On May 1st, 1983, two of us walked in Dorothy Day’s footsteps in Union Square at Fourteenth Street to distribute the twelve-page anniversary issue of The Catholic Worker. Joseph Zarella had been a full-time volunteer at the Catholic Worker when Peter Maurin was in his prime, in the years from 1935 to 1942. Zarella had travelled with Peter Maurin in 1936 to visit the newly founded houses of the Catholic Worker movement. He remembered the talks that Maurin had given to the struggling groups, as well as to monasteries, seminaries and parishes throughout the country. I had encountered Maurin in the early nineteen forties on visits to the Catholic Worker. What we most remembered about Maurin was his utter selflessness, his total absorption in the message he was impelled to share. We cherish the memory of that craggy face, illuminated from within, as he delivered the carefully phrased concepts. We recall what it was like to have the index finger of that broad peasant hand brandished before our faces as Maurin “made his points.” It was these “points,” lived out dramatically by Dorothy Day, and enfleshed not only in her memorable writing but in the C. W. movement, that captured the minds of young people and set them on fire with zeal to remake the world.
One should not take any of this too seriously. Or read too much into it. Human sport is hardly languishing in popularity. With billion fans worldwide, soccer is more popular than ever, as is cricket, hockey and tennis. But robots could add to the fun. We live in a world hungry for entertainment, a world where, in the immortal words of “Rampaging” Roy Slavin and HG Nelson, “ too much sport is barely enough ”.
But are these transfer payments and ‘entitlements’ affordable, in either economic or moral terms? By continuing and enlarging them, do we subsidise sloth, or do we enrich a debate on the rudiments of the good life?
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