A Prophetic Action: US Bishops Unanimously Advance the Cause for the Canonization of Dorothy Day
Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink
Dorothy Day saw the face of Jesus in the face of the poor. She heard the word of Jesus spoken through the poor. She points us to the deeper meaning behind the sobering scene recounting the last judgment which is recorded by the Evangelist Matthew in the 25th Chapter of his Gospel
Dorothy Day rendering by an artist
BALTIMORE, MD (Catholic Online) - Cardinal Timothy Dolan led the Bishops in Baltimore, Maryland this week with the confidence, conviction, concern and charisma which make him a treasure for the Church in this challenging time. This man is a true leader.
Among the topics of discussion was the canonization cause of the Servant of God Dorothy Day. Though considered by many to be a controversial topic, the discussion led to a unanimous voice vote on Tuesday affirming the continuation of the process.
Cardinal Dolan had to leave the Dias because he was to present the motion. Dorothy Day was from New York and, as the Cardinal Archbishop of New York noted, he had a "very enjoyable conflict of interests".
Dorothy Day, along with Peter Maurin, founded the Catholic Worker Movement. Her cause was initiated by the late John Cardinal O'Connor, certainly not a political leftist by any stretch of the imagination.
The late Cardinal was able to see someone whose love for the Lord - and for the poor in whom she saw His Face - transformed her. He wrote a letter to Rome on February 7, 2000 initiating her cause. Here are some excerpts:
"It has long been my contention that Dorothy Day is a saint - not a "gingerbread" saint or a "holy card" saint, but a modern day devoted daughter of the Church, a daughter who shunned personal aggrandizement and wished that her work, and the work of those who labored at her side on behalf of the poor, might be the hallmark of her life rather than her own self.
"To be sure, her life is a model for all in the third millennium, but especially for women who have had or are considering abortions. It is a well-known fact that Dorothy Day procured an abortion before her conversion to the Faith. She regretted it every day of her life.
"After her conversion from a life akin to that of the pre-converted Augustine of Hippo, she proved a stout defender of human life. The conversion of mind and heart that she exemplified speaks volumes to all women today on two fronts. "
"First, it demonstrates the mercy of God, mercy in that a woman who sinned so gravely could find such unity with God upon conversion. Second, it demonstrates that one may turn from the ultimate act of violence against innocent life in the womb to a position of total holiness and pacifism. In short, I contend that her abortion should not preclude her cause, but intensifies it."
"It has also been noted that Dorothy Day often seemed friendly to political groups hostile to the Church, for example, communists, socialists, and anarchists. It is necessary to divide her political stances in two spheres: pre-and post- conversion. After her conversion, she was neither a member of such political groupings nor did she approve of their tactics or any denial of private property. Yet, it must be said; she often held opinions in common with them. What they held in common was a common respect for the poor and a desire for economic equity."
"In no sense did she approve of any form of atheism, agnosticism, or religious indifference. Moreover, her complete commitment to pacifism in imitation of Christ often separated her from these political ideologies. She rejected all military force; she rejected aid to force in any way in a most idealistic manner. So much were her "politics" based on an ideology of nonviolence that they may be said to be apolitical. Like so many saints of days gone by, she was an idealist in a non-ideal world."
"It was her contention that men and women should begin to live on earth the life they would one day lead in heaven, a life of peace and harmony. Much of what she spoke of in terms of social justice anticipated the teachings of Pope John Paul II and lends support to her cause. I have subjected Dorothy Day's post-conversion writings to the careful examination of a dogmatist, moralist, and canonist. All assure me that her writings are in complete fidelity to the Church."
The comments from the Bishops on the floor prior to the vote were moving. Cardinal George of Chicago warned "we should be clear who we are endorsing here" and then whole heartedly endorsed her. Cardinal Dolan called her conversion "Augustinian" ntoing"she was the first to admit it: sexual immorality, there was a religious search, there was a pregnancy out of wedlock, and an abortion. Like Saul on the way to Damascus, she was radically changed". He called her "a saint for our time." Cardinal O'Malley of Boston echoed the sentiment calling her a "magnificent model for our time."
Retired Washington Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick said, "Of all the people we need to reach out to, all the people that are hard to get at, the street people, the ones who are on drugs, the ones who have had abortions, she was one of them. What a tremendous opportunity to say to them you can not only be brought back into society, you can not only be brought ...
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