Dorothy Day: ‘We are not going into the subject of birth control at all as a matter of fact’

This article appears in the Francis in the United States feature series. View the full series.
Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, spent her adult life as an advocate for the poor and the rights of workers. (CNS photo/courtesy Milwaukee Journal)

I was on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol along with many thousands of others listening to Pope Francis’ address to Congress on Sept. 24, when he singled out and praised Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement. With the mention of her name, the murmured question, “Dorothy Day, who’s she?” was audible over the scattered applause and cheers of the few who know her and who share the pope’s good opinion of her. As a lifelong Catholic Worker who knew and worked with Dorothy Day in my youth, I watched with interest, amusement and some trepidation as over the next hours the worldwide media rose to the challenge of answering that question.

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