Dead Man Walking

by: Sister Helen Prejean

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained
1. The mandate to practice social justice is unsettling because taking on the struggles of the poor invariably means challenging the wealthy and those who serve their interests. “Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”—that’s what Dorothy Day, a Catholic social activist, said is the heart of the Christian Gospel.

In Chapter 1, Prejean describes her call to work for social justice. No longer content to live a life of quiet religious contemplation, Prejean is seized by a new understanding of the Gospels and Jesus’ teachings. The transformation she undergoes is a difficult one. It means foregoing peace and comfort for confrontation, challenges, and problems. For Prejean, the call is a “mandate,” an inescapable demand placed on her by Christ’s teachings. Dorothy Day, known for her lifetime of work on behalf of the poor, inspires Prejean with her idea that the gospels call people to confront the rich. Comforting the afflicted is not enough. In order to fully realize the message of the Gospels, those who directly or indirectly participate in a system of social inequality must be challenged.