Seventeen Catholic Workers Arrested at Chicago Federal Building

Fifty Catholic Workers from the Midwest held a demonstration to contrast the Works of Mercy and the Works of War outside the Federal Building in Chicago, Illinois on April 26, 2010.

The group highlighted the ever-increasing U.S. military budget.  At 9:00 a.m., five activists sprawled out in front of the building–dramatizing the human costs of war– while others, in shirts reading “Stop U.S. Wars”, entered the building and refused to leave.  Others handed out food and offered coffee to passers-by to engage in the Works of Mercy and illustrate the devastating effects of U.S. militarism.

“The United States has the most powerful military force in all of human history. We are wasting our resources, entering into unprecedented national debt, and creating incalculable destruction, displacement, and death by continuing these wars,” said Jerica Arents, a Chicago resident and a member of the White Rose Catholic Worker community.

“We cannot continue to sit complacently as the government allocates billions more to expand the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Chantal deAlcuaz.  “Right now, the United States is spending twice the amount of the rest of the world combined on defense spending. Meanwhile, there are 3,000 pending foreclosures in Chicago alone. What kind of security is that? For all of our bombs, we still don’t have homes for the vulnerable and marginalized in our own society.”

The group of Catholic Workers hopes to highlight an alternative vision for building society that is based on a philosophy of personalism and works of compassion.  They are calling for an end to the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and U.S. military aid to Israel.

The Midwest Catholic Worker Community is representative of a nationwide movement of Catholic Worker houses which have practiced the works of mercy since the movement was founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin on May 1st, 1933. These works include providing hospitality to the homeless, feeding the hungry and practicing simple living.

For more information, contact Stephanie Dernek at 773-960-3325