Social Missionaries

A School of Social Studies
would be the training ground
for Social Missionaries,
priests, laymen and women.
As Al Smith said:
“The social problem
is not a problem
for politicians,
business men,
and lawyers.”
The social problem
is a problem
for Social Missionaries.
The task of Social Missionaries
is not to help people
to adjust themselves
to the existing environment.
The task of Social Missionaries
is to teach people
the difficult art
of creating order
out of chaos.
To be a Social Missionary
requires social-mindedness,
historical-mindedness
and practical idealism.

Study Clubs

Social Missionaries
would be official leaders
of Study Clubs.
The conduct of a Study Club
does not require
a fluent speaker.
As Bishop O’Hara said:
“The purpose of Study Clubs
is to make people articulate;
and lectures do not help
to make people articulate.”
Social Missionaries
would be able
to impart their knowledge
through easy conversations.
Easy conversations
about things that matter
would keep people
from going to the movies,
from talking politics,
from cheap wisecracking.
Easy conversation
about things that matter
would enable Catholics
to understand Catholicism,
to give an account of their faith,
and to make non-Catholics
curious about Catholicism.

Works of Mercy

The best kind of apologetics
is the kind of apologetics
people do not have
to apologize for.
In the first centuries
of Christianity
pagans said about Christians:
“See how they love each other.”
The love for God and neighbor
was the characteristic
of the first Christians.
This love was expressed
through the daily practice
of the Works of Mercy.
To feed the hungry,
to clothe the naked,
to shelter the homeless,
to instruct the ignorant
at a personal sacrifice
was considered
by the first Christians
as the right thing to do.
Surplus goods
were considered
to be superfluous,
and therefore
to be used
to help the needy members
of the Mystical Body.

Self-Employing Centers

The remedy for unemployment
is employment,
and there is no better employment
than self-employment.
Self-Employing Centers
are small shops
where repairs can be made
and workers can be found
to do work outside.
With the Self-Employing Centers
could be connected
Houses of Hospitality
where the self-employing workers
could find shelter.
This complicated world
is too complicated
to be dealt with
in an efficient manner
by specialized technicians.
Specialized technicians
knowing more and more
about less and less
do not know
how to simplify
a complicated world.
We need fewer specialists
and more encyclopedists,
fewer masters of one trade
and more jacks-of-all trades.

—Peter Maurin