22 June 2012

Bully for the nuns

I'm no fan of the Roman Catholic Church, or organized religion generally, but when the folks in black do a good deed, I'm prepared to recognize it. And the good sisters of Network, a Washington-based Catholic social justice group, are doing a good deed indeed. They have initiated a nine-state bus tour protesting proposed federal budget cuts, saying they felt called to show how Republican policies are affecting low-income families.

The nuns' trip was inspired by Rep. Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, the architect of the House-passed budget, who said that Catholic social teachings inspired the cutbacks he proposed. The cutbacks would decimate many programs run by sisters.

The Vatican has asked U.S. bishops to look at Network’s ties to another sisterhood, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the organization that represents most American nuns. It has accused Women Religious of focusing too much on economic injustice while failing to promote the church’s teachings on abortion and same-sex marriage, and has ordered American bishops to carry out a full-scale overhaul of the organization.

The good sisters of Network seem unfazed by the Vatican's bullying and persist in their advocacy for the less fortunate. Unlike some of their Catholic brothers, such as Rep. Paul Ryan, they seemed to have an ear for Jesus's message.

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