Catholic nuns get on the bus to get out the word, but not the word Rome wants…

Jun 30 2012 Published by under Featured News

I am not a Catholic nor do I have anything against Catholics. Some of my best friends are Catholics. At least I think so.

Let me stop right there.

Here’s the thing; you may or may not have been paying attention to some of the ruckus going on recently within the Catholic Church regarding what appears to be a decision by the top dog Catholic leaders in Rome to reassert (reimpose) a more conservative vision of Catholicism. That more conservative vision is apparently designed to rein in some of the more liberal strays from the pack who have been spending way too much time on such issues as caring about what happens to poor people. In case you think I’m lying, check this out. Or you can check this out from a recent article in the Los Angeles Times.


The Vatican has ordered an overhaul of the most important group of nuns in the United States after an investigation found what Roman Catholic Church officials called “radical feminist themes” that questioned official positions on homosexuality and the ordination of women.

In a bluntly worded report, the Vatican’s watchdog of orthodoxy, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, found what it called “serious doctrinal problems” with some of the comments and actions by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, based in Silver Spring, Md. The Vatican on Wednesday named Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle to oversee changes in the group, a process that could take up to five years.

The Leadership Conference, which says it has more than 1,500 members representing more than 80% of the 57,000 women religious in the United States, stated it was “stunned” by the official assessment.

“This is a moment of great import for religious life and the wider church,” the group said in a statementposted on its website. “We ask your prayers as we meet with the LCWR National Board within the coming month to review the mandate and prepare a response.”

The Vatican’s actions come at a time when Rome appears to be reasserting its conservative vision over some elements of the church, particularly in the United States.

Nuns have questioned a variety of church positions, including the ban on ordaining women. In 2010, American bishops opposed the Obama administration’s healthcare insurance overhaul, but some nuns were very visible in supporting the plan, whose constitutionality is now being considered by the Supreme Court.

In its assessment of the Leadership Conference, the Vatican cited letters from some in the group “protesting the Holy See’s actions regarding the question of women’s ordination and of a correct pastoral approach to ministry to homosexual persons.”

“The terms of the letters suggest that these sisters collectively take a position not in agreement with the Church’s teaching on human sexuality. It is a serious matter when these Leadership Teams are not providing effective leadership and example to their communities, but place themselves outside the Church’s teaching,” the report said.

 So it does seem safe to say that the target of a fair amount of this whipping-into-line has been directed at the nuns, whom the church would like to spend more time speaking out against such morality-destroying issues as gay marriage and such. Don’t worry about those young boys being molested by those straight Catholic priests because, well, they’re not gay. At least I guess that’s the rationale because, truth be told? Who the hell knows how you make sense of that.

So anyway, there are these nuns who now even have their own website, and it’s called Nuns on the Bus. Pretty basic, I know. Nothing evangelically fancy pants like The Holiest of Rollers or His Holy Caravan. But then I don’t guess there’s any real need to be flashy when the mission is so plain and straightforward that it doesn’t require much embellishment, namely to tour the country letting folks know just how dangerous and destructive the Ryan Budget Plan really is to ordinary people – and then offering an alternative and far more humane budget. I doubt I’ll be converting to Catholicism anytime soon, but you can definitely sign me up as a fan of  these intrepid (and rather brave) nuns who have calmly registered their response to conservative Rome by getting on a bus and heading in the other direction. Let them tell you themselves:

Every hour of each day, Catholic Sisters stand in solidarity with all who live in poverty, and we confront injustice and systems that cause suffering.

We cannot stand by silently when the U.S. Congress considers further enriching the wealthiest Americans at the expense of struggling, impoverished families.

As part of our campaign for budget fairness we are taking a bus trip. Our bus will travel to places in many states where Sisters actively serve people in need. For they are our best witnesses to the suffering our federal government must not ignore.

We ask all who visit this website to join us in prayer and to support our work to defeat government actions that would add to the suffering of already struggling families. …

As Catholic Sisters, we must speak out against the current House Republican budget, authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). We do so because it harms people who are already suffering.

The Ryan Budget would:

  • Raise taxes on 18 million hardworking low-income families while cutting taxes for millionaires and big corporations.
  • Push the families of 2 million children into poverty.
  • Kick 8 million people off food stamps and 30 million off health care.

NETWORK’s Executive Director, Sister Simone Campbell, said in a recent media interview that Catholic Sisters “know the real-life struggles of real-life Americans.”  It is this knowledge that impelled us to organize this bus trip. When the federal government cuts funding to programs that serve people in poverty, we see the effects in our daily work. Simply put, real people suffer. That is immoral. Click on the links below to see how the Ryan budget affects people in your state.

We have an alternative. 

A collaboration of Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other faith communities and organizations, The Faithful Budget promotes comprehensive and compassionate budget principles that helps lift the burden on the poor, rather than increasing it while shielding the wealthiest from any additional sacrifice. View the faithful budget here.

When the nuns are pissed off enough to become revolutionaries, you know we’re in for a serious fight folks.

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