Catholic nuns on bus tour to protest GOP budget cuts

American Catholic bishops don’t like Republican budget cuts either, but they especially don’t like nuns speaking out on such matters (or at least their superiors in the Vatican don’t).

Well, too bad for them. THESE NUNS are following their consciences, not the dictates of the bishops:

A group of Roman Catholic nuns kicked off a nine-state bus tour across the Midwest this morning in an effort to highlight the cuts to safety net programs contained in the House Republican budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), himself an outspoken Catholic. The bus tour began this morning in Iowa and includes a Tuesday stop in Ryan’s Wisconsin district.

Along the tour, the nuns will stop at food pantries, shelters, schools, and hospitals to highlight the impact of the cuts. They will also visit the offices of ten Republicans who voted for the budget, including Ryan and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), another outspoken Catholic. The purpose is to draw attention the work the nuns have done on behalf of poor Americans and the devastating impact the Republican cuts would have on those who rely on safety net programs…


The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) called the cuts “unjustified and wrong” and sent letters to Congressional committees urging them to oppose the draconian measures.

The nuns’ bus tour is taking the issue a step farther, though, mere weeks after the Vatican called on American nuns to stop highlighting economic justice issues in order to focus more on other church priorities, including abortion, gay marriage, and contraception. And though the House GOP budget directly contradicts much of Catholic social teaching, the USCCB has remained far more outspoken on what it perceives as affronts to “religious liberty” than they have on the spending cuts.

The nuns have asked some of the Bishops to join the tour but have thus far not received a response.



  1. expdoc

    Speaking of Catholic groups and politics: This large group has now withdrawn it’s previous support of the Obama administrations mandate on provision of contraception services for their employees.


    The hospital group’s decision calls into question a compromise offered by the president himself only months ago, under which the cost of providing birth control would be covered by insurance companies and not religious employers. While churches and other places of worship are exempt from the birth control mandate, nonprofits affiliated with a religion, such as hospitals, are not.

    In a letter to the federal Health and Human Services department, the hospital group said the compromise initially seemed to be “a good first step” but that examination of the details proved disappointing. The plan would be “unduly cumbersome” to carry out and “unlikely to adequately meet the religious liberty concerns” of all its members, the group said.

    While some liberal-leaning religious groups see no problem with the birth control rule, Roman Catholic bishops and conservative-leaning groups are treating it as an affront and calling it an attack on religious freedom. Institutions ranging from the University of Notre Dame to Catholic Charities in several states to the Archdiocese of Washington have sued to block the rule.

    With the Catholic Health Association now voicing concerns, opponents gained a powerful endorsement. There was no immediate reaction from the Obama administration.

    The association represents about 600 hospitals and hundreds of nursing homes and other health-related organizations, totaling 2,000 members around the country. One of every six patients is cared for in a Catholic hospital.

  2. doc: The Catholic Health Association has caved to pressure from the Vatican, plain and simple.

  3. expdoc

    And? So that means what? The Pope is a bad man? The Vatican is simply a front organization for world dominance?

    They should “cave” to pressure from the Vatican.

    Either that or give up the name Catholic.

  4. doc: You seem to think that the pope and the Vatican are never wrong, which history shows to be untrue.

    You also seem to be ignorant of the Catechism, which specifically instructs Catholics to follow their consciences.

    Don’t mess with me on church history, pal. I’m no canon scholar, to be sure, but I’m guessing that I know a lot more about that stuff than you do.

  5. Truth About Energy

    If I am not mistaken, these nuns (or many of them) aren’t in good standing.

    Too bad for Barry, his positions actually hurt him – politically. Because his positions hurt him, he is the one that is wrong. It was all about raising money, which Romney has now overtaken the lead. The Vatican took a position that was more consistent with the actual, original First Amendment than our own government.

  6. expdoc

    I am hardly ignorant. Besides, if your logic holds, then what makes you think the CHA caved to Vatican pressure?

    From the Catholic catechism:


    1790 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.

    1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man “takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.”59 In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.

    1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

  7. doc: There are tens of millions of Catholics who think the “erroneous judgment” is on the part of the pope and the Vatican with respect to contraception and certain other matters.

  8. expdoc

    They might think that, but they would be wrong.


    The pope
    Explanation of papal infallibility
    The Vatican Council has defined as “a divinely revealed dogma” that “the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra — that is, when in the exercise of his office as pastor and teacher of all Christians he defines, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the whole Church — is, by reason of the Divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer wished His Church to be endowed in defining doctrines of faith and morals; and consequently that such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are irreformable of their own nature (ex sese) and not by reason of the Church’s consent” (Densinger no. 1839 — old no. 1680). For the correct understanding of this definition it is to be noted that:

    •what is claimed for the pope is infallibility merely, not impeccability or inspiration (see above under I).
    •the infallibility claimed for the pope is the same in its nature, scope, and extent as that which the Church as a whole possesses; his ex cathedra teaching does not have to be ratified by the Church’s in order to be infallible.
    •infallibility is not attributed to every doctrinal act of the pope, but only to his ex cathedra teaching; and the conditions required for ex cathedra teaching are mentioned in the Vatican decree:
    ◦The pontiff must teach in his public and official capacity as pastor and doctor of all Christians, not merely in his private capacity as a theologian, preacher or allocutionist, nor in his capacity as a temporal prince or as a mere ordinary of the Diocese of Rome. It must be clear that he speaks as spiritual head of the Church universal.
    ◦Then it is only when, in this capacity, he teaches some doctrine of faith or morals that he is infallible (see below, IV).
    ◦Further it must be sufficiently evident that he intends to teach with all the fullness and finality of his supreme Apostolic authority, in other words that he wishes to determine some point of doctrine in an absolutely final and irrevocable way, or to define it in the technical sense (see DEFINITION). These are well-recognized formulas by means of which the defining intention may be manifested.
    ◦Finally for an ex cathedra decision it must be clear that the pope intends to bind the whole Church. To demand internal assent from all the faithful to his teaching under pain of incurring spiritual shipwreck (naufragium fidei) according to the expression used by Pius IX in defining the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. Theoretically, this intention might be made sufficiently clear in a papal decision which is addressed only to a particular Church; but in present day conditions, when it is so easy to communicate with the most distant parts of the earth and to secure a literally universal promulgation of papal acts, the presumption is that unless the pope formally addresses the whole Church in the recognized official way, he does not intend his doctrinal teaching to be held by all the faithful as ex cathedra and infallible.
    It should be observed in conclusion that papal infallibility is a personal and incommunicable charisma, which is not shared by any pontifical tribunal. It was promised directly to Peter, and to each of Peter’s successors in the primacy, but not as a prerogative the exercise of which could be delegated to others. Hence doctrinal decisions or instructions issued by the Roman congregations, even when approved by the pope in the ordinary way, have no claim to be considered infallible. To be infallible they must be issued by the pope himself in his own name according to the conditions already mentioned as requisite for ex cathedra teaching.


    What teaching is infallible?
    A word or two under this head, summarizing what has been already explained in this and in other articles will suffice.

    As regards matter, only doctrines of faith and morals, and facts so intimately connected with these as to require infallible determination, fall under the scope of infallible ecclesiastical teaching. These doctrines or facts need not necessarily be revealed; it is enough if the revealed deposit cannot be adequately and effectively guarded and explained, unless they are infallibly determined.

    As to the organ of authority by which such doctrines or facts are determined, three possible organs exist. One of these, the magisterium ordinarium, is liable to be somewhat indefinite in its pronouncements and, as a consequence, practically ineffective as an organ. The other two, however, are adequately efficient organs, and when they definitively decide any question of faith or morals that may arise, no believer who pays due attention to Christ’s promises can consistently refuse to assent with absolute and irrevocable certainty to their teaching.

  9. doc: If I haven’t already, I strongly recommend that you read “Papal Sin: Structures of Deceit” by Garry Wills, who has variously been characterized as “one of this country’s leading public intellectuals and American Catholicism’s most formidable lay scholar,” “a Roman Catholic scholar of awesome erudition,” and “one of the most respected writers on religion today.”

    Every Catholic I know who has read that book has found it a real eye-opener.

    This past February, Wills wrote a column that included this passage regarding the controversy concerning ObamaCare and contraception:

    Pusillanimous Catholics — Mark Shields and even, to a degree, the admirable E. J. Dionne — are saying that Catholics understandably resent an attack on “their” doctrine (even though they do not personally believe in it). Omnidirectional bad-faith arguments have clustered around what is falsely presented as a defense of “faith.” The layers of ignorance are equaled only by the willingness of people “of all faiths” to use them for their own purposes…

    The bishops’ opposition to contraception is not an argument for a “conscience exemption.” It is a way of imposing Catholic requirements on non-Catholics. This is religious dictatorship, not religious freedom.

    Contraception is not even a religious matter. Nowhere in Scripture or the Creed is it forbidden. Catholic authorities themselves say it is a matter of “natural law,” over which natural reason is the arbiter—and natural reason, even for Catholics, has long rejected the idea that contraception is evil…[W]hat matters here is that contraception is legal, ordinary, and accepted even by most Catholics. To say that others must accept what Catholics themselves do not is bad enough. To say that President Obama is “trying to destroy the Catholic Church” if he does not accept it is much, much worse.

  10. expdoc

    “The bishops’ opposition to contraception is not an argument for a “conscience exemption.” It is a way of imposing Catholic requirements on non-Catholics. This is religious dictatorship, not religious freedom.”

    Contraception is cheap and readily available.

    THE Catholic Church does not permit contraception, despite what many of it’s members (including me by the way) might do or believe. THE Catholic Church runs the organizations, such as the CHA and its members, that will be impacted by the Obama administrations ruling.

    He is in fact trying to impose his will on the Church which is scary and wrong.

  11. Dan F.

    “Contraception is not even a religious matter. Nowhere in Scripture or the Creed is it forbidden. ”

    In your own strange imagination, perhaps, but the Catholic Church could come up with some hard-edged arguments on why Catholics regard birth control as sinful. I can think of one right off the top of my head (“be fruitful and multiply”). Besides, the Scripture and the Creed do not forbid many things, such as the electronic storage of child pornography, but that doesn’t mean those things are free of all moral content.

    Thought I’d pop in again but this blog is still a den of sophistries. However, I enjoyed immensely the comments from readers.

    Anyway, I thought we were talking about nuns. If you’re going to hold up these nuns as a fountainhead of truth and wisdom, Pat, ask them what they think about abortion.

  12. Nice to see these nuns out and about with their rulers whacking boy wonder.

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