by Cori Hilsgen
Throughout history, the Catholic Church has taken slow but steady strides toward recognizing human rights, especially in the last century or so, according to local author Barry Hudock.
Hudock will talk about his new book at 7:15 p.m. Monday, May 13 at the Central Minnesota Catholic Worker House in St. Joseph. The name of his book is “Faith Meets World: The Gift and Challenge of Catholic Social Teaching,” published by Liguori Publications. At the gathering, he will read selections from the book and discuss Catholic social teaching.
In the book, Hudock discusses historical events and church documents that are the basis for Catholic social teaching. He also discusses ideas and how to put those ideas into action in everyday lives and society.
Hudock said Catholic social teaching is all about the moral aspects of living together as people in society. A strong point has been the way it has applied principles to the ways society has developed in different periods. He gave examples of how, during the Industrial Revolution, Pope Leo insisted workers are not like tools that employers can buy and do whatever they want with. During the Cold War, Pope John called for international peace and respect for human rights. And just recently, during the recession, Pope Benedict criticized the moral failures of capitalism and pushed for an economy marked by kindness rather than greed.
Hudock said the church has learned from the world about human rights, a development that happened relatively quickly, but not overnight. He finds it to be a fascinating story. He gave examples of how in the 19th Century the church was against the idea of human rights. But, a century later, John Paul II was one of the greatest defenders of human rights.
Much of his understanding, experience and ideas for the book came from his own personal experiences with poverty. Hudock worked as a director of two agencies serving people living in poverty in central Appalachia, one of the poorest regions in the country.
He was the executive director of the ABLE Families and Christian Help nonprofit organizations headquartered in Kermit, W.V.
“It’s a beautiful region with wonderful, strong people,” Hudock said. “That made seeing the poverty there all the more discouraging. The whole situation offers a great example of the fact it’s not just luck or fate or an individual’s willingness to work hard that help determine who is poor and who isn’t. It’s also the economic structure we set up. Catholic social teaching knows this very well.”
Hudock said it took him about three years to write his second book. He said he usually gets up at 4 a.m. every day, including weekends. He walks his dog and then writes. Hudock also works full-time at the Liturgical Press at St. John’s University in Collegeville.
“It’s a little rough at times, but the topics I choose to write about, like this book, are always topics I really enjoy, so it’s not too hard,” Hudock said.
Hudock came to Stearns County two years ago to work at Liturgical Press. He said it’s a privilege because it has such an amazing history.
“I always go to work in the morning thinking how cool that I get to work here,” Hudock said.
The 44-year-old Hudock lives in Albany with his wife, Antoinette, and their seven children. Hudock said they like the Albany area and really lucked out when they moved here two years ago because they had to do their house hunting by long-distance from West Virginia. Wife Toni came up for a day, looked around and found their house while he stayed home with their children. He said he never saw the house until the day they signed the mortgage and moved in.
Hudock’s first book, “The Eucharistic Prayer: A User’s Guide,” also published by Liturgical Press, was published in 2010.
The Catholic Worker House is located at 35 2nd Ave. S.E. in St. Joseph. A simple meal will be served at 6:30 p.m., followed by prayer and discussion with Hudock at 7:15 p.m.