Catholicradical: Where Catholic thought is combined with Catholic Action

Quotes from Catholic philosophical and theological leaders from the past and present. Your comments are encouraged!!!

Location: Charleston, South Carolina, United States

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Duty of Hospitality

People who are in need and are not afraid to beg give to people not in need the occasion to do good for goodness' sake. Modern society calls the beggar 'bum' and 'panhandler' and gives him the bum's rush. But the Greeks used to say that people in need are the ambassadors of the gods. As God's Ambassadors you should be given food, clothing and shelter by those who are able to give it. Mahometan teachers tell us that God commands hospitality, and hospitality is still practiced in Mahometan countries. But the duty of hospitality is neither taught nor practiced in Christian countries. That is why you who are in need are not invited to spend the night in the homes of the rich. There are guest rooms today in the homes of the rich but they are not for those who need them. And they are not for those who need them because those who need them are no longer considered as the Ambassadors of God. So people no longer consider hopitality to the poor as a personal duty. And it does not disturb them a bit to send them to the city, where they are given the hospitality of the [shelters] at the expense of the taxpayer. But the hospitality that the [shelter] gives to the down and out is no hospitality because what comes from the taxpayer's pocketbook does not come from his heart. The Catholic unemployed should not be sent to [a shelter]. The Catholic unemployed should be given hospitality in Catholic Houses of Hospitality. Catholic Houses of Hospitality are known in Europe under the name of hospices. There have been hospices in Europe since the time of Constantine. Hospices are free guest houses; hotels are paying guest houses. And paying guest houses or hotels are as plentiful as free guest houses or hospices are scarce. So hospitality, like everything else, has been commercialized. So hospitality, like everthing else, must now be idealized. We need Houses of Hospitality to give to the rich the opportunity to serve the poor. We need Houses of Hospitality to bring the Bishops to the people and the people to the Bishops. We need Houses of Hospitality to bring back to institutions the technique of institutions. We need Houses of Hospitality to show what idealism looks like when it is practiced. We need Houses of Hospitality to bring social justice through Catholic Action exercised in Catholic institutions. We read in the Catholic Encyclopedia that during the early ages of Christianity the hospice (or the House of Hospitality) was a shelter for the sick, the poor, the orphans, the old, the traveler, and the needy of every kind. Originally the hopices (or Houses of Hospitality) were under the supervision of the Bishops, who designated priests to administer the spiritual and temporal affairs of these charitable institutions. The foruteenth statute of the so-called Council of Carthage, held about 436, enjoins the Bishops to have hospices (or Houses of Hospitality) in connection with their churches. Today we need Houses of Hospitality as much as they needed them then, if not more so. We have Parish Houses for the priests, Parish Houses for educational purposes, Parish Houses for recreational purposes, but no Parish Houses of Hospitality. Bossuet says that the poor are the first children of the Church, so the poor should come first. People with homes should have a room of hospitality, so as to give shelter to the needy members of the parish. The remaining needy members of the parish should be given shelter in a Parish Home. Furniture, clothing, and food should be sent to the needy members of the parish at the Parish House of Hsopitality. We need Parish Homes as well as Parish Domes. In the Cathedral of Liverpool there is a Home as well as a Dome. Catholic Houses of Hospitality should be more than free guest houses for the Catholic unemployed. They could be vocational training schools, including the training for the priesthood, as Father Corbett proposes. They could be Catholic reading rooms, as Father McSorley proposes. They could be Catholic InstructionSchools, as Father Cornelius Hayes proposes. They could be Round-Table Discussion Groups, as Peter Maurin proposes. In a word, thdy could be Catholic Action Houses, where Catholic Thought is combined with Catholic Action. --Peter Maurin


Blogger Moneybags said...

I agree that hospitality is an important part of the Catholic faith. For just as we treated others we will also be judged. I just finished reading "The Lessons of St. Francis" by John Michael Talbot, and I think that book showed the importance of various virtues such as humility, creativity, as well as others. I wrote a view on my blog: .

Good site :) I'll try to visit more often

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