Dorothy Deserves Better

December 21, 2012HH Brownsmith

Post image for Dorothy Deserves Better

Last month, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops voted to move forward with Dorothy Day’s canonization process. 1 These proceedings are notoriously slow but Dorothy’s has been rightfully measured. Throughout her life, the founder of the Catholic Worker movement expressed resistance to being recognized as a saint. She had a myriad of reasons for being uncomfortable with the title, including the belief that all people are called to be saints and that the canonized are easily written off. She feared sainthood would both trivialize her work and make it seem impossibly difficult.

For a long while, members of the Catholic Worker movement made her opposition to canonization known and fought against the process. However, in the last 15 years some Workers have stepped forward to promote the cause of canonization with the reasoning that what is done posthumously is not for the dead but is for the living. I find this reasoning irreverent and as a person who spent time living in a CW house I strongly oppose canonization for Dorothy. But I do not intend to expound on her “Don’t call me a saint” quotes. Dorothy was clear about her wishes.

The histories and motives of clergy members who have promoted Dorothy’s formal recognition are in need of further analysis. National Public Radio touched on this topic briefly last week but failed to go into detail about the lives of the late Cardinal John J. O’Connor and Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan. 2 Both men have done substantial work to put Dorothy in the Church spotlight.

John J. O’Connor became Archbishop of New York in 1984 after serving as a Navy chaplain and auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of the Military Services. Despite publicly critiquing some US military involvement abroad, John remained an ardent supporter of just war principles until his death in 2000. 3 Military promotion aside, John is best known for his work regarding issues of sexuality and the church. Opposed to safer sex education, condom distribution, AIDS awareness, abortion and the acceptance of GLBT people in church and society, John was considered a “zealous conservative” focused on forwarding “traditional values”. During his tenure, John compared widespread abortions to the Holocaust; refused to support New York’s non-discrimination policy in housing, hiring, and public accommodations (shelters and hotels) for GLBT persons; and refused to sign onto the Catholic Church’s endorsement of AIDS education. 4 His culture warrior mentality drew the ire of many groups in New York but his interactions with ACT-UP, AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, were perhaps the most widely publicized.  In 1989, members of ACT-UP, entered St. Patrick’s Cathedral during a mass being performed by O’Connor, lay down in the aisles, and chained themselves to pews. Many of the men participating in this protest were HIV/AIDS positive, frail, and in their last year of life. Cops were allowed to enter the cathedral and forcibly remove these men. Protestors screamed “You’re killing us, O’Connor!” referring to John’s opposition to AIDS education and condom distribution to which John responded “I must teach what the church teaches”.  To block out the sound of the protestors screams, John led the congregation in a deafening version of the Lord’s Prayer. 5

Though John O’Connor recommended Dorothy for canonization, the current Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, has done most of the work to forward the process.  If John was a champion for the church’s values, than Timothy is a hero for its wallet. Before his installation as Archbishop of New York in 2009, Dolan served as Archbishop of Milwaukee.  During Dolan’s time in Wisconsin, a slew of sexual abuse survivors came forward. In an attempt to save face and keep the Milwaukee diocese out of bankruptcy, Dolan “authorized payments of as much as $20,000 to sexually abusive priests as an incentive for them to agree to dismissal from the priesthood”. 6 When questioned about these payouts, Dolan initially lied about making the payments and then called the money “an act of charity” so priests could pay for “health insurance”. Dolan refused to release the names of the priests who received this payout or any other sexually abusive priests in his dioceses.

Dolan, ever the advocate of institutional interests, has worked to silence proponents of women’s ordination and has publicly opposed the Affordable Healthcare Act as a violation of religious liberty. 7 8  Dolan claims that his distrust of government is something that Dorothy shared. Of course, Dorothy’s politics are widely considered anarchistic and Dolan gave the closing prayer at both political conventions this year. 9

In Loaves and Fishes, Dorothy recalls a story about Ignatius of Sardinia, a Capuchin. In the story, Ignatius begged for alms from neighbors of his monastery. But he always avoided the merchant Franchine, who made his money at the expense of the poor. Franchine was furious that Ignatius refused to visit him not because he so badly wished to give to charity but for “fear of public opinion”. Eventually, the Father Guardian made Ignatius visit the merchant. The merchant gave a good deal of money, Ignatius put it in his collection sack, and as he left the house “blood began oozing from the sack”. Ignatius carried it back to the monastery, laid it at Father Guardian’s feet and said “Here is the blood of the poor.” 10

Cardinal O’Connor and Cardinal Dolan progressed through the ranks of the church and maintained their positions because they further marginalized the wounded, the sick, and the oppressed. Now these men of privilege have the power to convince America that the church that was beginning to look weak on economic justice and obsessed with abortion is neither. Dorothy is not their kindred spirit she is the answer to their public relations dilemma.  Doesn’t Dorothy deserve better than this convenient accolade? Doesn’t the first Catholic Worker deserve more than a sack oozing with the blood of the poor?

Notes:

  1. Otterman, Sharon. “In the Hero of the Catholic Left, a Conservative Cardinal Sees a Saint.”
  2. Scott Simon interviews Rev. James Martin about Dorothy’s canonization process:http://www.npr.org/2012/12/01/166291580/catholic-hero-dorothy-days-road-to-sainthood
  3. EWTN obituary for John Cardinal O’Connor: http://www.ewtn.com/Memoriam/oconnor/life/
  4. Steinfels, Peter.  “Death of a Cardinal; Cadinal O’Connor, 80, Dies Forceful Voice for Vatican” New York Times May 4, 2000.
  5. An excerpt from the film “After Stonewall” about the 1989 Stop the Church protest at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. https://www.youtube.com/watchv=ett_Rz_eNqA&playnext=1&list=PLqVTNDofLrFrX_4Rr3gxchbmDqmsOEUAM&feature=results_video
  6. Goodstein, Laurie. “In Milwaukee Post, Cardinal Authorized Paying Abusers” New York Times May 30, 2012.
  7. Powell, Michael. “A Genial Conservative for New York’s Archdiocese” New York Times. February 23, 2009.
  8. Dolan criticizes the Obama’s healthcare law in a video posted on the United States Conference of Bishops website: http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1410764113001bckey=AQ~~,AAAAdgye3dk~,p0Zv3iru3vJ1dWPiLTKM4XOxf1FgQrRm&bctid=1404872889001
  9. Dwyer, Jim. “Priest’s Dip Into Politics Raises Outcry”  New York Times Sept. 18 2012.
  10. Day, Dorothy. Loaves and Fishes. Maryknoll: Orbis Books,1997. pg. 85.
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004087775998 Robert Smith

    Excellent! Excellent! I lived thirty years listening to the heartbeats of soup pots in “Dorothy’s Kitchen” in Salinas — and occasionally those very same soup pots would whisper (sometimes shout) bits of wisdom for me to hear… grace and wisdom are evident in this article: so the soup pots would say…

  • http://www.jesusradicals.com/ Andy A-B

    In her writings, Dorothy Day quotes the saints over and over. So she was not against canonization per se. It seems to me that she just doesn’t want to be considered a saint in the way that most people think of saints: as pietistic, withdrawn spiritual people who do things that are miraculous rather than achievable. She was a pretty conservative Catholic and from what I have read, had some real problems with Vatican II. She liked the old Pius XII church for the most part.

  • http://www.facebook.com/miki.tracy Miki Tracy

    As a long-time Catholic Worker, and one who was in the New York CW community at the time that the Guild was established, I couldn’t disagree with you more, H.H. I was at some of those early meetings with Cardinal O’Connor and the witnesses; there was nothing but sincere respect and admiration for Dorothy, her mission and her legacy of work in mercy.

    Dorothy was staunchly prolife–”from womb to tomb”–just as she was an orthodox-minded, faithfully-practising, sacramental Catholic. *This* is what the opposition to her canonisation so frequently wants to ignore and brush under the rug–this woman who fought for the unborn, as well as everyone else; this woman who spent *hours* on her knees every day in Catholic churches wherever she was, praying for a book full of names and heartaches; this women who went to Confession ever Saturday, who covered her head biblically, who received the Blessed Sacrament regularly. This woman who suffered for and with the poor until the end, and who recognised that there is a special, lethal poverty afflicting the rich….This woman who is an icon of the Domestic Church Militant. We need her. The world needs her. Canonization will make her and all of her work more available to those who would otherwise never know her at all.

    As a Catholic Worker, and the co-foundress of two houses in different states, I say that the world needs Dorothy and Peter both…and if we have to use the likes of Dolan to make it happen, all the better. Interestingly enough, listening to Timothy Dolan talk about Dorothy is the closest I’ve actually heard him come to genuinely loving another living soul. You have no idea; Dorothy may be the key to the Cardinal’s own conversion….

    • http://www.jesusradicals.com/ Andy A-B

      Yeah…I also don’t understand why Dolan’s appeal to her anti-State stance in regard to the new health care law is all that problematic. She would be right with Dolan and the other bishops on the contraception issue. Not only that, but this law is crappy: it forces us to buy private insurance, making a windfall for the insurance companies and further entrenching the monetization of health care. It is a right-wing policy put forward by the Heritage Foundation, not a socialist policy by any means. I cannot stand the idea of having to buy health insurance (I have not had insurance for a decade). But now I will be forced to buy it from some crappy company that I’ll have to fight with to get them to pay up because they look for reasons not to pay.

      Really it is not her anti-State stance that is relevant to the Health Care debate amongst Catholics, but her anti-capitalism pro-socialism stance. The health care law is big business. So on that level, Dolan is kind of missing the target in using her. But she could bridge the conservative/liberal divide amongst Catholics. People can appeal to her on both sides.

  • http://www.jesusradicals.com/ Andy A-B

    Another thing occurs to me: in opposing her canonization, I wonder if Dorothy Day is not being elevated to an even higher status. She’s too good to be a saint, seems to be the argument. So in arguing against her canonization in favor of a “all of us are saints” type of thing, Dorothy Day is still being picked up and lifted out of the masses, only lifted to a higher level than the other saints. In that regard, canonization might be a good thing for folks since it kind of brings her back down: she’s not too good to be a saint either.

    Anyway…I am not Catholic so my opinion doesn’t really have much weight on this.

    • HH Brownsmith

      Come on, Andy. We both know formal recognition by an ancient institution gives a person more power than informal recognition by people on the streets. This issue brings up so much for both people in the catholic worker movement about the ways we, despite our critiques of power and certification, see it as necessary and desirable.

      • Adam Clark

        I agree. All large institutions, from governments to churches, give out a vast array of titles, decorations and medals to individuals that they believe serve them or society well. It is all meaningless; its only God’s recognition that truly matters. I suspect Dorothy would dislike sainthood in the same way Gandhi disliked Mahatma (“Great Soul”).

        • max percy

          Sainthood is not a title like Lieutenant or CFO, etc… but is the recognition/acclamation of the existential fact of the person’s communion with God in a particularly potent fashion, and the God’s Kingdom is present in a particular way in and around this person.

          • http://reachheavenonearth.blogspot.co.uk/ Adam Clark

            How can any Earthly authority officially sanctify a “person’s communion with God in a particularly potent fashion”? Why are they capable of making such a judgement?

          • max percy

            Any group concerned with meaning and truth does it all the time. We make judgments about persons who are exemplars of what we understand/experience to be the truth about what it means to be a human. It happens right on this website. Why is that controversial?

          • http://reachheavenonearth.blogspot.co.uk/ Adam Clark

            If it is done on this website, I would also disagree with it. In my humble opinion, there is something very different between admiring an individual and glorifying them. Humans have always had a tendency to take things too far. We do not need to put Day on a pedestal and idolize her, she was one of us, She will be a great source of inspiration for generations to come, with or without the sainthood.

            Perhaps O’Connor, Dolan and the Catholic Church’s time would be better spent working on their own virtues rather than glorifying hers. Certainly the proud and palatial Vatican seems far removed from the Catholic Workers life of humility and voluntary poverty.

          • max percy

            It is
            only because of the work of Christ in saints that we, the Church, praise these
            people. It is because we see our Lord’s countenance reflected most
            clearly in their faces that we publicly laud them, ask them to pray for
            us, and encourage one another to follow their examples.

          • http://reachheavenonearth.blogspot.co.uk/ Adam Clark

            Stop me if I am wrong here, but basically a sainthood is the Church officially recognizing that a person, due to their good work here on Earth, has made it to Heaven. I thought God decided such things.

          • maxpercy

            I don’t think it has to do with making it to Heaven (as you say, that is a judgment of God’s). I think the recognition is that the person is in such communion with God that the Holy Spirit abides in that particular person to an unusual degree that the Kingdom of God is present in and around that person in a particularly potent fashion. The Kingdom is made manifest and Creation becomes New Creation in and around that person (people are healed, hungry fed, there is a particular intimacy with animals, etc… I think sainthood is is recognition of that experience of the Church. Its why their relics are venerated and prayers of intercession are requested.

            Does that exclude all the critiques of power and misuse that have already been asserted here? No, of course not.

          • http://reachheavenonearth.blogspot.co.uk/ Adam Clark

            Saint: The holy one who leads a life in union with God through the grace of Christ and receives the reward of eternal life. The Church is called the communion of saints, of the holy ones.

            Source: Glossary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (823, 946; cf. 828).

          • maxpercy

            Sure, we do not disagree. What I am not effectively communicating to you is that eternal life begins NOW in the life of the saint and so they become a locus of the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God now. Not only after death.

  • http://www.facebook.com/m3talsmith Michael Allen Christenson II

    Regardless of the various reasons you’ve put forth, I want her sainthood because it is through her that I saw Catholicism from a different point of view; and through that view have a clear vision of how to move forward. It is through her that I became catholic, and on my confirmation day I would like to be Christened with her name.

    Regardless of whether she is formerly a saint or not, she is always a saint to me; and my christened name will speak to that and point to her every time I am introduced to someone; every time I ladle out another portion of food; every time I do the work for a poor person, that others will not do. So you can argue that Cardinals are using her for their and the churches gain, but I would argue that we are using her for the gain of the poor and to bring justice where injustice is currently entrenched.

  • http://reachheavenonearth.blogspot.co.uk/ Adam Clark

    I have a great respect for Day, Maurin and the Catholic Worker Movement; they have influenced so many and been/are great ambassadors for Christian anarchism, pacifism and simple living.

    However it does not surprise me that various institutional Catholics, such as O’Connor and Dolan, support Day’s canonization. Canonization cements the place of the radical Catholic Worker Movement in Catholicism.

    Over the coming years I foresee the Catholic Worker Movement losing their founding anarchist/personalist principles. New Catholic movements are founded on radical ideas but are eroded back into mainstream Catholicism over time once the founding members have died. One only has to look at what happened over the centuries to the Franciscan and Jesuit movements after Francis of Assisi and Ignatius of Loyola died.

  • John T.

    In the discussion of whether or not Dorothy should be a saint, there seems to be little analysis or critique about the status of sainthood itself and the Roman church’s legitimacy in pronouncing anyone as such an uberman, the discussion seems to focus on Dorothy’s modesty rather than the church’s authority. Where did the church get the authority for such proclamations, whether or not Dorothy wanted it?

    “Christian anarchism and the religion of Caesar: Transcending the Roman religion and rediscovering the tribal indigenous Jesus” -
    http://newaustralianwineskins.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/the-epistle-of-john-tracey-to-the-christian-anarchist-congregation-at-the-brisbane-anarchist-summer-school-2013/

    • http://reachheavenonearth.blogspot.co.uk/ Adam Clark

      Yes, that is the other side of the coin. Many Christian anarchists (rightly or wrongly) accept some level of church authority, so I guess your question should also be aimed at Anglican, Mennonite and Mormon anarchists too.

      In terms of the Catholic Workers relationship with the Catholic Church, I personally don’t quite get it as I don’t see how you can have two spiritual Fathers (i.e. a Pope/priest and God).

      • John T.

        I don’t know much about Mormonism but protestants from Anglicanism to Mennoism have their roots in the Roman church and have basically replicated the theology. I mention this in the article I linked to.

        • http://reachheavenonearth.blogspot.co.uk/ Adam Clark

          Fair enough John, I am a non-Church CA myself so I share many of your reservations on church authority. My personal belief is that it all started to go wrong long before Constantine, under the stewardship of Paul. It is Pauline Christianity that dominates Christian thought today. Leo Tolstoy believed Paul was instrumental in the church’s “deviation” from Jesus’ teaching and practices, whilst Ammon Hennacy believed “Paul spoiled the message of Christ.” According to Tom O’Golo “All that is good about Christianity stems from Jesus, and all that is bad about it stems from Paul.” O’Golo believed Paul corrupted “Jesuanism” by making Jesus into a God, reducing salvation to a matter of belief in Jesus almost regardless of the Torah’s demands and establishing a Church hierarchy to create and control the beliefs of its membership.

    • max percy

      The characterization of sainthood as an “uberman” may not be the fullest understanding of sainthood

      • John T.

        I was being facetious but…….

        From wikipedia –

        “A saint is one who has been recognized for having an exceptional degree of holiness, sanctity, and virtue.”

        “The German prefix über can have connotations of superiority, transcendence, excessiveness, or intensity, depending on the words to which it is prepended”

        Can’t see a connection?

        • John T.

          p.s.
          In terms of Nietzsche’s “uberman”, this is the state of being that jesus offers everyone, they just have to be born again to achieve it. This concept (or my caricature of it) is I suspect what Dorothy was getting at when she said she didn’t want to be a saint. The call to be the ubermen and women is for us all, not a canonised elite.

        • max percy

          In so far as the emphasis is primarily on “virtue” as an ethical achievement, no.
          If the emphasis is on actual communion with God, then yes.

          • John T.

            Wouldn’t an emphasis on virtue be idolatry? “No one is good except the one God” – Mark 10:18

          • John T.

            p.s.
            While on the subject of Nietzsche’ uberman and the question of virtue. Nietzsche says the uberman is above good and evil. HIs most famous quote is “That which is done out of love is always beyond good and evil.”

            Gods first commandment was “don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because on the day you eat from it, you will die!”

            Perhaps Nietzsche is closer to the bible than the Catholic church?

          • Max Percy

            As I am sure iS obvious, I am not very clever, so while I enjoy the provocation, it’s funny, I don’t really see the point

  • max percy

    I must confess to being a bit jarred by this point of view as it seems to be expressive of such a diminished, almost sociological experience of Church and holiness, that seems to limit Church to the hierarchy only and the recognition/acclamation of holiness to mere power. I am still amazed by how diverse and divergent we are as Christians.

  • rdhudgens

    Canonization is not primarily about exalting individuals or their virtues. It is not primarily about inspiring faith or nurturing discipleship. It is about branding and product placement in order to sustain financial contributions to the institutional church. The Church puts its “seal of approval” on certain individuals in order to enhance its own standing and sustain charitable giving.

    • http://reachheavenonearth.blogspot.co.uk/ Adam Clark

      I think there are numerous (undisclosed) reasons the Church canonize individuals, but I agree this is also one of them. It is like McDonald’s sponsoring sports stars.

      • maxpercy

        To the contrary, I actually think that canonization seems to bring scorn and critique on the Church as the person’s “values” don’t match with contemporary articulations of what a person should be.

        • http://reachheavenonearth.blogspot.co.uk/ Adam Clark

          Fair enough. Venus and Serena Williams are not everybody’s idols either.

  • Chelsea

    As usual I’m dismally late in commenting here, I just want to say that as a Catholic Worker I believe that Dorothy is already a saint. She needs no recognition from the Church other than the courage to embrace her unpopular insights into the gospel such as resisting all wars. Until the church hierarchy shows any desire to follow her witness, they should stop pretending to honor her.

    • http://reachheavenonearth.blogspot.co.uk/ Adam Clark

      Hear, hear. I am with you sister.

    • Nekeisha

      It is never too late for you to join the convo, Chelsea. Your voice is most welcome whenever it makes an appearance :)

  • http://thatcallmetim.tumblr.com Timothy Walsh

    Someone posted this article on Reddit. This was my response:

    This article is interesting, but falls slightly short of anything coherent.

    I may not agree with how fervent the bishops seem to be pushing her
    canonization, or their ulterior motives. I may not agree with many (or
    any) of the (socially) conservative agendas of the US bishops (and
    neither did Day), yet this article completely misrepresents Dorothy’s
    connection to Catholicism.

    The bishops have always had an unfortunate knee-jerk reaction to
    align themselves with the politically conservative in the United States.
    This has always been an issue with socially-progressive minded
    Catholics. In the Church’s attempt to defend specific points it finds
    important, it snuggles up to very unCatholic elements of government and
    business. Day was well aware of this, and never shied away from
    disagreeing with the hierarchy in the matters of social-conscience and
    she never hesitated to encourage all Catholics to live truer and fuller
    Catholic lives in all aspects of our human experience.

    However, Dorothy Day, though politically left and a self proclaimed
    Anarchist, was also a devout and conservative Catholic. She felt deeply
    connected to the Church, as well as believed in it’s moral authority and
    tradition. As a devout believer in that authority and tradition she
    supported the hierarchy, and teachings of the Magisterium.

    To use arguments of abortion, women’s ordination and sexual
    conservative politics against the Church and its bishops who are pushing
    for her canonization is absurd. Dorothy Day, who lived through the
    sexual revolution of the 20′s, and had an abortion at an early age was
    very much opposed to these ideas as a Catholic convert. She was even
    greatly disappointed in the ‘progressive’ and liberal reforms within the
    Church in the wake of Vatican II. She was very much attached to the
    pre-Vatican II Liturgy, and was known to regularly pray from her
    Breviary.

    The bishops may misrepresent the opinions, and politics of Dorothy Day.

    As Catholic-Anarchists……Lets not do the same

    “When it comes to labor and politics, I am inclined to be sympathetic
    to the left, but when it comes to the Catholic Church, then I am far to
    the right.” -Dorothy Day

    • HH Brownsmith

      Timothy,

      I actually never made any claim that Dorothy was a
      liberal or even terribly progressive. I asserted that she had a heart
      for the marginalized and lived her life accordingly. Dorothy did indeed
      love the church and I never disputed that either.

      I am not arguing that the church is out of line for having “conservative politics”. The
      church is out of line for robbing women of their rightful place in
      clergy, silencing the survivors of sexual violence that priests
      perpetrated, and telling queer folks and women that they don’t deserve a
      say in the health of their bodies. Dorothy was not around to see these
      issues get the media attention they are getting now. I do not pretend to
      understand the mind of Dorothy Day but I do know that she sided with
      the least and often times that meant she stood in opposition to powerful
      institutions. If I may be so bold, the church is a powerful institution
      and it is doing the wrong thing by the least. When the church chooses
      judgement and wealth over mercy and justice then it no longer looks like
      the Body of Christ. That’s a big problem and I believe that Dorothy
      would have recognized it as such.

      Just one more clarification, I lived in catholic worker communities but I do not identify as a catholic or an anarchist.

      • http://thatcallmetim.tumblr.com Timothy Walsh

        You may not be a Catholic, or an Anarchist, but Dorothy was. So do make wild assumptions about her politics or religion then are even further absurd.

        These issues you mention may not have had wide media attention in the public eye in her day, but they did have a wide audience for Catholics at the time. During the drastic changes in the Church in the wake of Vatican II there were numerous calls for further liberalization of the institution. Nuns left convents and threw off their habits, monasterys closed. The issues of female clergy came to spring; In the 1970′s the first stories of sexual abuse started to come forward; and roe vs. wade came about in the US. Dorothy Day was around for all of this.

        Whether or not you see the Church as a powerful body, you presumption to claim that Day’s devotion and utter orthodoxy would be swayed after her 60+ years of activism is ludicrous. Dorothy lived through the Great Depression, the Spanish Civil War, World War II, the Cold War, Vietnam, Vatican II. Yet through all of this she clung to the Catholic Church, it’s Moral Authority and remained devout to it’s traditions.

        She never hesitated to fight those within the Church abusing their power, or distorting the Mystical Body of Christ……but the dogmatic beliefs, the things Catholics MUST believe in order to be truthful Catholics, she never questioned; that includes things such as female clergy.

        Dorothy Day had an immesnsely dynamic orthodoxy.

        If you are neither Catholic, nor an Anarchist, nor any leanings or knowledge of Distributism, and your only claim to understanding is time spent at a Catholic Worker house, then please do not write articles on such a profoundly removed topic from yourself. Issues within the Catholic Church may upset you (they upset many Catholics), but if you aren’t one, then write the criticisms as a nonCatholic. Please do not drag down the memory of one of the Church’s greatest contemporary devotees.

        • HH Brownsmith

          Timothy,
          Dorothy never required that folks who entered the houses be Catholic and lots of people have written about Dorothy who were not Catholic. Dorothy does not belong to the church…this is part of what my article was getting at. Dorothy belongs to the communities she served, the houses that carry on her legacy, and the larger Body of Christ. And the issues of Dorothy and the Catholic worker are not “profoundly removed” from me. You don’t know me, Timothy…no need for personal attacks.

          And you think you can only be truly Catholic if you never question the all male clergy? Yikes.

          • http://thatcallmetim.tumblr.com Timothy Walsh

            It has been made aware to be that I was abrasive, and sounded as though I were “attacking” you. I reread my comments, and do not disagree. So I first of wish to apologize.

            I agree, Dorothy accepted everyone. This is because she was a wholesomely wonderful person who believed in helping everyone in need. This still does not change what *her religious views were. Many keep co-opting her memory, both conservative Catholics, and liberals both inside and outside the Church, claiming many things about her that are simply untrue.

            There are numerous Christian communities that question the Authority of the Magesterium and what the Catholic Church teaches; they are called Protestants, and they have been around for 500 years. But Dorothy Day did not join a Protestant denomination. She chose to be Catholic.

            Even in her quote, which I posted in my original comment:

            “When it comes to labor and politics, I am inclined to be sympathetic
            to the left, but when it comes to the Catholic Church, then I am far to
            the right.” -Dorothy Day

            She proclaims herself “…far to the right.” and I think it is this point that I am having a hard time articulating. If someone truly believes in the foundation of the Catholic Church, the dogmatic teachings, that is require of every Catholic to believe, then yes…that person will not believe in the possibility of female ordination. Dorothy Day was an orthodox Catholic, and wholeheartedly accepted the dogmatic teachings of the Church.

            I am not saying the she belonged to anyone. However, I think it is unfortunate when anyone claims that she believed different. Her very writings are in complete contradiction to your statements. I feel the same way when Cardinal Dolan mentioned that his struggles with the government (in relation to the healthcare mandate) were similar to Day’s disagreement with governmental authority – BAH – that is laughable to say the least.

            I also highly doubt that as a woman who lived through so much, and stayed so steadfast to activism and her Catholicism, would simply change her views in our age. Many of the ideas you have mentioned were not new to her, she was alive and well through the 1960′s. Women’s Ordination Conference has been around since 1975, and women were clandestinely being ordained as early as 1969. Yet she still opposed it. Why would anything be different today?

        • http://www.jesusradicals.com/ Andy A-B

          I don’t see why a non-Catholic or whatever cannot have an opinion about Dorothy Day or anything else. You get a little personal in your comments which isn’t really necessary.

          I’d prefer to see somebody who has a different point of view on her beatification write why they think it is a good idea for the site, than make ad hominen attacks on those who question the wisdom of such a move. So write an essay for us, you or somebody else. But don’t attack folks for having a viewpoint based on their own person rather than their reasons for holding it (and even then “attack” is not the best way to roll).

          • http://thatcallmetim.tumblr.com Timothy Walsh

            I certainly did not mean to come off as ‘attacking.’ After re-reading my comments I can see how it can be seen that way, and I am regretful for it. I suppose I am just frustrated. The conservative elements of the Catholic Church, and the liberal elements both inside and outside the Church both seem to be commandeering the memory of a truly great person, all while throwing mud at each other blaming them for co-opting her memory. It is unfortunate.

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