Dorothy Day, Religion, and the Left
Dorothy Day’s integration of radical politics and Catholic identity reveals the challenges and opportunities of forging a tradition inclusive of religion and the left. Day and Peter Maurin founded the Catholic Worker movement as a Christian anarchist community that emphasized subsidiarity (local decision making), freedom of conscience, and the works of mercy (direct service to the economically and politically disenfranchised). In doing so, Day demonstrated to skeptics on the left and among her coreligionists that radical politics and Catholic practice could be harmonized. Her emphasis on freedom of conscience and the works of mercy created a context within which people of varying backgrounds could collaborate in social justice endeavors.