Archive for April, 2012

Dorothy Day’s Short Speech at Penn State in 1965

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

“It is not just Vietnam, it is South Africa, it is Nigeria, the Congo,
Indonesia, all of Latin America. It is not just the pictures of all
the women and children who have been burnt alive in Vietnam, or the
men who have been tortured, and died. It is not just the headless
victims of the war in Colombia. It is not just the words of Cardinal
Spellman and Archbishop Hannan. It is the fact that whether we like it
or not, we are Americans. It is indeed our country, right or wrong, as
the Cardinal said in another context. We are warm and fed and secure
(aside from occasional muggings and murders amongst us). We are the
nation the most powerful, the most armed and we are supplying arms and
money to the rest of the world where we are not ourselves fighting. We
are eating while there is famine in the world. Scripture tells us that
the picture of judgment presented to us by Jesus is of Dives sitting
and feasting with his friends while Lazarus sat hungry at the gate,
the dogs, the scavengers of the East, licking his sores. We are the
Dives. Woe to the rich! We are the rich. The works of mercy are the
opposite of the works of war, feeding the hungry, sheltering the
homeless, nursing the sick, visiting the prisoner. But we are
destroying crops, setting fire to entire villages and to the people in
them. We are not performing the works of mercy but the works of war.
We cannot repeat this enough.”

—Dorothy Day