Jane welcomed everyone on behalf of the Catholic Worker (CW), and opened the floor up to announcements:
Occupy Faith will be participating in the blockade of Gov. Cuomo’s office this week to protest draconian budget cuts with respect to the poor and homeless
Jane invites everyone to stay for refreshments afterwards but has to leave to care for an elder member of their community who is sick.
Sister Susan (SS) calls the Assembly to order with a prayer she’s written to celebrate the spirit of the Occupation.
Loren Hart made the introduction to the group for Occupy, Catholics, he explained that we will be breaking into four discussion groups:
1. Direct Action
2. The Economy and Catholic Teaching
3. Non-violence and the Occupy Movement
4. Individual and community responses
Loren then explains the use of Occupy hand signals and the assembly bore into group discussion.
After the discussion Sister Susan explains the report-back procedure
Direct Action Report-back by Maria:
Ideas: Bible Block- Dressing as biblical characters performing ‘morality plays’ on the street in the city.
May Day- Coordinating action w/MayDay Coalition
Foreclosure Auction Blockade with O4O
Rosary ‘societies’ at churches with Armbands to make a presence known
Occupying Hands – Asking questions during Homilies
Discussion: Liz: What are we doing for Holy Week, we should use it to get media exposure.
Richie: concerned with Occupy Hands; if we are trying to reach out we may put people off if we interrupt a mass.
Nathan: Occupy, Catholics will have actions in concert with Occupy Faith on palm Sunday and with Pax Christi on Good Friday Stations of the Cross Procession.
Chris agrees with Richie’s concern but likes the foreclosure actions
Community Responses Report-back by Kristin
Discussion topics were: Does the movement have a political agenda?
We need to work in our community
Students need to talk about Social Justice
What does poverty mean? What is a necessity?
Dorothy Day said we need to stay close to the least in our society – soup kitchens
Loren: perceptions of Occupy movement mirror voluntary poverty- “being the change” What are the effects of conscious/conspicuous consumption? How the use of social media can be used to raise consciousness. Schools need discuss these issues with kids.
Non-violence Report-back by Robert
Non-violence viewed by Catholics seems to be out of step with Church teaching – Catholics support torture and killing
There is a violence in supporting the status quo, in allowing the seizing of homes.
Black Bloc as a potential way to distract from principles of non-violence.
The movement is alive and well – as evidenced by recent Union Square gathering
Discussion: John: if there is an ambiguity in OWS as exemplified by Diversity of Tactics then Occupy, Catholics needs to affirm Non-violence
Someone asked what is Black Bloc, Steve explains what Black Bloc is.
Economy and Catholic Teaching Report-back by David:
Social Justice in economic thought is integral to Catholic teaching, but it is not being emphasized we need to ask for a mass at St Patricks Cathedral by either Cardinal Egan or Dolan to celebrate the Labor Encyclical, then have masses said in the local diocese to highlight the issue of social justice. The thought being, if the seat of the diocese leads the local churches will follow.
Discussion: Chris: we need to create a dialogue, Occupy is a grass roots movement and we need to push the cause of Social Justice with is being overlooked and ignored even though it is at the core of our Liturgy.
A General discussion started where Rick told about police harassment of OWS people; Bill read about an anti-OWS movie; Steve said that movie was being produced by Citizens United; Liz said she is tired of violent patriotism where if you don’t support war you aren’t a good American- non-violence needs to be emphasized.
Loren said we were out of time invited everyone for refreshments asked for any announcements:
Robin said come to Liberty Plaza with signs and participate, the tourist buses are still telling people about OWS as they pass!
Karen from O4O said there is a foreclosure blockade 3/26 in the Bronx and people should check it out on http://www.O4Onyc.org
Steve said Occupy, Catholics needs all the Catholics of conscious to join us at our planning meeting on March 20th, at the Plam Sunday Occupy Faith and part of the Pax Christi Stations of the Cross on Good Friday and on Facebook.
And the meeting was adjourned.