Scenes From an Occupation

Nora Connor spent the wee hours of Friday morning in Zucotti Park, waiting for Bloomberg to evict the Occupy Wall Street protesters.  Below she documents dawn in the park and the breaking news that the eviction had been called off.  Some of the images are dark or hard to see; they all convey the unfolding daily drama of occupation.

6:15 AM Zucotti Park is crowded, almost entirely hemmed in by mobile news trucks and lousy with photographers. The self-cleanup effort continues. It’s clear the pavement has been scrubbed, and the west end of the park is semi-cleared, but there are still a lot of blankets, tarps, sleeping bags and backpacks and more than a few occupiers sleeping. I’m told the consensus plan has been to shift the gear in stages to the areas of the park that are not being cleaned in order to ensure a continuous presence. It doesn’t look like that will happen in time. I’m also hearing of a plan to have a small group of people remain in the park with the rest forming a human circle around it, so I’m expecting arrests and pepper spray as of 7AM. Continue Reading →

Much Love to You Always, Dorothy

All the Way to Heaven: The Selected Letters of Dorothy Day; Marquette University Press (2011), $35

Reviewed by Jack Downey

The acclaimed Catholic University of America professor, John Tracy Ellis, once said that you can’t be a good historian unless you enjoy reading dead people’s mail. Happily for anyone who considers herself a Dorothy Day aficionado but has neither the resources nor the particular inclination to hoof it out to Milwaukee to visit the glorious Dorothy Day-Catholic Worker Archives at Marquette University, the universe has given us the Orbis Books editor-in-chief and Day historian extraordinaire, Robert Ellsberg. His new anthology of Dorothy’s letters, All the Way to Heaven, joins its brick-sized companion volume of her journals – The Duty of Delight – to give anyone with a public library card or an few extra bucks in his pocket a glimpse into the intimate thoughts and correspondence of this icon of progressive American Catholic activism. That said, if you’re looking for an excuse to visit the birthplace of affordable hipster-friendly light beer, then a trip to the archives might be just what the doctor ordered.

David O’Brien, the eminent American Catholic historian and professor emeritus at Holy Cross, has called Dorothy Day “the most significant, interesting, and influential person in the history of American Catholicism.” Continue Reading →

Hog-Driving Cleric

From Michael Miller’s profile of the new Archbishop of Miami, Thomas Wenski, printed this week in the Miami New Times:

Wenski is unlike anything the church has ever seen. He’s a hard-charging, hog-driving cleric and licensed pilot who speaks six languages fluently. In the past seven months, he has come on like a blessed freight train, booting dozens of longtime priests from their too-comfortable parishes and suing the City of Miami for $140 million. He’s risked the ire of Miami Cubans by engaging the island’s communist government and had his phone tapped by the Castro regime. Just two weeks ago, he helped open the first seminary in Cuba since the revolution.

But on social issues, he has become a rabid, Tea Party-style conservative whose ban on even discussing condoms might have led to hundreds of Haitians contracting HIV.

Continue Reading →