The Way of LovernDorothy Day and the American Rightrnby Bill KaufiFmanrnThe title “Dorothy Day and the American Right” promisesrna mercihil brevity, along the lines of “CommandmentsrnWe Have Kept” by the Kennedy Brothers. After all, the fonnderrnof the Catholic Worker movement and editor of its newspaperrnlived among the poor, refused to participate in air-raid drills,rnand preferred Cesar Chavez to Bebe Rebozo.rnBut there is more to the “right” than a dollar bill stretchingrnfrom the DuPonts to Ronald Reagan, just as the “left” is somethingrngreater than the bureau-building and bomb-dropping ofrnRoosevelts and Kennedys. Maybe, just maybe, Dorothy Dayrnhad a home, if partially furnished and seldom occupied, on thernAmerican right.rnThe Catholic reactionary John Lukacs, after attending thernlavish 25th anniversar)’ bash for National Review in Decemberrn1980, held in the Plaza Hotel, hellward of the Catholic WorkerrnHouse on Mott Street, wrote:rnDuring the introduction of the celebrities a shower of applauserngreeted Henry Kissinger. I was sufficientiy irritatedrnto ejaculate a fairly loud Boo! . . . A day or so beforernthat evening Dorothy Day had died. She was thernfounder and saintly heroine of the Catholic Workerrnmovement. During that glamorous evening I thought:rnwho was a truer conservative, Dorothy Day or Henrv’rnKissinger? Surely it was Dorothy Day, whose respect forrnwhat was old and valid, whose dedication to the plain de-rnBill Kauffman is the author, most recently, of With Goodrnhitentions? (Praeger). This article is derived from a speechrngiven at the Dorothy Day Centenary Conference at MarquetternUniversity’ in October 1997.rncencies and duties of human life rested on the traditionsrnof two millennia of Christianity, and who was a radicalrnonly in the truthful sense of attempting to get to the rootsrnof the human predicament. Despite its pro-Catholic tendency,rnand despite its commendable custom of commemoratingrnthe passing of worthy people even whenrnsome of these did not belong to the conservatives, NationalrnReview paid neither respect nor attention to thernpassing of Dorothy Day, while around the same time itrnpublished a respectful R.I.P. column in honor of OswaldrnMosley, the onetime leader of the British Fascist Part}’.rnNational Review, dreadnought of postwar American conservatism,rnoccasionally aimed its scattershot at Day. Founder WilliamrnF. Buckley, Jr., referred casually to “the grotesqueries thatrngo into making up the Catholic Worker movement”; of MissrnDay, he chided “the slovenly, reckless, intellectually chaotic,rnanti-Catholic doctrines of this good-hearted woman—who, didrnshe have her way in shaping national policy, would test thernpromise of Christ Himself, that the gates of Hell shall not prevailrnagainst us.”rnThe grotesqueries he does not bother to itemize; nor doesrnBuckley—whose only memorable witticism was Mater, Si,rnMagistra, No —explain just what was “anti-Catholic” about arnwoman who told a friend, “The hierarchy permits a priest to sayrnMass in our chapel. They have given us the most preciousrnthing of all—the Blessed Sacrament. If the Chancery orderedrnme to stop publishing The Catholic Worker tomorrow, Irnwould.”rnIf Buckley and Kissinger were the sum of the American right,rnmine would be a very brief article indeed. But there is anotherrnNOVEMBER 1998/17rnrnrn