News About Saints, Uncategorized

Dorothy Day Cause Moves Forward

As America magazine reports here, the cause for the Servant of God Dorothy is moving forward.

While many will welcome this news, others make some good points as to why her cause is problematic (e.g., her loathing violence when on the part of conservatives, encouraging it on the part of communists, etc.; evidently she wasn’t quite the pacifist her supporters would have us believe) and thus not worthy of becoming a saint. The best, most recent argument in this regard is here.

However let us keep in mind that saints are not declared such because they were infallible or immune to the errors of their times. St. Paul accepted slavery. Saints in Merovingian times accepted things we would find horrific today.

Saints are named saints because of their holiness of life, how they lived the virtues in a heroic way. As one person put it, the saints are an annotation of the Gospels. So even if Ms. Day was morally inconsistent, that doesn’t mean she wasn’t holy.

God’s will be done now and forever.


8 thoughts on “Dorothy Day Cause Moves Forward

  1. Charles says:

    I don’t think she is anymore morally inconsistent than many other Saints. She was a economic liberal, and this bothers many conservative American Catholics. Sometimes, a system is so unjust that a revolution must take place.


    • So World War II was wrong, the effort to keep Vietnamese from murderous communist rule were wrong uses of violence/war, but Fidel Castro’s war and the communists’ efforts in Spain to hold onto power were justified. Is that what you’re saying? If so, you’re not a pacifist. And neither was she. A pacifist is a pacifist. I mean, for Pete’s sake, someone who couldn’t bring herself to oppose Hitler — who actually expressed that America and Nazi Germany were morally equivalent — but who could cheer on the Spanish slaughter of priests and Fidel Castro’s brutalization of his country … she was morally confused and inconsistent in a big, big way. Still the question is was she holy? Everything else is immaterial.


  2. God’s thoughts and ways are clearly not our thoughts and ways. Don’t forget how King David from the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) was a man after God’s own heart … despite David taking another man’s wife in adultery (Bathsheba) and had Bathsheba’s husband (Uriah the Hittite) killed.


    • Mary, please clarify. You write, “If Day is being considered for canonization, then I have reason to believe will, too.” I imagine you meant to name someone there (e.g., “I have reason to believe Pinocchio will, too”). Who did you mean, please?


    • Again, I can’t understand how she believed violence was prohibited in trying to save the Vietnamese people from a violent atheistic system but yet permissible when allowing that system to come to power in Cuba or to maintain power in Spain. And World War II was unjustified in her opinion? All of this bespeaks an extreme moral confusion. As I’ve always understood it, pacifism is pacifism is pacifism. You’re not a sorta pacifist, just like you’re not sorta pregnant. You either are or you aren’t. You can say, “I oppose war in almost every instance,” but you can’t say you’re a pacifist in one breath and then in a subsequent one sometime down the road say, “But armed aggression is OK in this instance.” The dictionary says a pacifist is “someone who believes war and violence are unjustifiable.” That doesn’t seem to allow for qualifications. What am I missing?


  3. It’s certainly possible to “quote Day against herself,” as one of her friends put it.
    But I’m not aware that she ever encouraging violence. She supported neither side in Spain, and acknowledged the “frightful persecution of religion” there.
    (See With regard to Cuba, she wrote: “Several of our old editors have accused us of giving up our pacifism. What nonsense. We are as unalterably opposed to armed resistance and armed revolt from the admittedly intolerable conditions all through Latin America as we ever were.” (


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