1985 Nov 26 – Pre-statement for Bp Retreat
Part of pre-statements prepared for The Participants In Bishops The Faith And Resistance Retreat, November 24-26, 1985. This retreat was canceled regrettably
I offer as my contribution the following reflections, a biographic sketch and attached article as preliminary background for the presentation, “From Protest to. Resistance: The Historical Roots of the American Catholic Resistance Movement.” Hopefully, along with Fr. Lumpkin’s paper it will serve to initiate discussion and reflection.
The most influential factor determining the direction and agenda of the USA Catholic Church is the sheer demographic character of the whole Roman Catholic experience. Today sixty percent of the worlds Catholics live in Third World Countries. This percentage will continue to increase in the years ahead. In the USA, one out of four Catholics comes from Spanish speaking cultures. In-creasingly being born a Catholic means being born into poverty. Our Church’s preferential option for the poor will continue to dominate the social teachings and actions of the Catholic Church in the years ahead. The unique position and vocation of the White Middle Class Roman Catholic Church in the USA is only beginning to make itself known. Catholic participation in the Resistance Movement in the USA is a sign of this affluent Church coming of age embracing its unique challenge.
Any survey of the theological, ethical, and historical elements of the Catholic tradition in the USA that have led Catholics into the Resistance Movement must begin with Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement. This Living Lay Movement is the touchstone upon which Catholic Americans have entered the Resistance Movement. We need to explore the significance this movement has had and continues to have in our Church and Nation.
If Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker are our roots in the USA’s Resistance Movement, then the Berrigans are the heart of the Catholic Resistance efforts. These brothers and the resistance communities they influence have redefined the geography of faith in our nuclear times. During the Vietnam years, these practitioners of Truth moved a reluctant Church against the war by burning draft files.
All hell broke loose and Church and State in America have never been the same. Since then, they and their friends have been creating the language upon which the Resistance Movement rests. A language of Truth based in scripture, expressed in symbol and infleshed with disarmed bodies. In an age when words lie, it is a language of deeds. We’ll need to devote time exploring and reflecting upon the important contribution these brothers have made.
Biographic Sketch: Frank Cordaro
Born February 1951, Des Moines Iowa.
Catholic from birth, third generation Italian American. Father deceased. Mother, sister and four brothers. Tom Cordaro is my brother.
Twelve years of Catholic Education – grade school and high school.
Graduate of the University of Northern Iowa with a P.E. and Health degree in 1973.
Became a Charismatic my Jr. year and was a practicing Charismatic five years. Three years at Aquinas Institute of Theology in Dubuque, Iowa studying for the Diocese of Des Moines. A summer at a Black and Puerto Rican Parish in the South Bronx, a summer at the Catholic Worker in Davenport, Iowa and Internship in Campus Ministry at the University of Iowa. Fell in love and dropped out of Seminary to start Catholic Worker in Des Moines, Iowa. Received my Masters of Divinity degree from Aquinas in 1976.
Lived seven years at the Des Moines Catholic Worker. Worked as a Community Organizer (Saul Alinsky School) with low-income folks, Blacks, the handicap, community college students and senior citizens. A veteran of many Civil Disobedient campaigns. Arrested in Washington, D.C., Rock Island, Ill., Cedar Rapids, IA, Des Moines, IA, Minneapolis, Mn., Glenwood, Mn., Omaha, Neb., and Rocky Flats CO. Have served ten months in different jails and prisons. Started a Doctor of Ministry degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary and completed everything short of the major paper and project. Mother, sister and two brothers have crossed the line at SAC. A family that crosses together stays together.
Decided to re-enter the ordination process the summer of 1983. Did two years Church time at St. John’s in Collegevil1e, Mn. Demonstrated I was capable of functioning within the Institutional Church and was ordained a priest in June of this year by Bishop M. Dingman… God Bless him!
Assigned to the Harrison County Team Ministry, three priests, two deacon couples and a nun serving five rural parishes in Harrison County, Iowa.
For the last ten years I have been living and working with the poor of this country. I have struggled against the rise of militarism in our society. I’m now seeing first hand the dismantling of our family farming system. We are very close to having massive corporate farming in the Heartland and the concentration of farmland into fewer and fewer hands, all good biblical indicators of a spiritually sick nation.