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The Vatican’s War On Nuns is all about abortion (of course)

By Megan Carpentier
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 11:48 EDT
["Middle Aged Devout Nun And Priest In Deep Thoughts, Praying. Female Hands Crossed, Male With Bible In Hand" on Shutterstock]

The Vatican recently issued a strong condemnation of American nuns for what it deemed their “radical feminist” leanings, such as caring for the sick, dying, condemned and poor Americans despite dwindling numbers of American Catholics (it’s so bad they are running television ads, if you managed to miss it) and even more pronounced losses among the ranks of the nuns themselves. Though the nuns have hit back at the condemnation from the Vatican — especially since no one at the Vatican bothered to talk to them during the investigation — the Church initially said the condemnation was due to a 1977 statement that suggested the Church consider ordaining women as priests and nuns’ lack of vociferous condemnation of LGBT rights and its support for President Obama’s health care reform despite provisions related to contraception and abortion.

The nuns’ representatives will finally get a chance to meet with the men who saw fit to condemn them as insufficiently committed to Catholicism this week, though it’s not expected to directly address the all-male panel’s assertion that the largest organization of American nuns is “silent on the right to life from conception to natural death.” In other words, the Vatican’s biggest gripe — likely influenced by the local bishops — is that American nuns don’t spend enough time condemning abortion and do-not-resuscitate orders, which are clearly the most important issues in America today.

Mind you, the men behind the report are the same Church leaders who, in many cases, ignored or minimized the abuse of children and then sanctioned the sale of convents and nunneries from under the feet of (in many cases elderly) sisters to pay the legal settlements necessitated by their unwillingness to end the abuse of children in case it reflected poorly on the Church. But, hey, those ladies are insufficiently committed to ending abortion and eliminating birth control (though about 68 percent of sexually active Catholic women use medical contraception and another 4 percent use the Catholic-condemned withdrawal method) in between ministering to the poor and stuff, so I guess it doesn’t matter if they are allowed to live out their days in the manner of their choosing. The bishops have bills to pay.

At a time when the U.S. Catholic Church is spending millions of (mostly) parishioner dollars on a television ad campaign to convinced lapsed Catholics (like this author, who left and asked her name to be removed from the rolls in 1994) to “come home” to the Church, dumping on a bunch of nuns who don’t say “How high?” loud enough when the bishops yell, “Jump!” seems like, at best, a bad PR move. At worst, it looks like yet another effort to turn back time, silence potential critics who, in many cases simply by their example, make the bishops look venal and overtly political and bring women — even those whose vocations are consecrated by the Church — under the thumb of male leadership.

["Middle Aged Devout Nun And Priest In Deep Thoughts, Praying. Female Hands Crossed, Male With Bible In Hand" on Shutterstock]

Using SAT-words doesn’t make you an effective communicator, Beltway-edition

By Megan Carpentier
Tuesday, May 22, 2012 13:05 EDT

A new Sunlight Foundation tool, Capitol Words — which uses the Congressional Record to monitor the words and phrases with which Congress uses in its public business — is getting attention after Jimmy Fallon’s monologue last night and an article in The Daily purports to show that Republicans have less worldly vocabularies than Democrats. One problem: the man at the bottom of the scale is a UNC-educated lawyer. What only Sunlight Foundation author Lee Drutman…


‘Compassionate’ conservatism: When it’s more important to jail innocents than let one guilty person go

By Megan Carpentier
Monday, May 21, 2012 16:26 EDT

In a long-ago high school civics class, I was told that our legal system is predicated on the idea that it is so important to prevent harm to one innocent person that we would rather see some of the guilty go free than punish those who have done no wrong.…


The myth of ‘liberal’ New York City

By Megan Carpentier
Monday, May 14, 2012 14:24 EDT

New York City is often name-checked by conservatives, along with San Francisco, as one of the country’s most godlessly liberal cities from which everything that should be opposed by conservatives hails. But at the end of the day for many of the city’s residents, the über-liberal New York City is…


The trouble with Barack Obama’s endorsement of ‘monogamous’ same sex marriage

By Kay Steiger
Thursday, May 10, 2012 10:06 EDT

Along with President Barack Obama’s “evolution” on same sex marriage, the institution itself has been evolving. Indeed, throughout history, as marriage historian Stephanie Coontz has pointed out, marriage has been an exceptionally adaptable institution. Even as religious conservatives kept voting for same-sex marriage bans — a full 32 times, in…


Obama declares himself ‘evolved’ on marriage equality

By Megan Carpentier
Wednesday, May 9, 2012 15:12 EDT

In an interview with ABC News today, following a lot of back-and-forth about the nature of his position on marriage equality, President Obama announced that he had finally come to the conclusion that civil unions are not enough to guarantee that “gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and…


Profiles in courage: Obama’s ‘evolving’ position on marriage equality

Ever since Vice President Joe Biden let the proverbial cat out of the proverbial bag and admitted he thinks Americans should have equal rights regardless of the person they wish to marry, the White House has been batting clean-up: on the one hand, trying to preserve that mythical voter bloc…


Aggregation, the Golden Rule and the Wild West of web journalism

By Megan Carpentier
Monday, May 7, 2012 16:13 EDT

Thanks to the good folks at New Hampshire Public Radio’s “Word of Mouth,” you can hear me talk more about the cases that inspired my earlier piece “Unsolicited advice to young writers: The internet remembers”. Have a listen as host Brady Carlson and I talk about the Washington Post case,…


Rapists rape because they like raping (The Dominique Strauss Kahn example)

By Megan Carpentier
Friday, May 4, 2012 14:30 EDT

If you have been keeping track, today marks the third time in just over a year that former International Monetary Fund president Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been legally accused of rape — which does not include claims in a French book that he previous raped a maid in a Mexican hotel…


Chad Michaels on bullying: ‘Live your life fabulously’

By Megan Carpentier
Wednesday, May 2, 2012 10:46 EDT

Over the course of the fourth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” nearly every contestant talked about being bullied in their childhoods — especially the winner, Sharon Needles, who said that her “spooky” drag persona was a response to the bullying and who dedicated her win to “anyone who ever got…