There’s a good article here about Dorothy Day, a founder of the Catholic Worker movement and a committed Christian anarchist. Dorothy Day is one of the great latter day heroes of the faith, and somebody who I think will come once again into greater popular understanding in the next few years.
Her legacy, the Catholic Worker Movement, which she founded with the itinerant Peter Maurin, is one of the groups I mention in my book, which is due out in May.
One of the issues for Christians to face is warfare, and our personal reactions to it. For Day it was striaghtforward, she was a pacifist, even in the face of WW2.
When she insisted on pacifism even during World War II, and spoke on behalf of Catholic conscientious objectors to that war, she received a lot of criticism from members of the hierarchy in the Catholic Church. Her pacifism was taken as a personal affront by some in the hierarchy. They confronted her and said, “Who are you, a laywoman, to speak on behalf of this, on behalf of Catholic CO’s?” And she said, “I’m speaking on behalf of laypeople. We’re the ones who do the fighting.”
Forty years later, in “The Challenge of Peace,” the U.S. bishops named her personally as a witness of nonviolence in our times. That was a sea change, brought about partly because she remained faithful to that vision her whole life. That’s her gift to the church.