Feminist nun: Pope’s reprimand was blessing in disguise for U.S. nuns

By David Ferguson
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 11:18 EDT
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Sister Simone Campbell speaking at the Democratic convention
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Monday night on Current TV’s “Viewpoint,” host John Fugelsang welcomed Sister Simone Campbell, one of the “nuns on the bus,” who has spoken out on a number of issues, from women’s health to the perils of austerity budgets, often placing her at odds with Papal and Catholic Church doctrine. Outgoing Pope Benedict XVI reprimanded the nuns in the summer of 2012, accusing them of going rogue and promoting an agenda that includes “radical feminism.”

Fugelsang began the discussion by saying that Benedict wasn’t wrong about everything, that he was a fairly modern thinker with regards to climate change, to the death penalty and poverty. He was consistently against the Iraq War.

Campbell replied that in his third encyclical letter, “Charity in Truth,” the pontiff “called on all Catholics, particularly in the first world, to promote economic justice.”

“In our nation,” she said, “that’s a message that really needs to be heard.”

Fugelsang mentioned the Vatican reprimand, in which the Pope and other Catholic authorities deemed that U.S. nuns were focusing too heavily on social justice and not enough on stopping abortions, preventing euthanasia and opposing same sex marriage.

Campbell replied that it was “very painful” to be told from on high that “because we work with those on the economic margins, which is exactly what our mission is, that we were seen as suspect.”

However, she said, Benedict’s displeasure with the U.S. nuns brought the group worldwide attention and, according to her, inspired the nuns to work that much harder.

“From my perspective, as a person of faith, the Holy Spirit is alive and well because it was that very reprimand that then exploded our mission into the media [and] allowed people to know about our work in a whole new way,” she said.

Watch the video, embedded below via Current TV:

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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