Thoughts on theft

posted by Mike on August 2nd, 2006

Yesterday afternoon, after helping a friend with computer troubles, I stopped by the old, now-empty Catholic Worker house on South Bend’s West Washington Street to do some yard work.

I threw my backpack against the side of the house and started cutting weeds. When I was ready to leave, I saw that my backpack was gone.

My friend helped me run around looking for it, and finally we found it down the alley, with the contents strewn about. My planner and library books were there, but my camera, iPod, and CD case had been stolen.

The iPod, with “Deus Caritas Est” printed on the side, was filled with Jesuit meditations from Pray-As-You-Go.

Among the stolen discs were data CDs with Brenna Cussen’s photos and PowerPoint presentation about her Darfur work, and a DVD with the first part of the documentary “The Power of Nightmares,” which traces the parallel histories of neo-conservatism and radical Islam.

So I figure that ten years from now, I’ll be listening to some international policy scholar from Harvard speaking, and he’ll say, “Well, the way I first got interested in politics was, I stole this guy’s backpack . . . .”
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Laissez Les Bon Temps Hoosier!

posted by Mike on July 20th, 2006

I’m at the South Bend Catholic Worker.

The community here occupies a rectory and two houses. There are a handful of guests (homeless and otherwise) and one or two Catholic Workers in each building.

The South Bend Tribune happens to have interviewed a couple of the Catholic Workers for an article in today’s paper about Deus Caritas Est:

There is a difference, [Mike Baxter] says, between “bourgeois do-goodiness” and truly seeking to “love thy neighbor.” When striving toward the latter, “you end up wanting and having to rearrange your life.”

Among other news I can share, seeing as it’s blogged elsewhere, Ms. Brenna Cussen is back from giving some talks at the Ekklesia Project, where her presentation was one of the “highlights.”

Mike Baxter and Brenna Cussen. South Bend Tribune photo/Su Anderson.

South Bend zoning news for May 2006

posted by Mike on May 19th, 2006

From today’s South Bend Tribune:

  • The Board of Zoning Appeals has approved of a request by the South Bend Catholic Worker to have their house at 515 S. St. Joseph Street be a group residence.
  • The BZA has denied a request by Opus Dei to raze a building, replace it with two smaller ones, and change the zoning. The article cites a laundry list of objections, but the one that leaps out at me is that the change would conflict with “neighborhood redevelopment plans.” Woe to anyone in South Bend who would make use of a lot in some way not envisioned by the neighborhood redevelopment plan. What would Jane Jacobs think of this foolishness?

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South Bend Catholic Worker loses zoning battle

posted by Mike on November 29th, 2005

The South Bend Common Council has denied a zoning change to the Catholic Worker community there. WNDU-TV:

“We are looking forward to finding another house that’s properly zoned and continuing our work,” said [Margie] Pfeil. “We are hopeful that we can get a good price on our house and invest our money elsewhere.”
Starting Tuesday the Catholic Workers plan to move their five guests and three staff members south two streets to a house that the diocese gave to the organization years ago.

South Bend Tribune:

A last-minute effort to prolong the Catholic Worker house issue failed in a 5-4 vote. This was followed by an emotional 7-2 vote to deny the group’s overall rezoning petition.
There are no plans to pursue a lawsuit against the city, [Mike] Griffin said.

“Many have said we have a good case,” Griffin said. “But it’s also a Christian tradition at times to simply shake the dust from your sandals and move on.”


posted by Mike on November 19th, 2005

Clark University students yesterday installed 2,000 crosses and other faith symbols on the main quad to remember the 2,082 GIs who lost their lives in Iraq and to call for a swift withdrawal of U.S. forces.

2,000 crosses at Clark University, Nov 18, 2005. Photo by Emma Klein.
Photo: Emma Klein. More at Worcester Indymedia.

Other items:
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posted by Mike in Items, South Bend Catholic Worker | on November 19th, 2005 | Permanent Link to “Items” | 1 Comment »

South Bend Catholic Worker DOESN’T lose zoning vote

posted by Mike on November 15th, 2005

Update: The South Bend Catholic Worker has a good chance of winning its zoning battle. The article cited below says that they “lost” yesterday’s zoning vote because it was a tie vote. But all this really means is that it will go to another vote at the next Common Council meeting, when the missing councilor will be there and break the tie.

When I was in SB a couple weeks ago, the feeling was that few people in power were willing to support the CW. So this tie vote represents powerful momentum. One hopes that they can work something out with those neighbors who oppose the zoning change, and get a 9-0 council vote on the compromise solution.

Here’s the story, via WNDU-TV:

A public hearing was held on whether to re-zone a Catholic group home and took nearly four hours Monday night. Ultimately, it was defeated due to a tie vote.

A tie vote is much better than people were expecting.
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posted by Mike on November 7th, 2005

Today: Homeless camp, South Bend CW zoning update, Pit Stop Ploughshares, Dwight Smith talks, Massachusetts parish comes out against Iraq war, Darfur, artists abroad.

posted by Mike in Items, South Bend Catholic Worker | on November 7th, 2005 | Permanent Link to “Items” | No Comments »


posted by Mike on October 20th, 2005
  • There will not be much Worcester news on this blog for the next couple weeks; I’m heading for the Catholic Peace Fellowship gathering in Indiana. Retreat leaders will include Paul Keim, Kathy Kelly, Bishop John Michael Botean, and Father Daniel Berrigan, SJ.
  • Worcester Magazine reports on a “west side crimewave” that neighbors are blaming on the hobo jungle in Beaver Brook Park.

    Word on the street is that the guys are vacating the lot now anyway as the weather turns cold. I think as many as a dozen people were sleeping there over the summer, although the cops would periodically raid the area and arrest some of the guys. When they were released from jail, they’d head right back to Beaver Brook.

    Also in WoMag, Phil Reid presents his vision for a compassionate city.

  • Catholic schoolteacher Stephen Kobasa lost his job because a new policy clashed with his longstanding distaste for saying the Pledge of Allegiance and for posting a flag in his classroom. The full story is worth reading.
  • The latest Pit Stop Ploughshares trial is coming up in Ireland. The last one ended in an early mistrial.
  • The South Bend Catholic Worker, which the city is trying to shut down through zoning violations, is playing the zoning game itself, thus far with no luck.

    Members of the Area Plan Commission of St. Joseph County voted to recommend that the South Bend Common Council turn down a request that zoning of the house at 1126 W. Washington St. be changed from single family to multifamily.

    (Full story in South Bend Tribune)

posted by Mike in Items, South Bend Catholic Worker | on October 20th, 2005 | Permanent Link to “Items” | No Comments »


posted by Mike on August 26th, 2005

Some new weekly items:

  • The clash between the South Bend Catholic Worker group and some neighbors over zoning continues to get some press there, although there’s no news to speak of. Here’s an op-ed with some history of the house, and a South Bend Tribune article via Loaded Mouth.
  • Film fans: here’s Victor Morton’s “Catholic Version” of the Aristocrats joke.
  • Spotlight on Darfur 1 is a continuation of a project to highlight the diversity of blog posts on the Darfur crisis, a crisis that Eric Reeves calls “the first great episode of genocidal destruction of the 21st century.” Things continue to go badly there.
  • Photo: Steve Lanava You can read about national attitudes toward the war many places, but what about local opinion?

    In Worcester in recent weeks, we’ve seen a surge of anti-war feeling. For example, in today’s daily paper, the Telegram & Gazette, there are three anti-war letters to the editor, and none supporting the war.
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Isaiah House, Santa Ana

posted by Mike on August 11th, 2005

According to the latest newsletter from Isaiah House, the Catholic Worker community in Orange County, California:

Our lawsuit against the City is still pending. However, settlement discussions with the City under the supervision of the court have progressed steadily. We remain hopeful that a negotiated settlement will be reached soon.

The Orange County Catholic Worker’s crime? Housing homeless kids and their families without a license.
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