American Catholic Pacifism: The Influence of Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movemented. by Anne Klejment and Nancy L. Roberts (review)
- The Catholic Historical Review
- The Catholic University of America Press
- Volume 85, Number 1, January 1999
- pp. 125-126
- View Citation
- Additional Information
BOOK REVIEWS125 American Catholic Pacifism: The Influence ofDorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement. Edited by Anne Klejment and Nancy L. Roberts. (Westport , Connecticut: Praeger Publishers. 1996. Pp. xi, 198. $57.95.) This collection of essays sets for itself the threefold goal of (1) placing the Catholic Worker Movement within the wider context of American peace activism ; (2) presenting the theological and spiritual roots of Catholic pacifism; and (3) interpreting the Catholic pacifist response to, and the impact upon Catholic pacifism of, certain periods of crisis, such as World War II and the war in Vietnam. This goal has been well met by the authors. Perhaps, above all, this volume serves as a documentation of the immense and consistent influence which the Catholic Worker Movement exercised over the development of pacifist thought within American Catholicism. Even more so, it documents how that influence bears the personal stamp of Dorothy Day. While many contemporary readers may remember the Catholic Worker in reference to the protests surrounding the war in Vietnam, this volume provides the reader with a feel for the rich history behind those protests, which dates back to before World War I. In the development of this history several of the essays (by Charles Chatfield, Anne Klejment, and Patricia McNeal) demonstrate how the personal and intellectual development of Dorothy Day both tied the development ofAmerican Catholic pacifism to the wider currents ofAmerican peace activism, and also gave to Catholic pacifism a unique non-ideological spiritual character. It was this spirituality, with which Day infused the Catholic Worker Movement, that made pacifism a cornerstone of its foundation, enabled it to survive and adapt, and which, most significantly, enabled the Catholic Worker and Dorothy Day to midwife the birth of other Catholic peace organizations and to support their divergent tasks. The essay by Francis J. Sicius shows the trauma of the debate over pacifism within the Catholic Worker duringWorldWar II, and how Dorothy Day imposed pacifism as a cornerstone of the Catholic Worker Movement. Eileen Egan's account ofthe development ofthe organization PAX gives a personal feel for how the Catholic Worker could spawn and support other groups. It also shows the significance of the Catholic Worker's use of the just-war tradition of the Church to challenge the moral justifications ofmodern war, and how that challenge was taken up by other groups, like PAX, to eventually effect changes in Church teaching, both at the Second Vatican Council and in the United States Bishops Conference, to reflect the acceptance of the pacifist option among Catholics. The treatment of the Catholic Worker's response to the war in Vietnam, by Anne Klejment and Nancy Roberts, reflects the inner struggle of Day and other Catholic Workers to define the limits of non-violent pacifist resistance, which constituted the cutting edge ofwhere Catholic pacifism was going in the sixties and seventies. The inclusion of previously unpublished correspondence between Day and Thomas Merton provides a precious personal feel for the thoughts and relationship of the two people who probably had the greatest 1 26BOOK REVIEWS spiritual and intellectual influence on the contemporary development ofAmerican Catholic pacifism. In the end, this is a volume well worth reading and study for anyone wanting to understand the roots and development of pacifism in the American Catholic community. William A. Au Baltimore, Maryland His Eminence ofLos Angeles:James Francis Cardinal Mclntyre. By Francis J. Weber. (2 vols.; Mission Hills, California: St. Francis Historical Society. 1997. Pp. v, 327; 328-707. $38.75.) Monsignor Weber has written an engaging biography of one of the outstanding bishops in the pre-Vatican Council II Catholic Church in the United States; unfortunately, Mclntyre's tenure lasted into the early postconciliar Church, a period in which he became one of the most publicly vilified prelates in the country . As Charles Morris has suggested, had Mclntyre died prior to 1962, he would be remembered more fondly, and his place in history would be more celebrated . This book is well researched and well written; it charts Mclntyre's life from his early years in New York through his episcopacy in Los Angeles. In 1948, Mclntyre was named archbishop ofLos Angeles and in 1952 he became the...