Thursday, September 24, 2015

Noted Catholic Historian Not Surprised By Dorothy Day Reference In Pope Francis Speech

The other day I included in a tax post on the IRS and church endorsements of political candidates, the fantasy that Pope Francis might endorse his biggest fan among the candidates - Bernie Sanders

The point was that he actually could do that without jeopardizing the exempt status of Catholic institutions as long as he made it clear that it was a personal endorsement.  A plenary indulgence in exchange for a Sanders vote would be a big problem.

So I couldn't resist thinking that when Pope Francis mentioned four Americans in his speech to a joint session of Congress and one of them was Dorothy Day that might have been kind of a dog whistle Sanders endorsement.

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.

Fortunately, I have an expert that I could run my whacky theory by.  That would be David J, O'Brien Professor Emeritus at the College of the Holy Cross.  He did not think that was the case at all and actually gave me the possible inside scoop on why Dorothy Day might have been on the mind of Pope Francis.

Not at all----currently an active canonization campaign for Day and Cardinal Dolan on last trip to Rome spoke to Pope about her and gave him materials----Merton a big surprise but he is internationally  still read and useful model for seekers and interfaith dialogue--but astonishing included in marvelously crafted speech and there will be lots of speculation about speech drafters----I would have thought the four Americans were part of effort to lift discussion to teran-partisan level-

Other possible evidence of Pope Francis not necessarily "feeling the Bern" is a line from the prepared text that he left out.
If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance.
According to this account the omission was accidental.

Nonetheless Sanders, himself, did pick up on the Dorothy Day mention.
She was a very, very progressive ... socialist who organized working people and the poor to stand up to the wealthy and the powerful and to fight for social justice.