Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Real Dorothy Day: A Castro Groupie


"In these times when social concerns are so important, I cannot fail to mention the Servant of God Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement. Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints... Dorothy Day [championed] social justice and the rights of persons. A nation can be considered great when it [...] strives for justice and the cause of the oppressed, as Dorothy Day did by her tireless work." — Pope Francis, addressing a joint session of Congress, on September 26, 2015 

Know whom the pope admires and you will know who and what he is.

"I am most of all interested in the religious life of the [Cuban] people and so must not be on the side of a regime that favors the extirpation of religion. On the other hand, when that regime is bending all its efforts to make a good life for the people, a naturally good life (on which grace can build) one cannot help but be in favor of the measures taken. 

"We are on the side of the [Cuban] revolution. We believe there must be new concepts of property, which is proper to man, and that the new concept is not so new. There is a Christian communism and a Christian capitalism. We believe in farming communes and cooperatives and will be happy to see how they work out in Cuba. God bless Castro and all those who are seeing Christ in the poor. God bless all those who are seeking the brotherhood of man because in loving their brothers they love God even though they deny Him." Dorothy Day, writing in the Catholic Worker, July-August 1962.

This is what Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement,"tireless striver[er] for social justice and the cause of the oppressed," who was supposedly "inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints," wrote after John XXIII had excommunicated Fidel Castro for expelling most of Cuba's priests and nuns from the island; closing all parochial schools and the Catholic University (and invalidating their degrees); confiscating Catholic hospitals and orphanages; newspapers, radio stations and publishing house; looting and desecrating churches; and forcing the Cardinal-Archbishop of Havana to take refuge in a foreign embassy, in effect. decapitating the Cuban Church. Castro by then had also deprived Cuban workers (Catholic or not) of all protections under the law. His regime abolished in 1959 the right to organize unions; it outlawed strikes; it repealed minimum wage laws; it discarded collective bargaining and arbitration; it eliminated tenure and seniority; it scrapped Cuba's 35-hour work week (for which workers were entitled  to 40 hours' pay); it rescinded the "13th month" bonus paid to all workers at Christmas; it authorized the payment of wages in script; and it instituted compulsory unpaid work for the State. Everything, in short, that you would expect Dorothy Day to denounce if these outrages had occurred in her own country to her beloved Catholic workers. But when Castro's Revolution did all these things to Cuba's Catholics and workers, she "could not help but be in favor of the measures taken."

Want to really get angry?

Savor this quotation from the same article, for sheer ignorance and condescension unequaled until Pope Francis' own recent statements in Cuba:

"So here we have the problem. The education of the people. Fifty percent of Cuba’s millions were illiterate. No wonder Castro had to talk for so many hours at a time, giving background and painting a picture of what they were aiming at, for a multitude who could not read."

In "Dorothy Day, a Communist?", David H. Lukenbill writes:

"I’ve been studying this issue for some time and have reached the conclusion that Dorothy Day had so conflated Communism and Catholicism in her own mind that she saw them as one and the same; which is the only explanation I can find for her lifetime support of Communist governments and ideology, co-existing with devout practice of her Catholic faith.

"Another clear mark, in my opinion, of her lifetime adherence to Communism was that she never denounced it or its evils to protect others from becoming ensnared, which is what most people, yours truly included, do once they see a past way of life clearly for the wrong path it was."

2 comments:

Robert Ritchie said...

This quote is from the July/August 1961 issue of the Catholic Worker. Not the 1962 version. I just wanted to bring this up to help defend you against people who will go to the 1962 issue and not see what you have published; they will accuse you of bring dishonest; and pass up the sin of Dorothy Day in supporting Communism.


"We are on the side of the [Cuban] revolution. We believe there must be new concepts of property, which is proper to man, and that the new concept is not so new. There is a Christian communism and a Christian capitalism. We believe in farming communes and cooperatives and will be happy to see how they work out in Cuba. God bless Castro and all those who are seeing Christ in the poor. God bless all those who are seeking the brotherhood of man because in loving their brothers they love God even though they deny Him." — Dorothy Day, writing in the Catholic Worker, July-August 1962.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Thank-you for clarifying the date. I am heartened to see that there is opposition to the canonization of this misguided political dilettante (to put it as charitably as possible).