Thank you for posting this quote.
However, Dorothy Day’s opposition to the culture of death did not stop at the womb. She advocated a “consistent ethic” or “seamless garment” of life which opposed war, militarism and industrial capitalism.
The late Fr. Daniel Berrigan acknowledged his debt to Dorothy Day in making the connection between abortion and the indiscriminate killing of modern warfare. As he wrote in his introduction to Dorothy Day’s autobiography “What held me in thrall was an absolutely stunning consistency. No to all killing. Invasions, incursions, excusing causes, call of the blood, summons to the bloody flag, casuistic body counts, just wars, necessary wars, needful wars, religious wars, holy wars – into the fury of the murderous crosswinds went her simple word: no”
Dorothy Day, servant of God, pray for us!
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Don’t agree with her regarding total pacifism – the natural right to self-defence, expressed doctrinally by the Church, in relation to person, family, community, State, will always exist and needs to be exercised in practice for the greater good when the occasion demands (as it always was in a fallen world).
Modern warfare can never fulfil the theoretical conditions of a “just war” so pacifism is the only Christian response. The 4th condition of a “just war”, added by Suárez and Bellarmine, was the “right way of conducting war” – war must be “confined within the limits of justice and love.” This holds sacred the distinction between combatants and non-combatants, the armed and unarmed. The killing of unarmed persons, with direct intention, is forbidden in Catholic Moral Theology. Father Stratmann states that even this distinction between combatants and non-combatants only applies to those who join the army of their own free will and not to conscripts who are “really in the position of innocent citizens.” (Neo-Conned, volume 1, 2007 edition, p.404)
It was for these reasons that Cardinal Ottaviani stated at Vatican II that “all war is to be prohibited” and that “no state is justified any longer in resorting to warfare.” (Neo-Conned, volume 1, 2007 edition, p.421) Cardinal Ottaviani was instrumental in the Council’s decision to accept “Gaudium et Spes” which states that “the horror and perversity of war is immensely magnified by the addition of scientific weapons. For acts of war involving these weapons can inflict massive and indiscriminate destruction, thus going far beyond the bounds of legitimate defence… All these considerations compel us to undertake an evaluation of war with an entirely new attitude.” The scale of modern warfare, involving civilians as well as military, combined with aerial warfare and the potential of nuclear/chemical weapons, means that even if the theoretical conditions for a “just war” are accepted, they can never actually apply in practice.
Dorothy Day rediscovered the pacifist tradition in the Church which was always present, although often suppressed and marginalised. In this tradition, non-violence is not passivity but spiritual combat. Christians “wage war against war” using the pure means of prayer, penance, mortification and love of enemies.
Dorothy Day donated her papers to Marquette University in 1962. (See http://www.marquette.edu/library/archives/day.shtml.) Inquiries and visits are welcome!
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