Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Time to stop laughing

If you're a former Catholic, or if you know many former Catholics, or if you've always been mystified by nuns, their dress, and their habits (get it? Habits?) you've probably had occasion to think of nuns as a joke. Well, it's time to stop. The old men who run the Catholic Church are the Navy SEALS of the Republican war on women, and the nuns are on the front lines.

Just look at recent history.

Two years ago the bishops excommunicated a nun and hospital administrator for approving an abortion to save the life of the mother.

Last month they basically declared martial law on the Leadership Conference for Women Religious, an organization  of more than 1500 members, who represent more than 80 percent of the 57,000 women religious in the United Stateson the grounds that it was not speaking out strongly enough against gay marriage, abortion and women's ordination  What did they do that was so bad? Well, for one thing they supported health care reform. Pretty shocking, huh?

And this week the Vatican . . . censured Sister Margaret A. Farley, who teaches at Yale Divinity School, over a 2006 book she wrote that the church said is out of step with official church teaching on human sexuality.

But you know what? The nuns are not backing down. After a series of meetings their statement says that the conference believes that the matters of faith and justice that capture the hearts of Catholic sisters are clearly shared by many people around the world. As the church and society face tumultuous times, the board believes it is imperative that these matters be addressed by the entire church community in an atmosphere of openness, honesty, and integrity.


These are strange concepts to the Catholic Church, but I know the nuns are up to the challenge of teaching the bishops a thing or two.

So as I say, the nuns are no laughing matter. Like all oppressed people standing up for their rights, they deserve our support and respect.

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