U.S. Nuns Face Vatican Rebuke
The Vatican has reprimanded the largest group of Catholic nuns in the United States, saying they have focused too heavily on issues of social justice, while failing to speak out enough on "issues of crucial importance," such as abortion and same-sex marriage. In a report issued last week, church leaders accused the nuns of promoting "radical feminist" ideas and challenging key teachings on homosexuality and male-only priesthood. An archbishop and two bishops — all of them male — have been appointed to oversee the nuns. "To me, it’s quite puzzling that our work with the poor, which Jesus told us to do in the gospels, would be the source of such a criticism," says Sister Simone Campbell, head of the Catholic social justice group NETWORK, which was harshly criticized in last week’s report. The rebuke comes as the so-called "war on women" has become a key issue in the 2012 presidential race. Some Catholic nuns have opposed the bishops by supporting Obama’s healthcare reform law and contraceptive mandate. Campbell says she believes the Vatican targeted her group because of their support for healthcare reform. "They like it when we just do service, but don’t have thoughts, don’t have questions, don’t have criticism," Campbell says. "That is a real challenge in a political society, when we have to do a deep, nuanced analysis in order to know the way forward for this, for the common good."