Commonweal in the 1970s
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.
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."
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?