Skip to comments.Converted by love, not ideology: An archbishop's reflection on Dorothy Day
Posted on 05/23/2015 10:58:12 PM PDT by ubipetrusest
Last week, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles told scholars at the Dorothy Day Conference at St. Francis University [in Fort Wayne, Indiana] that the social activist was not converted by ideology, but by love.
It was not the teachings of the Church that convinced her to leave the past behind and change her life. She was changed by Love, changed by the over-powering awareness of the reality of Gods love and mercy, the archbishop said....
As a young woman ... Day embraced ... a life that included abortion, communism and free love.
Dorothy and many others thought they had found the answers they were looking for in the progressive vision of a society liberated from Christian morality and the capitalist economy, Archbishop Gomez said, but what followed was a period of great pain and suffering in her life, including the abortion of her child.
When Day converted to Catholicism years later in 1929, it was not due to the hardships she had endured, the archbishop continued. Rather, Day converted because she found love first in the birth of her beloved daughter, Tamar, and then in God.
.... The joy of human love helped her to realize the beauty of divine love, he explained. She came to see that her life and all our lives are a search for love, a search for a love that is Supreme, for God....
Dorothy Day helps us to see that Jesus made the works of mercy the way for every Christian. She told us over and over what Jesus said that in the evening of our lives, our love for God will be judged by the mercy we have shown to others especially those who are the most vulnerable, those who cannot defend themselves, he said.
(Excerpt) Read more at catholicnewsagency.com ...
While describing herself as both an "ex-Communist" and an exponent of "Christian Communism," Day remained in touch with her Communist colleagues Mike Gold, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, and Anna Louise Strong throughout her life. More than twenty years after becoming a Catholic, Day described how "love" could be expressed: "Mao-tse-Tung.... Karl Marx.... Lenin.... These men were animated by the love of brother and this we must believe though their ends meant the seizure of power, and the building of mighty armies, the compulsion of concentration camps, the forced labor and torture and killing of tens of thousands, even millions("The Incompatibility of Love and Violence," CW, May 1951). This doesn't sound much like the love of Christ.
Archbishop Gomez misattributes St. John of the Cross's phrase "At the evening of life, we will be judged by love" to Christ. He also says Day was baptized in 1929, but she was baptized on December 29, 1927, according to her baptismal record. How much does the archbishop know about the woman he is championing?
A more objective view of Day's controversial life can be found in "The Catholic Worker Movement (1933-1980: A Critical Analysis" (2010) by Carol Byrne, PhD, and at the blog "Dorothy Day Another Way."
Many a social justice Catholic is inspired more by love of neighbor” rather than by love of Christ.
Day discredited herself and her Catholic Worker movement by opposing the US fighting WWII, even after Pearl Harbor.
I will say this about Day. Her foundation is NOT tax exempt. They don’t want to be bound by that corporate law.
I admire that.
Agreed. Archbishop Gomez has produced an article on Dorothy Day which is full of pious platitudes about love and service . He does not address the real issues concerning Dorothy Day which have been demonstrated with the support of rock-solid evidence in The Catholic Worker Movement (1933-80): a Critical Analysis.
There you will find the truth that Day never gave up her Communist ideology. She could not in principle bring herself to condemn the social and economic ideals of Marxism. Her actions flowed from this ideology and were not constrained by such limiting factors as Catholicism or patriotism. In fact, she retained a lingering respect for Lenin and, by analogy, for all revolutionaries who were inspired by him. How else did she merit among her contemporaries the nickname Moscow Mary?
Many people are now using their critical faculties to uncover the truth about Dorothy Day rather than accept at face value the ready-made image of her that the Catholic Left keeps churning out.
Hmmm... One of Day’s contemporaries, also helping the poor and founding little communities, was Catherine Doherty. She and Day parted ways. She was from the Russian aristocracy and I’m willing to bet she had a different view of Marxism and it’s merits.
Her cause for sainthood is being pursued by her admirers, who continue to run a retreat house and co-ed community of lay people in Combermere, Ontario. (We once met a guy who lived there.)