Oftentimes we think that Christians are polite people who don’t cause any trouble. This is not true. From Jesus of Nazareth (executed by the Romans as a criminal) to Bartolome de Las Casas (fought against enslaving the First Peoples of the Americas) to Martin Luther King, Jr (assassinated when he became too radical in his fight for justice), many of the exemplars within this movement were “troublemakers” of some sort.
The same goes with American lay Catholic Dorothy Day. I teach her life and writings in most of my classes so I will write about her much more this year. To begin, here is an interesting juxtaposition of quotes. The first from FBI director J. Edger Hoover who defamed Day and the second from Dorothy Day in one of her newspaper columns for The Catholic Worker about her vision.
J. Edger Hoover: “”Dorothy Day is a very erratic and irresponsible person. She has engaged in activities which strongly suggest that she is consciously or unconsciously being used by communist groups. From past experience with her it is obvious she maintains a very hostile and belligerent attitude toward the Bureau and makes every effort to castigate the FBI whenever she feels so inclined.”
Dorothy Day: “what we would like to do is change the world–make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended them to do. And, to a certain extent, by fighting for better conditions, by crying out unceasingly for the rights of the workers, of the poor, of the destitute–the rights of the worthy and unworthy poor, in other words–we can to a certain extent change the world; we can work for the oasis, the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world.”
Interesting, don’t you think?