With election time on the horizon, the descriptive terms in the title start coming up in conversation more and more frequently. And yes, it is all correct; I’m an Irish citizen, a devout Catholic and a committed anarchist. To the average person, that might seem incongruous- certainly the last two- even absurd. But it is all correct.
Needless to say, questions come thick and fast:
How I can remain in the hierarchical Catholic Church- which prizes devotion and obedience above just about everything- and embrace a political outlook that rejects hierarchies and embraces liberty and free thought?
Doesn’t anarchism reject organization altogether in favour of chaotic rebellion?
Can you really be part of a hierarchical church- a very often reactionary and intolerant one- and still maintain your own liberty and autonomy, both of which sacrosanct to anarchists?
‘No Gods, No Masters’ and ‘I believe in God the Father Almighty’… Can you actually hold on to both?
My personal answer comes from years of lived experience, thousands of pages, dozens of interactions, and much contemplation. It comes from discovery and investigation of the rich seam of radical thought within Christian teaching and history- the worker priests of France; the Catholic Worker movement of Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin; the theology of Jacques Ellul and Nicolai Berdyaev; the philosophy of Leo Tolstoy… So the thoughts I’ll give here are relatively brief, but there’s plenty to explore…
… In the words of one Jewish carpenter, ‘seek and you shall find’…