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Irregularities in Dorothy Day’s
Cause of Canonization

Dr. Carol Byrne, Great Britain
The members of the Dorothy Day fan club are outdoing themselves in euphoria because the US Bishops have taken Dorothy Day’s canonization process a step further with a recent vote in her favor at the USCCB General Assembly. (1) But upon closer inspection of the results, which Day’s supporters claim to be “unanimous,” questions arise about the integrity and the honesty of the voting method employed.

Cardinal O'Connor

Card. O'Connor failed to seek the truth on Dorothy Day

Unlike all the other votes that took place on that day, Day’s vote was not a numbered Action Item that specified the votes required for passage, the numbers voting Yes, No or Abstain, but a simple “voice vote.” Nor was there any mention of a majority or unanimity. There was not even a proper discussion prior to the “voice-vote” in which the pros and cons of Dorothy Day’s case were brought to the voters’ attention.

We must conclude that the whole procedure was unprofessional and messy, relying on the biased opinion of certain pro-Catholic Worker Bishops and conducted without any serious investigation into the impediments to canonization of Dorothy Day’s post-conversion life. These are detailed in my book (2) and can be briefly summarized as follows:
  • Persistent disobedience to the Catholic Hierarchy;

  • Infringement of Canon Law;

  • Active support for communist organizations and Communist Party members;

  • Publishing communist propaganda;

  • Condoning violent revolution against the government;

  • Promoting the aims of hostile foreign powers;

  • Condoning sexual license, drunkenness, debauchery and violence in her communes;

  • Failing to carry out her Christian duties of state as a mother.
Dorothy Day picketing

Day picketing for socialist causes until the end of her life - Photo by Vivian Cherry

Not one of these points was mentioned at the voting session. It is particularly disturbing that Cardinal O’Connor was apparently unaware of such impediments when he submitted Day’s Cause to the Vatican in February 2000. The evidence indicates, however, that he failed to search diligently for the historic truth and accepted only a selective knowledge of Day’s life and works as interpreted by her supporters.

According to Catholic Worker Jim Forest, Cardinal O’Connor collected his information for the canonization cause from a meeting of February 5, 1998, which included only about half a dozen of Dorothy Day’s most fervent supporters who all agreed that she was a real saint. (3)

So, that was that. No further investigation was sought or thought necessary. The veracity of this incident was confirmed in the Catholic Worker of June-July 2012 by two Catholic Workers, Kathleen and Pat Jordan, who were present on that occasion.

It is clear that the promotion of Dorothy Day for canonization is an artificial construct, and that the Church is being deliberately exploited to promote the radical social, economic and political ideas of Marxism espoused by Day.

This abuse of power exercised by the Bishops is yet another indication that it is not just the USCCB that is clearly dying on its feet – it is the highest authorities of the Church as well. The rot will stop only when the Church totally rejects Progressivism and begins once again to regain its own Tradition.

  2. The Catholic Worker Movement (1933-80): a Critical Analysis, Authorhouse, 2010
  3. Jim Forest, All Is Grace: a biography of Dorothy Day, Orbis Books, 2011, p, 311, note 3

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Posted November 26, 2012

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