In Hero of the Catholic Left, a Conservative Cardinal Sees a Saint

(NY Times) Dorothy Day is a hero of the Catholic left, a fiery 20th-century social activist who protested war, supported labor strikes and lived voluntarily in poverty as she cared for the needy.

But Day has found a seemingly unlikely champion in New York’s conservative archbishop, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, who has breathed new life into an effort to declare the Brooklyn native a saint.

Cardinal Dolan has embraced her cause with striking zeal: speaking on the anniversaries of her birth and death, distributing Dorothy Day prayer cards to parishes and even buying roughly 100 copies of her biography to give out last year as Christmas gifts to civic officials including Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

This month, at Cardinal Dolan’s recommendation, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops voted unanimously to move forward with her canonization cause, even though, as some of the bishops noted, she had an abortion as a young woman and at one point flirted with joining the Communist Party.

“I am convinced she is a saint for our time,” Cardinal Dolan said at the bishops’ meeting. She exemplifies, he said, “what’s best in Catholic life, that ability we have to be ‘both-and’ not ‘either-or.’ ”

Cardinal Dolan is often depicted as one of the most visible symbols of the rightward shift of America’s Catholic bishops. He has been critical of President Obama’s policies — he accused the Obama administration of “an unwarranted, unprecedented radical intrusion” into church life after the administration said it would require some Catholic institutions to provide their employees with insurance coverage for contraception — and he has been an outspoken opponent of the administration’s support for same-sex marriage. [more]


NY Times