Nuns and Social Justice

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Sister Simone Campbell, the Executive Director of Network, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, talks about being a progressive voice in the Catholic community, this summer’s nine-state Nuns on the Bus tour, and what the Vatican’s recent rebuke of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious means for the mission of nuns in this country.


Sister Simone Campbell

Comments [34]

Ed from Larchmont

Of course we're grateful for the sisters' orders, and the talk was uplifting. But for the last forty years the sisters have, through perhaps being taught poorly themselves, given scandal to the laity and have not taught what the Church teaches. The Church is gently calling them back, to reform.

Aug. 04 2012 04:27 PM
Mercury from Connecticut

I'm really stunned by the comments. I found the talk very uplifting. They are trying to help. I'm also really surprised w. the majority of men sounding so terribly impolite here, if it's any indication of the majority of men. Perhaps, ladies would prefer chasity than to be w. such a barbaric bunch.! It isn't a war of the sexes, nationality, or dogma, as she said we are all children of God. Stop looking a gift horse in the mouth. If any of these sisters are reading this please know that you are appreciated by many and we are grateful.

Aug. 04 2012 04:24 PM
Ed from Larchmont

To Tom - I'm interested in where in the Bible it says that life begins at birth and not conception. But for a Catholic the Church authoritatively intreprets the Bible and gives us doctrine, and they have taught against abortion from the beginning (see the Didache ca. 100 AD).

The money the Church needs, and you're right America provides a lot of it, is used for the charitable work the Vatican supports around the world - education, health care, etc. And they need money to do these things. The Vatican is focused on Europe and America to turn people back to God in societies that are turning away from God, but they rejoice in the clear work of the Holy Spirit in the Third World.

There is no 'American Catholic Church', there is only the 'Catholic Church in America'. To the extent that they separate themselves from Rome, they separate themselves from the life-giving vine. See England and Henry VIII's Church in England.

Aug. 04 2012 06:10 AM
Ed from Larchmont

There's a difference between nuns and sisters, nuns are cloistered.

Reform began years ago in the Church, has always been going on, didn't begin with Vatican II.

Vatican II suggested that sisters wear 'modified religious garb', but they discarded their habits.

Aug. 04 2012 06:04 AM
tom LI

To Ed from larchmont - actually if one reads the bible - it says life begins at birth, not conception. A too often overlooked detail by most - but the whole debate has been so over emotionalized and allegedly settled by Rome to not have any room for sensible voices to be heard.

Its time that the Vatican (BTW which has not been compassionate to its elderly Sisters in any honest and Xtian way) be challenged by the American RC Rome is mainly focused on its new Convert breeding grounds...namely the third world and lower ranked nations...America is only recognized as a means to raise funds, and in the realm of a power base for world politics. Its time for the American RC Church to wake up and get on the modernity bullet train and get off the Roman horse drawn cart.

Aug. 02 2012 04:32 PM
tom LI

To Leo from Queens...great Q. Why aren't these women running the RC Church in some higher executive manner...?

What we need is an American Schism...its time. Its clear the men in Rome are disengaged from the Real world of most peoples - let alone Americans. There is no Biblical requirement, nor any logic based need to keep them in charge of the American branch of Catholicism, none...

Its Schism time all you American Catholics...and do the right thing and put most, if not all women in charge. What ya got to lose? (Hint; nothing!)

Aug. 02 2012 04:23 PM
tom LI

To Opal/NYC - exactly how is the Sister letting her religious beliefs get in the way of the employer health care issues...? Its very easy to say that, as we can see from various GOP pundits, but no one ever examples it.

"Me thinks" you cant differentiate between ones spiritual beliefs, that guide ones actions in the world of HUMAN interactions, and ones political ideologies - which do nothing to deal with or counsel someone on the same, but are "market" devoted- which is where the GOP and its demographic have gotten all twisted up - IMO. On one hand they want to legislate morality in their narrow POV, but see nothing moral in providing access to affordable health care choices for 50 million people. If the market wont provide, the Public Sector has to...

BTW; I'm a hard core atheist and I found the good Sister hit on most of my social issue cylinders. I took no offense to her spiritual perspective - which was profoundly summed up when she used the term "Pro-life" and linked it to access to affordable health care. Whats more Pro-life than that..?

But please example your accusations...please.

Aug. 02 2012 04:17 PM
andy in new jersey

I wish the Democrats were as brave and as focussed as these Nuns: the real issue is the role of government.
Democrats are embarrassed to say that the role of government includes equalizing access to opportunities for advancement. Democrats should recognize red herrings and demand Republicans address the real issue.
For example: The government should ensure access to good education. Do not discuss school vouchers or charter schools: if education is underfunded, these options be underfunded.

Aug. 02 2012 12:49 PM
Opal S. from NYC

Comments from a secular person. What Ryan has to be taught is the saying from a wise man who wrote at the beginning of the current era:
If I am not for myself, who will be?
If I am only for myself, what am I?
If not now when?

I also believe that in the U.S., people have no right to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of society. Given the huge differences in our religions beliefs it's the only way a democracy can work. Thank heaven, we have a separation of church and state.

Sister Simone sounds like a sincere and caring human being but she still allows her beliefs to get in the way on the employers' health care issue.

Aug. 02 2012 12:46 PM
Ed from Larchmont

Sister didn't take a vow to be obedient to the Gospels, as laudable as that is. She took a vow to be obedient to the Church, the authoritative interpreter of the Gospels.

Aug. 02 2012 12:42 PM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

...US Catholic Bishops [ARE] in conflict with Rep. Ryan's budget...

[grammar check]

Aug. 02 2012 12:34 PM
Leo from queens

Jesus never talked about contraception.. The MEN who run the Catholic church just want women barefoot and pregnant and have caused the death of millions of human beings in Africa by violently being against the use of condoms. Jesus never talked about contraception, and if we are to believe that God made us in his image then we have to agree that God gave us a brain and reason so that we can use it so that we can reasonably bring to this World the children that we can humanely care for instead of condemning women to have as many children as physically possible. That would be animal behavior and against God's teachings.
Also, why aren't the wealthy MEN in the Vatican offering to pay the full cost (housing, food, health, education) for all children born to a family that can't afford them?

Aug. 02 2012 12:33 PM
John A

Schill = adversarial impostor.
My vote on the "Raymond Schiller" incident.
For Ryan to be pro that old 'tax cuts for the rich' issue is for him to not be conveying the mission of Catholicism, and therefore he gets resistance.
Raising taxes on the top (let's be honest, 35%+) protected earners is to restore the sanity that everybody wants.

Aug. 02 2012 12:29 PM
Ed from Larchmont

Some things aren't negotiable, the issues you are discussing aren't ones where discretion is possible.

Aug. 02 2012 12:29 PM
Leo from Queens

Why isn't Sister Simone or any of these nuns running the Catholic church? Why is it that these corrupt men running the Vatican and thus the "church" diminish and deny the World the value that half the human population can bring to make this a better place?
Why is it that they only value women for their labor in caring for children/men, their vagina and their uterus, but don't think they are morally and intellectually as capable as men?

Aug. 02 2012 12:28 PM
Ed from Larchmont

Not that complex.

Aug. 02 2012 12:27 PM

Neither Ryan nor any other politician who refuses to raise taxes on the wealthy genuinely cares about the deficit, and I'm sure liberals would be happy to fund all the abortions if conservatives will cover the costs of the Iraq War.

Aug. 02 2012 12:26 PM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

The US Catholic Bishops is in conflict with Rep. Ryan's budget, its formulation and his stance on the debt/deficit.

US bishops: Ryan budget fails to meet ‘basic moral test’

Aug. 02 2012 12:25 PM
Ed from Larchmont

But Catholics in good conscience can't supply it. That the insurance company pays for it isn't a solution - they just raise their prices and the Church pays.

Is it small details that have the whole Catholic Church suing the Administration?

Aug. 02 2012 12:24 PM
Amy from Manhattan

What is Sister Simone's (or the Leadership Conference's) position on whether any forms of contraception constitute abortion?

Aug. 02 2012 12:23 PM
Mike from (actually from) Brooklyn from Brooklyn

based on what she's said over the last 5 minutes, i'd vote for this woman over Obama in a heartbeat. just saying.

Aug. 02 2012 12:22 PM
Ed from Larchmont

As a Catholic you can't support contraception.

Aug. 02 2012 12:22 PM
Ed from Larchmont

There is no federal funding of abortion? No, but we all have to pay to support policies that provide abortion, against our consciences. It is a large expansion of abortion.

Aug. 02 2012 12:21 PM
Elle from Brooklyn

What a lot of hateful and reactionary comments. God bless these women, who are among the few voices left in the Church still speaking in the spirit of Christ's love for His people.

Aug. 02 2012 12:21 PM
Ed from Larchmont

And go against the Church. The Church advocates health care for everyone, but this bill does other unacceptable things.

Aug. 02 2012 12:20 PM
Ed from Larchmont

Congressman Ryan feels he is protecting the poor by trying to avoid the huge deficits that will eventually harm them, and everyone, drastically. Congressman Ryan is Catholic also.

Aug. 02 2012 12:16 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

to john of office

Let the women join the Marines and protect the men and children back at home! It's time for the amazons to protect the defenseless men and children back in the homefront!

Aug. 02 2012 12:13 PM
john from office

Rev. Raymond Schiller , wow how medieval. Sounds like your a prank.

Aug. 02 2012 12:12 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

All I want to know is, when to we finally get to see and celebrate the first radical liberal-feminist female POPE? When, I ask!?

Aug. 02 2012 12:09 PM
Rev. Raymond Schiller from Colorado Springs, CO

I am disgusted by the failure of these "nuns" to pay attention to what is important: saving people from the pains of Hell. If someone is on the road to Hell, the Saved should be willing to forego all attempts to improve these unfortunates' merely temporal lot, and in fact be willing to FLAY THEM ALIVE if it will improve the chances that they will avoid the eternal torment their Loving Father would deem appropriate if they don't get right with Him.

Aug. 02 2012 11:02 AM
john from office

Joining these orders is like joining the Marines. There is no room for internal conflict. If you dont want to follow the church, leave the order, makes sense no?.

The answer is that their claim to fame, the reason they get coverage is because they are in conflict with the church.

Aug. 02 2012 08:33 AM
Ed from Larchmont

This leadership group of women religious, started by the Vatican in the mid-1950s, since the middle 1960s has been in conflict with the Vatican and Church teaching. They have (Sister Keenan for example) provided cover for Catholic politicians to support non-Catholic and anti-Catholic legislation. They have confused people.

So far they have not made a move to come back to Church teaching. (They represent 80% of women religious, though not all the sisters in their orders agree with their ideas at all.) They want to dialogue more and string it out.

But either they reform (which would take a lot), or they lose their canonical status, or the Vatican waits them out since they are older and not getting any vocations, and the younger sisters are devout.

This is not to take away from the great work the sister's communities did earlier in the century, but they can't continue to give scandal. The Vatican has been all too patient.

Aug. 02 2012 06:08 AM
Ed from Larchmont

During the last six months the Church in the U.S. has run the Fortnight for Freedom to raise awareness about this government's attack on the Church's religious freedom.

There have been, across the country, prayer rallies, days of fasting, speeches, etc.

This got no coverage at all by the media (just like the January pro-life march).

But a handful of nuns get on a bus to protest Paul Ryan's budget, which is a dead letter in the Senate and will never be passed, and really so the sisters can stick their finger in the Vatican's eye, gets media coverage.

Aug. 02 2012 06:03 AM
Ed from Larchmont

The Vatican's criticism was mis-reported. Their criticism is that the sisters, while doing great work with the poor, need to do more. They need to have a community prayer life, to live according to the constitutions of their orders (as they promised), and to announce Church teachings and not scandalize and confuse the laity by opposing Church church teaching. The Vatican is gently (and very belatedly) calling them back to union with the Church.

Aug. 02 2012 06:00 AM

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