When Pope Francis, in his historic speech to Congress, spotlighted Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton, I let out a shout -- and no wonder. Just minutes before, I had finished the pitch to a literary agent for my book project.
The Papal shout-out will certainly renew interest in Dorothy Day's life and legacy. By embracing Day, the Pope rankled conservatives within and outside the Catholic Church. How ironic, then, that Francis' carefully-chosen words may soon elevate the radical Day to a place among America's saints.
Pope Francis needs to do more than simply author apostolic exhortations and encyclicals, or replace Western Cardinals and Bishops with non-Western Cardinals and Bishops. Now the laity who are energized by Pope Francis' reform need him to use his pen.
It's no surprise when American bishops talk about canonizing Dorothy Day as a saint, as they've done in recent years. For me, her life embodies the heart of Christianity because of the way she constantly tried to translate her faith into good works.
Pope Francis has shocked--and delighted--many, with his revival of the "social gospel" of the core deeds (feeding the hungry, healing the sick, clothing the poor and visiting the incarcerated), which Jesus reportedly commanded of his followers.
What would it look like to enroll hedge fund managers, bank CEOs, and their kind in a version of workfare for the wealthy? After all, they have seized the vast majority of their wealth in this country not because of their "works" or their merit so much as their "wealth."
At present there is a standoff between the Vatican and the organization that represents 80 percent of American nuns. The hierarchy likely will break the stalemate right after the noisy election season. But what seems like a straight, rigid line looks more convoluted on further examination.
If you are on the House Financial Services Committee or the Senate Banking committee or one of the regulators for the numerous corporations that operate in the financial services sector, you have had very little down time this summer.
Jesus' message is one of love and compassion, yet there is nothing loving or compassionate about the modern industries that produce almost all of the chickens, pigs and other farmed animals that are turned into meat in this country