Monday, February 06, 2012
"I don't think it's that difficult," I ventured. "They could randomly pay a year's worth of rent for some people. Or they could pay the Cobra payment of $400 per month for a year for a family or two so those people could use what is a lot of money to them for other necessary things. It wouldn't be hard to find those people. The billionaires only need to walk out the door."
She was greatly taken aback. Then we ate carrot cake. Which brings me to today's question from a reader:
(Thanks again for making a post giving me St. Nicholas as a saint of advocates of children. It has meant a lot to me)
I'm not holding my breath on Ms. Day. But never say never. She is officially a "Servant of God", which means her cause to become a saint is being examined. There are stumbling blocks.
To begin with, she was no saint. She lived with a man, off again, on again, for many years, had an out of wedlock child with him and before that, she had two abortions. She was a radical activist.
She had her daughter baptized as a Catholic and then she gave up her life of sin under the guidance of a local nun (Sister Aloysius!--a different one). St. Monica must have had her back. So that's good. Sins are forgiven. The prodigal daughter is embraced.
Then there is that radical activist part. I'm not sure how the words "radical" and "activist" have become so demonized, but they most certainly have been demonized. The two radical thinkers on which Dorothy based her activities were Jesus and St. Francis of Assisi.
Let's not pretend that these two were not very, very radical. They were indeed so radical, that few people, if anyone, have been able to keep up with their radical ideas and activities. It's too hard.
The disciples of Jesus were continually questioning Him, warning Him to dial it back, asking Him if He really meant to say this or that. And Jesus was continually admonishing them that, yes, not only did He really mean that, He really meant to take it much, much further. (Or do I mean farther? Both, really.) His "consider the lilies" speech completely sums that up. So do His last "marching orders" to His disciples.
And St. Francis of Assisi followed those marching orders to the letter. I think we want people who have radical ideas that are superb to also be active. Maybe it's just me.
Dorothy Day's inspiration for her radical social ideas about how to help the poor were drawn from the Doctrine of the Catholic Church, specifically Pope Leo XIII's encyclical "Rerum Novarum" (1891).
The problem, as far as I can tell, is that these ideas have become live wire political footballs (too many metaphors?) Unions, for example, have been steadily vilified. While I realize that the pendulum may have swung a bit far in the labor rights favor at some point, I imagine Dorothy would like to remind us what life was like for workers before they had the right to unionize, how many people were murdered while asking for their rights and that there truly is such a thing as social justice.
She might make it yet. If the Church can determine that she lived a life of heroic virtue and two miracles are attributed to her, she's in. I find it difficult to imagine that will happen any time soon, in this political climate. As we sit here today, she would assuredly be accused of "class warfare". People like Dorothy Day are always shouted down.
But so was Jesus.