Dear Catholic Cardinals and Bishops: this is how you do it.
In response to the Vatican and the conservative Catholic Bishop leadership that has threatened to put the American nuns in receivership unless they start spending more time advocating against gay rights and abortion, a group of nuns will hit the road, stopping at homeless shelters, food pantries, schools and health care facilities all run by nuns to highlight their work with the nation’s most vulnerable. The bus tour will stop in nine states and is so far the most visible rebuke of the Catholic leadership by the nuns.
The tour, “Nuns on the Bus: Nuns Drive for Faith, Family and Fairness,” includes stops in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland.
The nuns will also use the tour to protest cuts in programs for the poor and working families passed by the House of Representatives and spearheaded by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). Ryan pitches his anti-safety net plan as something that is grounded in his faith as a Catholic.
The bus tour will begin on June 18th in Iowa and end on July 2 in Virginia and overlaps with the “Fortnight for Freedom” events planned by the Catholic bishops to rally opposition to the Obama administration’s health care reform law.
It’s worth noting that the bishops also objected to the Ryan plan, so the theological and ideological separation divide exists at who deserves ministry, and on this point the nuns have the upper hand, especially with practicing Catholics. The veracity of the anti-woman, anti-diversity campaign launched by the Catholic Bishops and enabled by the Pope reflect the vile final gasps for relevance by old men in a world that no longer has a place for the kind of power and influence these men peddle. Their complicity in the criminal cover-up and perpetration of decades of child sexual abuse ceded, permanently, any moral footing these men had. The nuns know this, and given the increasingly shrill rhetoric from the Bishops, I’d say they know it too.
Photo from By April Sikorski from Brooklyn, USA via Wikimedia Commons