Radical Feminist Nun on Colbert Report


Written by Lauren Barbato

Catholic clergy have been pretty tough on American nuns lately, accusing them of “radical feminism.” As Ms. reports, the Vatican has issued a doctrinal assessment criticizing the nuns for aiding the poor and needy instead of spreading anti-abortion and anti-gay doctrine.

But the sisters have just met their harshest critic: Stephen Colbert (or at least, his ultra-right-wing comedic persona). Sister Simone Campbell stopped by The Colbert Report Monday night to explain why radical feminism might not be such a bad thing.

Sister Campbell serves as the executive director of NETWORK, a progressive social justice institute made up of Catholic nuns and lay people that was specifically targeted in the Vatican report for spending too little time fighting, in Colbert’s words, “the gay agenda.” NETWORK members, along with other nuns, will be setting off on a bus tour June 18 to call for support of Obama’s Affordable Care Act and its no co-pay contraception mandate. The tour will, in a very “radical feminist” way, counter the bishops’ upcoming Fortnight for Freedom—a 14-day period of prayer to challenge the contraception requirement.

Colbert and the Vatican might think that Campbell and her fellow religious sisters have “gone rogue,” but according to Campbell: “We’re certainly oriented toward the needs of women and responding to their needs. If that’s radical, I guess we are.”

Campbell proceeded to school Colbert on the surest ways to enter the kingdom of heaven (hint: not by amassing wealth).

Meanwhile, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious–which represents 80 percent of American nuns–meets with the Vatican on Tuesday to address the Vatican’s concerns about American nuns and their work. While preferring to ultimately reconcile with the Church hierarchy, the LCWR has made it clear that it is determined to fight these “unsubstantiated accusations.” As John Allen, Vatican specialist, reported, “Neither side is prepared to budge.”

This post was originally published by Ms. Magazine.


Related Stories:

Nuns Plan Poverty Tour In Response To Vatican Pressure

American Nuns Push Back Against Rome

Pope: Women Will Never Become Priests


Photo: screenshot from the above video

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Terry Vanderbush
Terry V.3 years ago


Laurie A.
Laurie A.3 years ago

The liberal nuns rock the church - finally, a counterbalance. Thank you, nuns!

J.C. H.
Jc Honeycutt3 years ago

Can we get a schedule of the stops on the tour, so that those of us who live reasonably near those locations can turn out to support these courageous nuns?

Marianna B Molnar


Bob Abell
Dr. Bob Abell3 years ago

Would have loved to watch this, but the "hula" media will not stream in Canada. :-(. To bad it is not in a more universal format.

In any event, it is good to know that someone in the Catholic Church hierarchy actually understood the gospel of Jesus. Go nuns ....!

Oreo M.
Oreo M.3 years ago

Go sisters!

RobynRobyn Brice
Robyn Brice3 years ago

Brilliant, I have so much respect for Sister Campbell.

Alan G.
Alan G.3 years ago

Maybe the Vatican should be more concerned with Jesus' words in Luke 18:22: “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Rachel Verde
Rachel Verde3 years ago

She was awesome! We need more nuns like her. And we need a Pope that doesn't hate women or LGBT people (even though that's really unlikely).

Gloria H.
Gloria H.3 years ago

wow! We need to get rid of all candidates and make her president!!!! She has the tea party spirit (without it's warped views), the Holy Spirit (whatever that is...I'm not Catholic) and plain ol' Honest Abe spunk! Rush calls her feminazi, but she is feminunzi as in "none" of the Pope's stone age misogyny bs!
I truly believe the catholic church will need to undergo some major, radical changes if it wants to keep the Pope mobile rolling. The Pope is probably thanking his lucky stars he was born with a penis, which was the key to becoming where he is today. Has anyone peeked under his dress lately?