Catholicradical: Where Catholic thought is combined with Catholic Action

Quotes from Catholic philosophical and theological leaders from the past and present. Your comments are encouraged!!!

Location: Charleston, South Carolina, United States

Friday, July 29, 2005

It Is Hard

It is hard to live in the upside-down world of the Gospels. Truly it is a world of paradoxes, giving up one's life in order to save it, dying to live. It is voluntary poverty, stripping oneself even of what the world calls dignity, honor, human respect. Dorothy Day.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


Alas, instead of entertaining foolish dreams of creatures, would I have flown straight to You, O my God, like my little Therese. For You also dream of creatures...but You do not dream as we do...You dream of the creature in order to deify it, and sometimes--O Mystery--You dream of it to make it Your spouse! And this is the dream of love that has been realized in me.
Marie Martin, sister of the "The Little Flower," St. Therese.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


One of the vows the Benedictines take is stability. And there is such wandering today, from job to job, from home to home. Most people want a settled place, but economic circumstances make it hard. Dorothy Day.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Prostitution Papers

The Prostitution of Marriage
Birth control is not self-control. What is not self-control is self-indulgence. What is self-indulgence is prostitution of functions. Prostitution in marriage is prostitution of marriage. Prostitution of marriage is prostitution plus hypocrisy.
The Prostitution of Education
To educate is to elevate. To elevate is to raise. To raise wheat on a piece of land is to enable that piece of land to produce wheat instead of weeds. To raise men from the animal state to the cultural state is to educate men. The teaching of facts without understanding is a prostitution of education.
The Prostitution of the Press
Modern newspapermen try to give people what they want. Newspapermen ought to give people what they need. To give people what they want but should not have is to pander. To give people what they need, or in other terms, to make them want what they ought to want, is to foster. To pander to the bad in men is to make men inhuman to men. To foster the good in men is to make men human to men.
The Prostitution of Politics
The Republicans say: "Let's turn the rascals out." The Democrats say: "Let's turn the rascals out." The Republicans call the Democrats rascals. The Democrats call the Republicans rascals. For the Republicans as well as for the Democrats politics is just profitable business. By making a business out of politics politicians have prostituted the noble calling of politics.
The Prostitution of Property
All the land belongs to God. God wants us to be our brother's keeper. Our superfluous goods must be used to relieve the needs of our brother. What we so for our brother for Christ's sake is what we carry with us when we die. This is what the poor are for, to give to the rich the occasion to do good for Christ's sake. To use property to acquire more property is not the proper use of property. It is a prostitution of property.
The Prostitution of the Theatre
What applies to the Press applies also to the Theatre. In the Middle Ages the Theatre was considered as an efficient way of preaching. They liked to produce Mystery Plays. They aimed to preach and not to pander. Pandering to the crowd has brought the degradation of the theatre. The Theatre started in the Church. The Theatre has ended in the gutter.
The Prostitution of Art
In the Middle Ages the artists were not called artists, they were called artisans. When the artists were artisans they had the community spirit. They had the community spirit because they believed in the doctrine of the Common Good. Now that the artists do no longer believe in the doctrine of the Common Good they sell their work to art speculators. As Eric Gill says, "they have become the lap-dogs of the bourgeoisie."
--Peter Maurin--

Hearts Burning Within Us

God is love. Therefore, being seized by God is an enkindling in love -- when the spirit is ready for it. For all that is mortal is consumed in the fire of eternal love. And that means all movements that are released in the soul through creatures. If she (the soul) turns toward the creature, she withdraws herself from the divine love, although she cannot escape it. Then love becomes a fire that consumes the soul herself. The human spirit as spirit is destined for immortal being... There was nothing in Christ through his nature and his free decision that resisted love. He lived every moment of his existence in the boundless surrender to divine love. But in the Incarnation he had taken upon himself the entire burden of mankind's sin, embraced it with his merciful love, and hidden it in his soul... This is how the expiating fire burned in his inmost being, in his entire, lifelong suffering, in the most intense form in the Garden of Olives and on the cross, because here the sensible joy of the indestructible union ceased, subjecting him totally to the Passion, and allowing this Passion to become the experience of the total abandonment by God. In the 'Consummatum est,' the end of the expiatory fire is announced as is the final return into eternal, undisturbed union of love in the 'Pater, in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum.' In the Passion and death of Christ our sins were consumed by fire. If we accept that in faith, and if we accept the whole Christ in faith-filled surrender, which means, however, that we choose and walk the path of the imitation of Christ, then he will lead us through his Passion and cross to the glory of his Resurrection.
St. Edith Stein (Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, +1942, Student of Husserl,German philosopher and Jewish convert and Carmilite nun, put to death at Auschwitz).

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Works of Mercy

The works of mercy are works of love. The works of war are works of the devil -- "You do not know of what spirit you are," Jesus said to his disciples when they would call down fire from heaven on the inhospitable Samaritans. This is to look at things in the large context of modern war. But as for the hostilities in our midst, the note of violence and conflict in all our dealings with others -- everyone seems to contribute to it. There is no room for righteous wrath today... Every movement of wrath in the heart over petty hostilities must be struggled with in order to hold up the strength of the participants.
--Dorothy Day, July, 1964--

Poverty Frees

It is voluntary poverty which needs to be preached to the comfortable congregations, so that a man will not be afraid of losing his job if he speaks out on these issues. So that pastors or congregations will not be afraid of losing the support of rich benefactors. A readiness for poverty, a disposition to accept it, is enough to begin with. We will always get what we need. "Take no thought for what you shall eat or drink -- the Lord knows you have need of these things.
--Dorothy Day, July, 1964--

The Unpopular Front

To attack poverty by preaching voluntary poverty seems like madness. But again, it is direct action. "The coat that hangs in your closet belongs to the poor." And to go further, "If anyone takes your coat, give him your cloak too." To be profligate in our love and generosity, spontaneous, to cut all the red tape of bureaucracy! "Open your mouth and I will fill it," says the Lord in the Psalms. The more you give away, the more the Lord will give you to give. It is a growth in faith. It is the attitude of the man whose life of common sense and faith is integrated. To live with generosity in times of crisis is only common sense. In the time of earthquake, flood, fire, people give recklessly; even governments do this. (Even the pagans do this...)
--Dorothy Day, September, 1964--

The Holy Father

What about our Holy Father as one of the heroes of the day? Do we wear buttons to remind us of our spiritual leader? Do we hang on his words with breathless interest and greet his every utterance with joy? Do we examine what he says, weigh his words, follow his leadership? Do we meditate on what he has said, do we ponder it prayerfully, do we try to serve under his banner as valiant soldiers of Christ? If we did there would be far more pacifists today, far more conscientious objectors.
--Dorothy Day, April, 1942--


I could not help thinking how little penance we have done these last years, how little mortification, how little dying to self, which is what mortification is. To mortify is to put to death, to do violence to oneself. "You have not yet resisted unto blood," St. Paul said. "Without the shedding of blood there is no salvation." Blood means 'life' in Biblical terms. Some years ago I saw a man die of a heart attack before my eyes, and his skin became like wax s the blood stopped moving in the veins and seemed to drain back to the heart.
If our cause is a mighty one, and surely peace on earth in these days is the great issue of the day, and if we are opposing the powers of darkness, of nothingness, of destruction, and working on the side of light and life, then surely we must use our greatest weapons -- the life forces that are in each one of us. To stand on the side of life we must give up our own lives. "He who would save his life must lose it."
--Dorothy Day--

Righteous Wrath

I am reminded of St. Teresa who said, "The devil sends me so offensive a bad spirit of temper that at times I think I could eat people up." I'm glad that she felt that way, too. St. Thomas said there is no sin in having a righteous wrath provided there is no undue desire for revenge.
--Dorothy Day--

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

At a Personal Sacrifice

In the first centuries of Christianity the hungry were fed at a personal sacrifice, the naked were clothed at a personal sacrifice, the homeless were sheltered at a personal sacrifice. And because the poor were fed, clothed and sheltered at a personal sacrifice, the pagans used to say about the Christians: "See how they love each other."
In our own day the poor are no longer fed, clothed or sheltered at a personal sacrifice, but at the expense of the taxpayers. And because the poor are no longer fed, clothed and sheltered the pagans say about the Christians: "See how they pass the buck."
--Peter Maurin--

Monday, July 18, 2005

Why Christ Shows His Wounds

While I was asking god what I could do to please him more, in his mercy, he appeared to me many times, both while I was asleep and awake, crucified on the cross. He told me that I should look at his wounds... He should me how he had endured all these wounds for me... As he was showing me the sufferings he had endured for me..., he told me: "What then can you do that would seem to you to be enough?" ...He even showed me how his beard, eyebrows and hair had been plucked out and enumerated each and every one of the blows of the whip that he had received. And he said: "I have endured all these things for you."
After this, I was given an astonishing remembrance of all my sins and became aware that I was the one who had wounded him afresh with my sins and because of this, great should be my sorrow. And I did grieve more for my sins than ever before. He continued to show me the sufferings of his passion and repeated: "What indeed can you do for me that would satisfy you?" I wept much, shedding such hot tears that they burned my flesh.
--St. Angela of Foligno, +1309, was a wife and mother who later became a Franciscan tertiary and an esteemed mystical writer.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

It is the Lord

Do you want Christ t appear to you in prayer as he would to his friend? Let love him be within you without a moment's break. Do you want this love to be continually inflamed in your soul? Then remove from your soul love for the world...
Are you desirous of seeing the radiant beams of the beauty of the Holy Trinity in your soul? Keep the commandments of Christ, for he said, "When you keep my commandments, it is then that my love shall be found with you." And with the fulfillment of these in the soul, he said that he and Gather and his Spirit will come and make a habitation; and there he will dwell and be seen. He also said that his friends were not of the world, and that the world has hated them... I truly say that the moment the mind strips off the world it puts on Christ; the moment it departs from thinking about the affairs of the world it encounters God... It is a mystery for me here, and a cause for fear; but to the true, truth is revealed.
John the Elder (+ c. early eighth century, was a monastic writer of the East)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Sirach 2:1-6

My son, when you come to serve the Lord,
prepare yourself for trials
Be sincere of heart and steadfast,
undisturbed in time of adversity.
Cling to him, forsake him not;
thus will your future be great.
Accept whatever befalls you,
in crushing misfortune be patient;
For in fire gold is tested,
and worthy men in the crucible of humiliation.
Trust God and He will help you;
make straight your ways and hope in Him.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Infinite Love of God

Fear nothing and never be afraid. And don't worry. If only your penitence fail not, God will forgive all. There is no sin and there can be no sin on all the earth, which the Lord will not forgive to the truly repentant! Man cannot commit a sin so great as to exhaust the infinite love of God. Can there be a sin which could exceed the love of God? Think only of repentance, continual repentance, but dismiss fear altogether. Believe that God loves you as you cannot conceive; that He loves you with your sin, in your sin. It has been said of old that over one repentant sinner there is more joy in heaven than over ten righteous men. Go, and fear not. Be not bitter against men. Be not angry if you are wronged. Forgive the dead man in your heart what wrong he did you. Be reconciled with him in truth. If you are penitent, you love. And if you love you are of God. All things are atoned for, all things are saved by love. If I, a sinner even as you are, am tender with you and have pity on you, how much more will God have pity upon you. Love is such a priceless treasure that you can redeem the whole world by it, and cleanse not only your own sins but the sins of others.
--Father Zossima, "The Brothers Karamazov", by Dostoyevsky

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Love, love, love one another! Be glad, be jubilant! Summertime is coming!... God...showed his marvels in such a way that my soul seemed to be outside my body and was so overwhelmed with joy that I can't really describe it in words. He told and explained bit by bit the mystery of the persecution holy Church is now enduring, and of the renewal and exaltation to come. He said that what is happening now is being permitted to restore her to her original condition. First Truth cited a few words from the holy Gospel: "It is inevitable that scandal should come into the world, but woe to the one by whom the scandal comes!" It was as if he were saying, "I am permitting this time of persecution in order to uproot the thorns from my bride, for she is all hedged in with thorns. But people have no permission from me for their evil plottings. Do you know what I am doing? I am doing as I did when I was in the world, when I made the whip of cords and drove out those who were selling and buying in the temple, since I didn't want my Father's house to be made a robbers' den. In the same way, I tell you, I've made a whip now of certain people, and with that whip I am driving out the filthy, greedy, avaricious dealers bloated with pride, who are selling and buying the graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit." So with the whip of human persecution he was driving them out -- I mean he was using suffering and persecution to free them from their shameful disordered way of living.
--St. Catherine of Siena--

Thursday, July 07, 2005

On American-style Capitalism

our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy rotten system

Dorothy Day

Personal Love

It is not love in the abstract that counts. Men have loved a cause as they have loved a woman. Men have loved the brotherhood, the workers, the poor, the oppressed--but they have not loved man, they have not loved the least of these. They have not loved "personally." It is hard to love. It is the hardest thing in the world, naturally speaking. Have you ever read Tolstoi's Resurrection? He tells of political prisoners in a long prison train, enduring chains and persecution for their love of their brothers, ignoring those same brothers on the long trek to Siberia. It is never the brother right next to us, but brothers in the abstract that are easy to love. ...Dorothy Day...

Fault of the Poor

Over and over again we meet good people who are under the delusion that there is little poverty in the United States, that we are all enjoying a high standard of living, and when presented with such pictures as [homeless people in their towns] they can scarcely believe them. "It must be their own fault. They are shiftless, they drink, [they are drug addicts], [they waste their money on the wrong things], they don't save their money. Everyone can get a job these days..." These are the comments they make.
**Dorothy Day**

Knowledge of the Poor

How few there are who are reaching these men, these unemployed, these destitute, to bring them Catholic social teachings, some idea of the correlation of the material and spiritual, so that they can indeed begin to realize that they are creatures of body and soul. How great a need there is to build up many little centers where men gather together and discuss these things and get these ideas moving. Patience, contentment with the little way [of St. Therese], hard work, obscurity and poverty, the knowledge of the poor which results in the love of the poor, these are what is needed.
--Dorothoy Day--

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

"Cut It Off"

When man encounters the love of God in Christ, not only does he experience what genuine love is, but he is also confronted with the undeniable fact that he, a selfish sinner, does not himself possess true love. He experiences two thing at once: the finitude of the creature's love and its sinful frigidity. To be sure, he does possess something of an "anticipation" of what love is; if he did not, he would not be able to make any sense of the sign of Jesus Christ... All the same, man cannot come to a recognition of this sign on the basis of his "anticipation" without a radical conversion-- a conversion not only of the heart, which must in the face of this love confess that it has failed to love until now, but also a conversion of thought, which must relearn what love after all really is...
The event of the Passion exposes the truth of humanity...
At a deeper level, man is aware of his heart's paralysis, fallenness, and frigidity, his incapacity to meet the demand of any law of love, no matter how generally postulated. He simply cannot summon up enough courage for it. And in any event he would not presume to believe in such a fulfillment of existence. He finds such a lack of strength in himself that he thinks he must complain to authorities higher than his own heart.
Father Hans Urs von Balthasar (+1988, an eminent Swiss Catholic theologian).

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Forget Not


Saturday, July 02, 2005

The New Heart

Jesus Christ transformed his death into verbal form--into a prayer--and, in so doing, changed the world. As a result, this death is able to be present for us, because it continues to live in the prayer, and the prayer runs right down though the centuries... Because Jesus turned death into a proclamation of thanksgiving and love, he is now able to be present down through all ages as the wellspring of life, and we can enter into him by praying with him. He gathers up, so to speak, the pitiful fragments of our suffering, our loving, our hoping, and our waiting into this prayer, into a great flood in which it shares in his life, so that thereby we truly share in the sacrifice. Christ does not stand facing us alone. It was alone that he died, as the grain of wheat, but he does not arise alone, but as a whole ear of corn, taking with him the communion of the saints. Since the Resurrection, Christ no longer stands alone but is--as the Church Fathers say-- always caput et corpus: head and body, open to us all. Thus he makes his word come true: "I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself" (Jn 12:32)...The magnitude of Christ's achievement consists precisely in his not remaining someone else, over and against us, who might thus relegate us once more to a merely passive role; he does not merely bear with us; rather, he bears us up; he identifies himself with us to such an extent that our sins belong to him and his being to us: he truly accepts us and takes us up, so that we ourselves become active with his support and alongside him, so that we ourselves cooperate and join in the sacrifice with him, participating in the mystery ourselves. Thus our own life and suffering, our own hoping and loving, can also become fruitful, in the new heart he has given us.
...Pope Benedict XVI, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger...

Friday, July 01, 2005

"Even the Unworthy Poor"

God is on the side even of the unworthy poor, as we know from the story Jesus told of His Father and the prodigal son. Charles Peguy, in "God Speaks", has explained it perfectly. Readers may object that the prodigal son returned penitent to his father's house. But who knows, he night have gone out and squandered money on the next Saturday night; he might have refused to help with the farm work, and asked to be sent to finish his education instead, thereby further incurring his brother's righteous wrath, and the war between the worker and the intellectual, or the conservative and the radical, would be on. Jesus has another answer to that one: to forgive one's brother seventy times seven. There are always answers, although they are not always calculated to soothe.
*****Dorothy Day*****

"Neither You nor I"

When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed. **Mother Teresa**