Nuns on the Bus - sounds like the name of a bad movie. Instead, it's the name of a group of Roman Catholic nuns that embarked on a nine-state bus tour on Monday to protest proposed federal budget cuts.
The tour, organized by Network, a Washington-based Catholic social justice group, started in Des Moines and headed first to Ames to U.S. Rep. Steve King's office.
Catholic nuns have been in the headlines recently, as a Vatican report has indicated that some America organizations of nuns have "focused too much on economic injustice while failing to promote the church's teachings on abortion and same-sex marriage." According to an AP report, the Vatican has asked for a reorganization of a group called the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
The Vatican conducted an investigation on the conference and concluded that "it "had undermined Roman Catholic teaching with radical feminist themes and taken positions that undermined Catholic teaching on all-male priesthood, marriage and homosexuality."
As a Catholic, I grew up fascinated by the work of these women. The nuns that I knew could only be described as pure - living a life of simplicity while working for the wellbeing of others. There were definite instances in my childhood when I thought about joining their ranks, to work among the impoverished and help build a better world.
I disagree with the Vatican's stance on American nun organizations. These women have taken a vow of poverty, to imitate Jesus and serve others.
Sister Simone Campbell, Network's executive director, recently went on The Colbert Report and spoke with host Stephen Colbert, a practicing Catholic.
He satirically commented that nuns were "radical feminists" and that she and her group had "clearly gone rogue."
"That's right. Nuns are radical feminists, I'm not surprised," Colbert said. "Think about it: All women living together, without men, wearing baggy clothes and burning incense. You throw in Sarah McLachlan and you've got Lilith Fair."
In reply, Campbell said, "We're faithful to the Gospel. We work every day to live as Jesus did in relationship with people at the margins of our society. That's all we do."
Nuns have been harshly criticized as "socially active." I'm sorry, but I didn't realize that had become a dirty liberal term. Instead, I believe that these nuns are doing what they were called to do by God; not to go out on the streets to just promote church doctrine. These women are, again, imitating Jesus - in a nonjudgmental fashion to serve all of God's creatures.
I do not believe that living a life closely aligned with the one that Jesus lived is the same as being a "radical feminist."
Rather than throw around dangerous labels, why can't we see what true Christians these people are?
The women being scolded are courageous, beautiful people who should be commended for the good works that they perform.
One of the people I have admired most in this world is Mother Teresa. Members of her order had to follow vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, and to give wholehearted and free service to the poorest of the poor. These organizations of American nuns are not out to promote a liberal agenda. To flout the Catholic religion. They show the world the unconditional love of Jesus Christ and live the Gospel fully.
And so I ask: What is so wrong with that?