Sunday, August 24, 2014

Dorothy Day on Obedience

In light of some recent flaps involving Catholic Worker houses doing some things that go against Church teachings (such and St. Joseph's House of Hospitality in Rochester hosting a so-called woman priest's church), the following passage from Dorothy Day is interesting:

How strong and positive a virtue is this obedience to God and to one’s conscience! St. Peter said, speaking for himself and the Apostles: “We must obey God rather than men.”
Certainly the staff of editors and all the volunteers who are so at home with us that they call themselves Catholic Workers must have tried the patient endurance of the chancery office in New York, not only because of our frequent sojourns in jail and because of the controversial nature of the issues taken up in the paper and by our actions, but also because of the false ideas put forward by many of our friends as being our positions.
One time I made the statement, whether in writing or in a speech I do not remember, that I was so grateful for the freedom we had in the Church that I was quite ready to obey with cheerfulness if Cardinal Spellman ever told us to lay down our pens and stop publication. Perhaps I had no right to speak for more rebellious souls than mine. Or for those whose consciences dictated continuance in a struggle, even with the highest authority, the Church itself. Perhaps I have sounded too possessive about the Catholic Worker itself and had no right to speak for the publication, but only for myself. I do know that Peter Maurin would have agreed with me. Most cradle Catholics have gone through, or need to go through, a second conversion which binds them with a more profound, a more mature love and obedience to the Church.
I do know that my nature is such that gratitude alone, gratitude for the faith, that most splendid gift, a gift not earned by me, a gratuitous gift, is enough to bind me in holy obedience to Holy Mother Church and her commands.

I seem to recall that in the 1960s Day told a number of CW staff members who were violating Church teachings they had to stop or leave.

(A nod to A Book of Everything for pointing out this passage)

Pax et bonum

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