I'd like to announce to everyone that some Catholic nuns are doing something quite remarkable in regard to a lot of issues we hold dear, and I would like very much if Kossacks across the country would come out in support of these women.
Essentially, the nuns have been severely reprimanded by the Vatican for spending too much time worrying about social justice and the poor and not enough opposing contraception and gay marriage. In fact, they helped lobby to pass Obama's health care bill--which is admittedly very flawed, but a lot better than what the Vatican wants in this case, which is denying the poor contraception. From the NY Times:
"The sisters were also reprimanded for making public statements that `disagree with or challenge the bishops, who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.'” During the debate over the health care overhaul in 2010, American bishops came out in opposition to the health plan, but dozens of sisters, many of whom belong to the Leadership Conference, signed a statement supporting it — support that provided crucial cover for the Obama administration in the battle over health care."
Apparently the bishops didn't like the sisters opposing their political plans and siding with Obama:
“I would imagine that it was our health care letter that made them mad,” Sister Campbell said. “We haven’t violated any teaching, we have just been raising questions and interpreting politics.”
Follow me below the orange squiggle to hear what the nuns did:
In response to getting smacked down by the Vatican, the sisters have organized a bus tour all over the country everywhere they work with the poor and marginalized.
Here is a link to the NY Times story about them: http://www.nytimes.com/...
"The bus tour is a response to a blistering critique of American nuns released in April by the Vatican’s doctrinal office, which included the accusation that the nuns are outspoken on issues of social justice, but silent on other issues the church considers crucial: abortion and gay marriage.
The sisters plan to use the tour also to protest cuts in programs for the poor and working families in the federal budget that was passed by the House of Representatives and proposed by Representative Paul D. Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who cited his Catholic faith to justify the cuts."
The nuns believe the Paul Ryan budget is cruel and contributes to the suffering of those already hurt. This is from their banner: "We insist on a Faithful Budget that affirms the life of all God's children--not just the wealthiest few."
It seems to me that these women are clearly fighting the same fight we are. For those of us in Occupy, the idea that the budget should be for the benefit of all, not just the 1%, seems to be central to them as to us. For those of us who are extremely loyal to Obama, these nuns broke from their own bishops to support the President's health care package, when the Church itself was opposing it. And for those of us who fight for women's health and marriage equality, these are allies who are really putting it on the line for the fight. To go against the Vatican when you are a nun is no joke.
I am not Catholic, nor even Christian. But it seems to me that it would be unworthy of our movement to turn our backs on people who are speaking out with such bravery against economic injustice and legislated cruelty. Just as it would be unworthy of our party to turn our backs on women who supported Obama and his legislation when doing so meant offending their own Church hierarchy.
Can we organize some events in support of these women? For those not in DC, you can find their bus tour schedule at this link: http://nunsonthebus.com/...
Kossacks in IL, WI, IA, OH, PA, IN, MI, MD and VA will find a busload of very gutsy populist nuns coming through their states.
It would be great if we could gather crowds to greet them at these locations with warm support, music, banners!
For those of us in DC, it's easy: On July 2nd the Sisters from Nuns on the Bus will be returning to DC. FAN (Franciscan Action Network) has agreed to organize a closing event for the bus tour. This event will be at Trinity College on Michigan Ave. from 7-9pm. They want to turn out 500-1000 people, and they have asked Occupy Faith DC and Occupy DC to help turn out large numbers in support of these women who are so bravely standing up for their convictions.
I would like everyone in the DC area to consider coming out to support these nuns. Whether out of gratitude for what they did for the President, or solidarity with their spirited defense of the 99%, we should let them know they're not alone. And, after all, the issues they're fighting for are issues of life and death. To fight poverty can be literally the same as fighting for people's lives.
“We’re doing this because these are life issues,” said Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a liberal social justice lobby in Washington.