Commonweal in the 1970s

From Our Archives

Peter Steinfels, who'd been at Commonweal from 1964 to 1972, wrote later in the decade that "the moment would seem propitious for those commenting out of a tradition like the Catholic one, with its balance between immanence and transcendence, between individual and community, between intellectual analysis and ritual, between responsibility to the social order, contemplation, and eschatological hope." Catholic intellectuals "were perhaps more than ever capable of significant contribution to American intellectual and cultural life." But he also wondered: "Is this also the moment, ironically, when the discontinuities between generations of educated Catholics may possibly reach the point where much of that tradition becomes irrecoverable?" 

As we continue to mark our ninetieth year in publication, here we feature stories from Commonweal in the 1970s.

The 1970s, Part 1

At the invitation of Commonweal, Dorothy Day pens a piece on the occasion of her seventy-fifth birthday; with the United States exiting Vietnam, Gordon C. Zahn contemplates what might be in store for the Catholic peace movement; Graham Greene writes on "facing the challenge of an inexplicable goodness"; and Mary Daly looks at the effect of the women's revolution upon the fabric of society: "It will, I believe, become the greatest single potential challenge to Christianity to rid itself of its oppressive tendencies or go out of business."

After the Death of God the Father

The women's liberation movement has produced a deluge of books and articles. Their major task has been exposition and criticism of our male-centered heritage. In order to reveal and drive home to readers the oppressive character of our cultural...

A Reminiscence at 75

Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, wrote her first article for Commonweal in September of 1929. To mark her 75th birthday, the editors recently asked her for an article of reminiscence and recollection. Her response follows....

The Future of the Catholic Peace Movement

With the situation in Indochina still highly uncertain, it may seem premature to turn our attention to the postwar prospects of the Catholic peace-and-resistance movement. In actual fact, it may already be too late. There is a tendency, once a war...

On Becoming a Catholic

Vivien was a Roman Catholic, but to me religion went no deeper than the sentimental hymns in the school chapel. "Lord Dismiss Us with Thy Blessing" represented the occasional mercy of God, and I enjoyed the luxurious melancholy of "...
The 1970s, Part 2

The editors write on the killing of eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics; John C. Cort explains his decision to join the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, chaired at the time by Michael Harrington; Robert F. Drinin comments on "the epochal 7 to 2 decision" in Roe v. Wade, while Fr. Henri Nouwen poses two questions: How does the man of tomorrow look today, and how can we lead him to where he can redeem his people? 

Respect for Life

It was fitting, ironic, and tragic that the Munich murders and their equally brutal aftermath should occur so close to the first anniversary of Attica. The events had several things in common. Ironically, the very concept of seizing hostages...

Why I Became a Socialist

"I have always been inclined to take the papal encyclicals seriously." In The Brothers Karamazov there is a character named Miusov who quotes a French police official: "We are not particularly afraid of all these socialists,...

The Abortion Decision

In reading the 51-page opinion of Mr. Justice Blackmun's decision of January 22, 1973, invalidating virtually all state abortion laws, one gets the impression that seven members of the Supreme Court who concurred in Blackmun's judgment came...

Generation Without Fathers

There is an old Jewish story which might help us to set the right tone when we discuss Christian leadership in tomorrow's world. One day a young fugitive, trying to hide himself from the enemy, entered a small Jewish village. The people were...


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I really want to read the Drinan piece on Roe v. Wade, but there's a bad link (at least for me).  Can it be fixed?

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