There are better models of sanctity than Day

Re: “The remarkable life of Dorothy Day” (Faith, May 5).

The article quoted Day as saying after her conversion, “If our dear, sweet cardinal, who is the vicar of Christ in New York City, told me to shut down the Catholic Worker, I would close it down immediately.” I don’t doubt the accuracy of the quote, but the saccharine “dear, sweet” (which was not her personality) indicates a facetiousness, because when Cardinal Spellman told her to simply remove the word “Catholic” from the masthead since the paper did not reflect Catholic doctrine, she adamantly refused.

As for Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s statement that she is “a saint for our time,” one wonders how many Catholic parents would see her as a good model for their children. Yes, she could readily be adopted as a model for restless teens and young adults who can argue “even the Church says its OK to have ‘fun’ and break the rules while you are young; you can always do ‘good works’ when you are older.” And if the sexual “fun” results in an unplanned pregnancy, abortion is the answer because even saints kill their unborn children, look at Dorothy Day! This does not even consider certain union and anti-war movements supported by Day and the Catholic Worker that led to violence.

Mother Teresa and so many others present us with good models of humility and service. What is the urgency in promoting a “saint” whose official canonization will raise inevitable questions about the Church’s pro-life position and political leanings?

Jan Hicks, Oak Ridge, Tenn. 

Pro-enterprise

Re: “Christians ponder Margaret Thatcher’s legacy” (News Analysis, April 28).

“Among Catholics ... Thatcher’s death evoked mixed feelings befitting a politician who defended traditional values but also championed business and enterprise (emphasis added).

Say what? Since when are business and enterprise naughty words for Catholics? This nation was founded on business and enterprise. Business and enterprise have created jobs and wealth. Business and enterprise have made it possible for the well-to-do to give more alms to the poor.

Thatcher did her country a great service by promoting business and enterprise. I fault her for backing abortion “under controlled conditions” but not for promoting business and enterprise.

Beverly Steiner, Augusta, Kan.

Mary’s marital status

Re: “Mary helps women become the mothers they truly can be” (Feature, May 12).

In reference to Mary’s courageous acceptance of God’s will for her, Marge Fenelon states, “She faced the shame of unwed motherhood and the disappointment of her betrothed.”

While Mary may have had to face the questions of Joseph with respect to her pregnancy, being an unwed mother was not something she had to face since Scripture clearly supports that Mary and Joseph were married at the time of the Incarnation (see Mt 1:20).

Irene De Vliegher, via email

Excommunication facts

Re: “In Quotes” (This Week, April 14).

“More people have been excommunicated by their Aunt Minnie than by the Church.” I disagree.

For a sin to be a mortal sin, certain conditions must be met (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1857). However, some sins, including abortion, incur automatic excommunication without conditions (No. 2272). For healing, confession is a must. People with cancer cannot be treated until they are aware they are dying from cancer. Aware or not, the unaddressed cancer will kill them. Aware or not, abortion will kill grace to the mother’s soul, separate her from the Church and destroy the life of her child.

Yes, we need to be compassionate to all who are distant from the Church (those “living together,” those in the gay lifestyle, those divorced and remarried without an annulment, etc.). Jesus was compassionate to the woman caught in adultery (Jn 8:11). However, the last thing he said to her was “go and sin no more.” I trust she complied, maybe we should too. 

Jesus is truth. By neglecting the truth, we neglect Christ and his sacraments. Sacraments give us the power to “sin no more.” We must proclaim the truth (even/especially about abortion) or many will die without the truth/sacraments. We do not need Aunt Minnie to excommunicate us, we are doing a fine job of it ourselves.

Joe Marincel, Flower Mound, Texas

Truthful column

Re: “Truth Never Changes” (Eye on Culture, March 31).

Teresa Tomeo’s column talks about a recent Quinnipiac Poll claiming that 52 percent of American Catholics believe that Church leaders are out of touch with their members. This article gave me ammunition to “fight back” when people verbally criticize the Catholic Church, especially on issues of abortion, same-sex marriage and contraception.

I am keeping the article close by so I can be better prepared when these kinds of comments are made in my presence.

The most meaningful comments were that the Church can’t change truth; it can’t change its core beliefs and teachings. Truly as Tomeo quoted, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Praise God.

Arlene Farrell, via email