he’d be willing to add you to his list.

Aside from exposing more people to CW thinking, I started a blog for the digest for these reasons:

  • I want to be able to update the digest from anywhere.
  • I’m not as timely as I’d like to be, so offering a RSS feed via blogger might make the Digest easier to use and find updates.
  • I hope that if anyone actually reads the digest, we can start having discussions about the material in the Worker. I personally only know one other Catholic Worker subscriber, but we don’t get together much. I’d really like to hear your thoughts about what the NY house writes.
  • Even if no one else comments, having the comments turned on will let me provide comments on specific issues while not sacrificing the “just the facts, ma’am” tone of the main entries.

Well, I’ve never really been able to keep the Digest up to date for any length of time. I’m once again two issues behind.

The digest has rarely sparked discussions. I’ve gotten some very kind e-mails over the past several years, but the sort of sustained discussion I hoped for is lacking in this blog. Additionally, there are now many other online forums to have “clarification of thought.” In addition to CW blogs, there are numerous CW oriented groups on Facebook and other social media sites.

Finally, I think ending the digest will enable me to do a few extended commentaries on some stuff I read in the New York Catholic Worker because I’ll be freed from the need to sound purely descriptive, as a digest should be. Reading Cathy Breen’s dispatches from Iraq, Jordan and Syria over the years has just been heartbreaking and it’d be good to write something more than “Article documents the plight of Iraqi refugees, including their inability to get visas.” about them. I haven’t done much specifically CW yet, over at my personal blog of Alaskan Librarian, but stay tuned.

This web site will stay up as a partial online index to the Catholic Worker. I also intend to keep up my WorldCat list of “Mentioned in the Catholic Worker” at http://www.worldcat.org/profiles/CatholicWorkerDigest/lists/499969.

Thanks to the dozen or so of you who have written or commented over the past five years.  I’ve had fun with this and believe I’ve introduced a few people to the movement started by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin. But now its time to stop duplicating (in my view) the work of others and encourage you to explore the wider Catholic Worker universe. God Bless!