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Make a radical Catholic who had an abortion a saint? Her 'Day' may come

Published November 16, 2012 3:32 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Could a bohemian journalist, who had a failed marriage and an abortion, be a candidate for Catholic canonization?

Apparently so.

U.S. Catholic bishops voted this week to push sainthood for Dorothy Day, the early 20th-century convert who became a nationally recognized symbol of Catholic pacifism and care for the poor.

In 1932, Day, along with Peter Marin, launched the radical Catholic Worker movement and pushed for social justice until the day she died in 1980, according to a Religion News Service story.

Day's lifestyle before her conversion, RNS reported, "still gives some pause, and she was blasted for being a pacifist during World War II and a lifelong sharp critic of capitalism."

Still, the bishops seem to think that she is a good representative of individual freedoms.

"Of all the people that we need to reach out to, all the people that are hard to get at, the ones who are street people, the ones who are on drugs, the ones who have had abortions," Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, a native New Yorker and the retired archbishop of Washington, told some 230 members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, " — all these folks whose lives we need to touch in some special way — she was one of them."

Her fans, though, aren't sure Day would feel honored by the appellation.

"Don't call me a saint," RNS says she was quoted as saying. "I don't want to be dismissed so easily."

Peggy Fletcher Stack