an After abortion

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Thursday, March 20, 2003

Dorothy Day, candidate for sainthood

Don't call me a saint," she occasionally said. "I don't want to be dismissed so easily."

That's a frequently quoted comment of Dorothy Day.

This article has a quite fascinating discussion about the effect of her abortion.

"Perhaps another reason for Dorothy's resistance to admiration was that she believed people would think quite differently about her if they knew the whole truth of her pre-Catholic life and the fact that she had caused the death of her own unborn child.

Nothing horrified Dorothy more about her own past than the abortion. This memory was so painful to her that the event was only implied in the vaguest way in her later, Catholic autobiographical writing. There was even a period in her life when she made an effort to track down and destroy as many copies of The Eleventh Virgin as she could find.

She once told her friend Robert Coles about a time when she brought this book-burning effort of hers to the attention of a priest who was hearing her Confession.

The priest laughed. "He said, 'My, my.' I thought he was going to tell me to stop being so silly and mixed up in my priorities.

"I will remember to my last day here on God's earth what that priest said: 'You can't have much faith in God if you're taking the life he has given you and using it that way.' I didn't say a word in reply. He added, 'God is the one who forgives us, if we ask him; and it sounds like you don't even want forgiveness—just to get rid of the books.'"

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