To: Cardinal Timonthy Dolan, Archbishop of New York and President of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
From: Dr. Aphra Behn, Associate Professor of Historical Ladybusiness at Southern Gothic University
Re: You Are an Asshole
But congratulations. You have managed to astound me--AGAIN--with how large a rectal mitre you truly are.
Your blatantly cynical use of your religion to gain right-wing secular power has really reached a new low with your campaign for the canonization of Dorothy Day.
Ms. Day spent much of her life campaigning for pacifism, social justice, and the plight of the poor. Yet you and your fellow bishops are trying to canonize her as a glibertarian crusader who would bless the denial of women's health care. And you have the obscene audacity to reduce her complex life to a misogynist trope, the whore-turned-Madonna:
Describing for reporters at the bishops’ meeting Day’s life as a young woman, Cardinal Dolan offered a litany of concerns: “Sexual immorality, religious searching, pregnancy out of wedlock and an abortion.” But, he said, after her conversion, she not only flourished, but she also became an icon “for everything right about the dignity of the human person and the sanctity of human life.”You, sir, are a despicable misogynist. If you cannot even respect the wishes of a woman who specifically asked not to be turned into a saint, then can you not at least respect the wishes of her living descendants, who would rather see her life story understood as that of a human being, not as a prefab Female Stereotype Saint, whose private life you can publicly pontificate upon?
But her granddaughter, Martha Hennessy, 57, who volunteers in the East Village at Mary House, a Catholic Worker refuge for the poor that Day founded, said in an interview that she found the bishops’ increasing focus on her grandmother’s abortion uncomfortable.
“I wish we would focus on the birth of her child more than on her abortion because that’s what really played a role in her conversion,” said Ms. Hennessy, whose mother, Tamar, was Day’s only child. “It’s hard for me to hear these men talking about my mother and grandmother that way.”
Don't get me wrong. For those who believe in things like recognizing those in a Communion of Saints, I can think of few candidates more worthy of that honor. Dorothy Day is certainly an exemplar of Christian charity and I have nothing but respect for her life's work.
And I have nothing but contempt for the sexist re-writing of her life in order to lend Divine support to your grab for temporal power, a power which you propose to use in order to further the oppression of women, queers, and the poor.
So, contemptuously: Good day, sir.
I said, GOOD DAY.
[Commenting Guidelines: Please take the time to make sure any criticisms are clearly directed at Dolan and the Catholic Church leadership and not at "Catholics," many of whom are themselves critical of the failures of Church leadership.]