January 29, 2023

The Working Catholic: Flee the World? by Bill Droel The monastic idea is to devote one’s entire attention to God. Doing so during the Middle Ages meant turning against the frivolous distractions of the world and concentrating fully on God, writes Jamie Kreiner in The Wandering Mind: What Medieval Monks Tell Us About Distraction (Liveright, 2023). Various monasteries and individual monks (women and men) used multiple techniques for achieving singular attention. Some practices were extreme. Plenty of monastic types, like... Read more

January 3, 2023

The Working Catholic: Charity by Bill Droel “To give away money is an easy matter… But to decide to whom to give and how much and when, and for what purpose and how, is neither in every [person’s] power nor an easy matter.” –Aristotle (384 BC-322 BC) The hard part of giving away wealth “is figuring out how to do it in a leveraged way. It is not easy. Building Amazon was not easy… And I am finding that philanthropy... Read more

December 28, 2022

The Working Catholic: Democracy by Bill Droel Democracy requires a thick, independent civil society. Democracy is a fraud when restrictions are placed on churches, when unions are really fronts for the government or the company, when self-supporting newspapers and other media succumb to mega-forces and when there is only one viable political party. It is likewise difficult to impose genuine democracy in a place that does not traditionally have networks of autonomous groups. The benefits of civil society are multiple.... Read more

December 2, 2022

The Working Catholic: A Christmas Theme by Bill Droel Remember always to welcome strangers, for by doing this some people have entertained angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2)   Welcoming strangers is a Christmas theme. It appears in a half verse in the story of Jesus’ birth: Upon arriving in Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary learned “there was no room for them at the inn.” (Luke 2:7) The Mexican Posada tradition creatively dramatizes the incident. But the facts are scant. After... Read more

November 16, 2022

The Working Catholic: Signs of the Times by Bill Droel How do we become aware that a new age has dawned? Did anyone in November 1492 proclaim that the modern age began the previous month when Native Americans discovered Christopher Columbus (1451-1506)? Did anyone in November 1517 realize that the modern age began the previous month when Rev. Martin Luther (1483-1546) challenged the Roman Catholic bureaucracy? Yet looking back to those events we trace global commerce, exploration, cultural imperialism, a... Read more

November 1, 2022

The Working Catholic: Green Transportation by Bill Droel “Bicycles are not only thermo-dynamically efficient, they are also cheap,” says Catholic philosopher Ivan Illich (1926-2002) in Energy and Equity (Harper Collins, 1974). “Bicycles let people move with greater speed without taking up significant amounts of scarce space, energy or time.” Jody Rosen affirms Illich’s contention in Two Wheels Good: the History and Mystery of the Bicycle (Crown, 2022). Bikes are “a remarkably effective device for converting human exertion into locomotion,” he... Read more

October 18, 2022

The Working Catholic: Identity by Bill Droel The pro-ethnicity movement of the early 1970s made some sense. Michael Novak (1933-2017), to mention one proponent, convincingly argued that the elite Hollywood and Wall St. and Beltway culture might not be “good for children and other living things.” He foresaw that the modern emphases on achievement, bureaucratic efficiency, tech-obsession, celebrity status and quick results leaves many people behind, especially those who live in de-industrial cities and in smaller towns. Novak’s The Rise... Read more

September 21, 2022

The Working Catholic: Thanksgiving by Bill Droel I’m at a disadvantage in our Mr. Baseball contest. Each March we select the teams that will make the playoffs and we predict which will go furthest. My problem is the Astros. They have already won the AL West but I didn’t pick them because of the trashcan cheating incident. They were not sufficiently punished, in my opinion. I carry my attitude about cheaters onto the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. If the... Read more

September 5, 2022

The Working Catholic: Social Doctrine, Part Nine by Bill Droel Capitalism today is of the libertarian or wild cowboy style. It destructs our middle-class way of life plus, let’s admit, it erodes the well-being of its supposed mega-beneficiaries. Alternative styles of capitalism are available. They preserve an industrial base, increase employee participation in the economy and improve the odds of maintaining peace. Along the way, the alternatives strengthen economic competitiveness. They support long-haul capitalism, a democratic capitalism. Germany has an... Read more

August 20, 2022

The Working Catholic: Too Much Talk by Bill Droel A book discussion group is a plus for a neighborhood. In fact, any neighborhood with several such groups likely has a strong social fabric. However, a discussion group is mistaken to think it is social action–even if its selections are current affairs. A small group gathers for breakfast after the 9 A.M. Mass.  Its regulars share parish comings-and-goings and the latest on clergy shenanigans around the country.  The breakfast club certainly... Read more

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