What did Dorothy Day say about the ‘filthy, rotten system”?

No doubt that many commentators and news writers will be google search “Dorothy Day” in the next few hours (if not minutes). They will undoubtedly find and use a quote attributed to Day in which she denounces capitalism as a “filthy, rotten system.”

Well, that citation may not be too true, as Brian Terrell explained to NCR readers in 2012.

“Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system,” attributed to Dorothy Day, is widely quoted by scholars, journalists and Catholic Workers, even more since her death in 1980. It is rare to find a reference to Dorothy and the movement she cofounded that does not include it, and some offer it as a distillation of her prodigious body of writing into a few pithy words.

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This is Dorothy Day’s most famous quote. The problem is that she probably never said it.

Here’s the rest of the story: Dorothy Day’s ‘filthy, rotten system’ likely wasn’t hers at all


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