Kudos to Sister Carol and the NCR

January 3, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Last week, the National Catholic Reporter, the progressive US Catholic new source, named Sister Carol Keehan “person of the year” for 2010. Sister Carol, you may recall, is the head of the Catholic Health Association in the United States. By leading her organization to endorse the legislation, she and a number of other Catholic sisters involved with Network, the Catholic social justice lobby are widely credited with turning the tide in the battle for health care reform last year by calming fears that the proposed legislation would increase the number of abortions in the US. Many believe that Bart Stupak and other pro-life congresspeople changed their vote because of the sisters’ assurances.

I want to join the NCR in congratulating Sister Carol and the other Catholic sisters who took these brave actions. At any time, it’s risky for sisters in canonical congregations to take positions that seem to disagree with the bishops or the Vatican. In the middle of a Vatican investigation of US women’s congregations, as we in the US are just now, it could border on suicidal. But the sisters decided, as they have so many times in the past, that the needs of the poor–in this case, the millions in the US without health insurance–outweighed more pragmatic considerations. Throughout my entire life, women like Sister Carole have been my heroes.

The US bishops, of course, have not been enthusiastic about the sisters daring to speak for the church, if, in fact, that’s what they were doing. Throughout history bishops and popes have come down hard on women who dare to trespass on their authority. On Religion Dispatches today, Eugene McMullan weighs in on the current episode. Why don’t you check it out?


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