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Archive for February 14th, 2011

Canonize Peter Maurin

from the Houston Catholic Worker:  http://www.cjd.org/paper/canonize.html

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Twenty Years After

As we began the new decade on New Year’s Day, I was hard pressed to think of anything good that had happened the previous ten years, the first decade of the much-vaunted Third Millennium.  I do not mean that nothing good happened in my personal life; like most of you the years brought much good, and some bad. Children were born, icons painted, friendships formed. And bouts of ill health, deaths, etc.; the stuff of life.

But in the wider world, all I could remember was 9/11, Katrina, tsunamis, earthquakes and other natural disasters on a grand scale, the Bush/Cheney era, our two Long Wars, economic collapse. etc. etc. You get the idea.

When I asked my friends, they couldn’t come up with much, either. One said the papacy of Benedict, but on that I disagree, though I am not yet prepared to criticize him publicly. My brother Michael suggested that the outpouring of giving that followed in the wake of the various calamities was a good thing, and on that I agree. After much thought, I also realized that the fact that the United States elected a black man president was a great good, one that I never expected to see in my lifetime. That said president has been a disappointment, continuing for the most part the policies of Bush & co, albeit with less belligerent rhetoric, does not undue that good.

Still, for ten years that is not much.

So, we begin 2011 hoping that the coming decade will be better.

It occurred to me the other day that 2011 also marks the twentieth anniversary of the beginning of the journal Caelum et Terra. Two decades ago Maclin and Karen Horton and I decided that instead of complaining about the state of things we would attempt an alternative. We didn’t know what we were doing, but we got a small sum of money together, approached our various friends for articles, assembled a small mailing list, and got to work. Through a series of unlikely circumstances we somehow managed to break even and continue publishing for five years.

It was a rewarding endeavor on many levels, though we never had more than a couple thousand subscribers. We did make a lot of friends, and we did manage to feel less isolated in articulating our vision, which eluded easy categorization.

Of course, looking back, there are things I would do differently today. I’ve grown older, with the inevitable discouragement that comes with age. I have made some sort of truce with modern technology, not least because of the witness of the second generation CTers that I wrote about some time ago, who live what we dreamed without our technophobia. But if you had told me twenty years ago that Caelum et Terra would grow up to be a website I would have been horrified. Of course something on the internet will never be as satisfying as something tangible like the printed page, but it is easier and less expensive, and it is nice to be free of the headache of trying to hustle new subscriptions.

It is somehow fitting that I begin a new phase of the website on the twentieth anniversary of the birth of the magazine. I had originally intended this blog to be a sort of online journal, with a variety of contributors. But all of our old writers have moved on, writing books and articles and blogging on their own. It was rare, after Maclin departed for his own blog, that anyone wrote here but myself. As for me, I treated it just like a magazine, and I wrote generally long posts, like online essays. As I am busy with family, work and iconography, there were long lulls here.

But I have finally conceded that this is pretty much my blog, though guest contributors will always be welcome. I will still probably write longer essays, but the days when posts were months apart are gone.

So, to all our old contributors and subscribers, Happy Anniversary, and thank all of you for your prayers and support through the years.

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