Notes on Peace and Justice

Archdiocese of New York seeks eyewitnesses to Dorothy Day’s life

Dorothy Day (CNS/Courtesy Milwaukee Journal)

Dorothy Day (CNS/Courtesy Milwaukee Journal)

The Archdiocese of New York is looking for a few good eyewitnesses to the life of Catholic Worker co-founder and justice advocate Dorothy Day.

Its Dorothy Day Guild is soliciting the names of people who worked alongside, knew or met Day so they can be interviewed as part of the effort for her canonization.

Jeffry Korgen, coordinator of the diocesan phase of the canonization process, said names are being collected to determine who can be interviewed.

“It’s a little bit of the legal part of (the process),” Korgen explained to Catholic News Service. “They have to be under oath, interviewed under a canonically approved process with specific questions approved for the inquiry as part of the sainthood process.”

Each person whose name surfaces will be examined for how well they knew Day and how much information they can provide to “shed light on her life.”

“We’re supposed to have 50 good interviews,” Korgen said.

“We really want to get as many names as we can now, figure out what kind of perspective they have and get cracking,” he said.

The guild will accept names March 31. To submit a referral — or to refer yourself — visit online.

Batman comic artist inspired by Dorothy Day

Batman comic artist Dennis O’Neil may just be one of the people whom the archdiocese is looking for.

batman-20clip-20art-xcge7jacAO’Neil, who wrote and edited the Dark Knight under different comic titles for more than 30 years, said in a Feb. 19 post on the Comic Mix website that he incorporated a little of Dorothy Day into a new character he and colleague Dick Giordano introduced in Detective Comics #457 published March 1976.

The character, Dr. Leslie Thompkins, was developed to serve as a surrogate mother for Bruce Wayne, who donned the Batman mystique to fight crime. O’Neil said Thompkins told a young Wayne that not everyone believed that violence solved problems.

“I had a real person in mind when I was writing Detective #457, someone I’d once met named Dorothy Day,” O’Neil wrote, describing how she co-founded the Catholic Worker in New York’s Bowery in the midst of the Great Depression.

“We incorporated Dorothy’s pacifism into Leslie. There wasn’t much; I can’t recall any particular story in which it was a major element. But look for it and you could find it,” O’Neil continued.

For those who don’t know Batman lore, Wayne’s mother and father were killed by thugs during a robbery as a young Bruce watched. The incident influenced Wayne eventually to become the Dark Knight to overcome crime.

Thompkins was a friend and medical colleague of Thomas Wayne, Bruce’s father. She dedicated her skills toward helping the neglected and impoverished of Gotham City.

O’Neil’s post goes on to compare the original Thompkins with the Thompkins character played by Morena Baccarin in the television series “Gotham.” He said he does not expect the TV Thompkins to endorse Day’s convictions. Still, he wondered, “what would be wrong with giving the video Leslie a pacifist leaning or two? She could slip them into a subordinate clause where nobody would notice them anyway. And they would give the character Ms. Baccarin and her cohorts are so able creating a nuance uniquely her own.”

It seems Day’s influence has spread far and wide.

Global Catholic Climate Movement undertakes Lenten fast

Members of the recently formed Global Catholic Climate Movement are participating in a worldwide Lenten fast for climate justice.

Individuals in 50 countries started fasting on Ash Wednesday, February 18, and will continue on a rotating basis through March 28. Fasters in the U.S. will be fasting March 16 and Canadian participants will join in March 4.

In announcing the fast Feb. 16, Patrick Carolan, executive director of the Franciscan Action Network, said the organization chose fasting as its first worldwide action because of Pope Francis’ call that all people need to be “protectors of creation.”

“We encourage Catholics around the world to unite, pray and fast in solidarity with those who are most affected by the changing global climate,” Carolan said in a statement.

The group’s 40-day fast is part of the 365-day Fast for the Climate, which began Dec. 1 at the start of the worldwide climate-change meeting in Lima, Peru, and continues through Nov. 30, the beginning of the next summit in Paris for an agreement to take effect in 2020, when the Kyoto Protocol expires.

If you decide to join the fast, sign in at the organization’s website.

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