“These people are doing something worthwhile, quietly and faithfully,” David Moczulski says of the youthful residents of Occupy Pittsburgh, a camp of about 100 tents at Mellon Green, a park owned by the financial firm BNY Mellon. “They’re very respectful and non-violent, walking around with signs, chanting, trying to engage people in conversation” about the growing gap between rich and poor. “It’s basically [about] the big bank bailout. Nobody’s been held accountable for the misdeeds of the last few years.” In a statement on its website, Occupy Pittsburgh spells it out: “We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know we are your allies.”
Describing himself as “an aging hippie,” David says, “It’s a great thing for me to see young people involved in this. I’ve thought about participating” in the Pittsburgh camp, made up primarily of underemployed college graduates and veterans. “It would be good if we did that as a Church.” So far the closest thing to that is a document on global finance issued Oct. 24 by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. “Catholic social teaching and the Occupy Wall Street movement agree that the economy should be at the service of the human person and that strong action must be taken to reduce the growing gap between rich and poor,” Vatican officials told the National Catholic Reporter.
In Detroit, the poor joined forces with Occupy protesters just two blocks from St. Aloysius Parish. “Some of the Occupiers here have let homeless people share their tents” at the campsite at Grand Circus Park, says Al Mascia. While the parish has not endorsed a political agenda, “They are presently within our parish boundaries and so, according to Pastor Tod Laverty, deserving of our pastoral care. Our parish nurse, for example, was there helping to assist with health and wellness issues and giving out flu shots. Their food commissary was shut down due to health reasons so the Canticle Café carts and volunteers provided some food and hot beverages” last week during a cold snap.