Dorothy Day never expected much of the bishops

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“As a convert, I never expected much of bishops,” said Dorothy Day, at the age of 70. She’d been dealing with them up close for over four decades. “In all history, popes and bishops and father abbots seem to have been blind and power-loving and greedy. I never expected leadership from them. It is the saints that keep appearing all through history who keep things going. What I do expect is the bread of life and down through the ages there is that continuity.”

It’s a useful lesson now, when the sins of our priests and bishops dominate the news. It’s one I described in my own way a few days ago in Scandal in the Church. Day could deal with the failings and the sins of the Church’s ministers, especially her bishops, because she so loved the Mass and everything else that God gave her daily, through chosen but fallen men. Here are some of her thoughts about the Mass.

Church - Heart - Soul - Time - Life

“I love the Church with all my heart and soul,” she said another time when she was looking back at her life as a Catholic. “I never go inside a church without thanking God almighty for giving me a home. The Church is my home, and I don’t want to be homeless. … I have never wanted to challenge the Church, only be part of it, [and] in return, receive its love and mercy, and the mercy and love of Jesus.”

She felt that love most powerfully in the Mass, the presence of Jesus that God gives us through the consecrated but imperfect hands of priests. The Mass is always the Mass. Her work serving the poor made her see “more and more that the great and powerful weapon to be used against the powers of darkness is the Holy Sacrifice. …...
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