Growing up as a Catholic kid in the 60's and 70's, like many, I thought that nuns who wore plain clothes were cool. They would likely tell you back then that they thought they could better assimilate into society to carry on their work by wearing every day garb. Now that we know in hindsight that the 60's and 70's brought us pedophile priests due to dissident and failing seminaries, I can't help but wonder now if those cool nuns were trying to escape more than blend in.
I get the same kind of feeling when I see the (14) nuns of an organization called "NETWORK," led by a Sister Simone Campbell, who is also an attorney.
NETWORK was highlighted in my local rag in a column entitled, "Nuns Go On Road To Warn About Republican Budget" by Connie Schultz, an "essayist" for Parade Magazine, and the wife of Democrat US Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
While not endorsing any specific candidate (wink, wink...), NETWORK is rallying its minions on a bus tour to oppose the Republican budget proposal. The organization cites the usual left wing bemoaning about not taxing the rich enough (who pay the highest percentage of taxes nationwide and provide jobs, housing and opportunities), while decrying tax hikes (for exorbitant liberal spending and waste), supposedly creating more poverty and reducing the number of recipients of health care insurance and food stamps. Sister Campbell may wish to consult with her attorney (herself) as to where exactly in the US Constitution functions of government such as food stamps and health insurance are listed. I can help her out on that one: no where. They fall under the Tenth Amendment, which is to say that if they should be subsidized by government at all, only on the state level.
Schultz aptly describes NETWORK as a lobbying group that advocates for economic and social justice, code for socialist and communist ideals. As I have grown in the Church I have seen it take a dangerously sharp left turn overall, and the Pope recently chided the largest national organization of Catholic nuns, The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, with advocating heretical social issues such as abortion, contraception, female ordination and so-called "gay rights." Why the specific nuns in question have not been excommunicated still befuddles me.
NETWORK, while a much smaller organization, seems like the fallen apple that landed not far from the tree in the Garden of Eden. Schultz cited approval for the group from the unabashedly left wing newspaper, The National Catholic Reporter, the TV satire, "The Colbert Report," and a 'former' nun, who obviously permanently "kicked the habit," despite that whole "vow" thing. The associations alone begin to paint the picture.
Since LBJ's alleged "Great Society," charity hospitals and many private care organizations have withered on the vine and died. Once in charge of a "Social Justice" ministry myself within a very affluent parish, I was chided by the pastor and the parish council for spending too much time trying to help poor and needy families within the parish who they thought should have been referred to the town or state for assistance while they all sat on their wealthy hands and did nothing to help themselves. Apparently, the chest-thumping Pharisees had been resurrected!
Sister Campbell's accounting seems as askew as her grasp of constitutional law. This country is now $15 trillion in the hole and still digging. Quoting economist Walter Williams just the other day while filling in for Rush Limbaugh on his radio show, if we taxed each individual earning over $250,000 by 100% beginning tomorrow, it would only sustain our debt for 141 days. Yet these same myopic, if not hypocritical Catholics who are too busy protesting the government rather than digging into their own pockets, and who continually support the Democrat left wing agenda don't want to account for all the excessive and unconstitutional spending and waste that put us into this mess in the first place. Our forefathers wanted a limited central government because they knew from history that the growing public dole eventually consumes its many dippers. We only need look across the Atlantic Ocean right now to see how well the socialist model has worked and what it has now wrought, and the US is not far behind. But NETWORK, et al.. would rather castigate the problem solvers who now are forced to make tough decisions to prevent us from literally collapsing as a nation crumbling under astronomical debt created in large part by their heroes.
Adding further salt into the wound, Campbell, while not endorsing any political candidate (wink, wink again) referred to Congressional members John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Mitch McConnell as "God's mistakes." If Miss Campbell (calling her "Sister" is becoming more of a struggle) had any shame, she would feel ashamed. Any good Catholic, and especially a Catholic clergy member should be ashamed for making that gratuitously mean and sinful statement. Yes, I said, "sinful." Campbell scored a "two-for"; blaspheme and detraction, which both fall under Commandment's 2 (speaking ill of God's name), and 5 (the "killing" of a person's character/reputation.) Hopefully, "Sister" Campbell will be in Confession soon. Or have you nuns thrown the Sacrament of Reconciliation over board too? By the way, Sister, if not, don't be afraid to talk to the guy inside the Reconciliation Room. That funny looking collar just means he's a priest, and he belongs there.
Overall, I see a disturbing two fold problem in the Church. One is that of moral relativism. The Catholic Catechism teaches that before one listens to his or her conscience, his or her conscience must be well formed, and too often it is not, and too often, Catholic priests, wanting to keep happy butts in the pews and more bucks in the basket, tell their sheep to "just follow their conscience," lest not to have to dole out tough advice and risk not being liked. The result: picture a pasture of sheep with no fence and no shepherd. Many priests won't even discuss thorny social political issues in their sermons any more. Their sermons are watered down not to offend, peppered with jokes to entertain, and nothing much tends to be taught or learned from this meatless, feel-good, happy-go-lucky drivel and useless pabulum.
Moral relativism is a false and evil "god" that preaches to do whatever you feel is right. But what if I feel it is right to break into your home and clean out all your valuables? Moral relativism is an evil spreading like rapid fire, and like fire, consuming all in its wake. Picture a football game with no lines and the moveable goal posts every time the opposing team gets closer to them. We have become so obsessive with "not judging" (By the way, we are supposed to judge acts, not people, so that's hogwash!), that we have forgotten how to "admonish the sinner", a "Spiritual Act Of Mercy" in Church teaching. Archbishop Fulton Sheen once sagely noted that absolute truth (and yes, Virginia, unlike Santa Claus, there is such a thing) is still the absolute truth despite how many or how few people believe it. The moral relativists will also tell you that "The church needs to get with the times," which is to say, to lower its standards to that of our depraved and ever deteriorating society, and sadly, in many ways, it is. But assimilating into society is not the Church's role, but rather to raise the bar for us to reach up to it. Jesus taught us to be in this world while not part of it and to be the salt that seasons it. He never said to assimilate, be it by clothing, or behavior. Much to the contrary, He warned us that He was sending us out as "sheep among wolves." He never said to play "Tick of Treat" with a wolf costume on!
Secondly, I so often see both Church clergy and laity support liberal ideology and either directly or indirectly, the Democrat Party and its candidates. The Democrats favor abortion. What issue trumps the wanton slaughter of the innocent and defenseless in the safest place they should be, in their mother's womb? All other issues are secondary to that issue and no Catholic can rightly say that he or she is a Catholic who supports abortion. Abortion by definition is the very antithesis (and anti-Christ) of Catholic teaching. Yet I so often see the Church rally after the fact against issues brought about by the very people it supported for office in the first place. The Church should endorse the Republican Party as a major party and stop doing so if the GOP ever accepts a pro-abortion platform. Meanwhile, the clueless do-gooders in the Church need to wake up and do their homework because more often than not, they are a very large part of the problems they later try to ironically solve. While in the Illinois State Senate, Barack Obama heavily opposed the "Infants Born Alive Protection Act" that was written to save babies still alive, despite a failed abortion attempt. Is it really any mystery now that this is the same guy who endangers religious liberty by mandatory federal contraception legislation? Does anyone really think that once government gets its foot in the door and on the throat of our religious liberty that it will not push further? There is a tragic and increasing trend that despite all the good charitable work the Church does, it is now more consumed with advocating government to do more rather than its laity. Here's a thought: let the Constitution govern the citizens and the Bible, the Catechism and canon Law govern Catholics. And Sister Campbell and her 13 inconspicuous avengers could better serve the poor by helping them themselves rather than trying to get the government to fulfill their vocational duties for them. Heads up, Sister, when the country's economy bottoms out, we'll all be poor! Would you really rather see that happen? And who will you complain about then?
Many people today are leaving the Church because of the sex abuse scandals. And many of them also have a bad taste in their mouth when they hear heresy preached from dissident, if not weak and lazy clergy members. But rather than focus on what is going on the front lines, Catholics need to wake up and see the bigger picture that looms in the background. In battle, a key objective is to take out as many of the command structure as possible. Satan is a master battlefield tactician and our "battle" here on earth has real consequences. When you die, you go to Heaven or Hell, and that's it. And eternity is an awful long time to regret mistakes. Satan knows what he is doing, and that is why he is attacking our high ranking Catholic officials. It's not rocket science: take out the shepherd, and scatter the sheep.
Lastly, not only do Church leaders need to invest more time in doing their homework if they are going to dabble in politics, but they need to stop worrying about constraining themselves with concerns over their tax exempt status. No one ever questions Democrats for speaking in predominantly black Evangelical and Protestant churches in the south, and conversely, those churches don't seem to worry much about their tax exempt status. The Catholic Church should pay taxes. The taxes will set it free! Then it can fully preach the Good News without constraint and without fretting over the tax code.
Right after it reacquaints itself with the Constitution and The Catechism.
Much like a conscience, a preacher must first be well formed, and informed. It would also be nice if he (or she) wasn't ashamed to wear his (or her) uniform while on the battlefield doing God's good work to save souls.
Unless of course, he or she is a spy for well, you know...."the other side."