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Sr. Simone Campbell on Bishops, Romney, Ryan

The most recent issue (Nov. 22) of Rolling Stone has a great story on the nuns' bus tour this summer and their recent struggles with the Vatican ("The Sisters Crusade"). I don't think it has been posted online yet, but here's Sr. Simone Campbell (executive director of Network) on the bishops:

"You've got to realize that any crowd that took 350 years to figure out Galileo might be right is not noted for rapid change," she says. "The sadness is that the bishops are coming at it from the perspective of rules, and spiritual leadership is soooo much deeper than that. We work too much with the poor? We don't pick up their particular pet political issues? Give me a break! This is about a cultural clash between monarchy, in which the monarch is always right, and democracy, where everybody has equal dignity, responsibility and opportunity -- women and men. The whole idea that we live in a pluralistic society is news to these guys."

And on the similarity between the bishops and Romney/Ryan:

For Campbell, there's not much difference between the bishops, most of whom have had extremely limited pastoral experience, and politicians like Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney. "Their lives are very simplified," she says of the bishops. "They've been in academics, they've been in Rome, but they've never had to walk with people with horrible struggles." Romney, she says, is "a lost human being. He has never had experience with people outside of the one percent. He can't be expected to know what it's like for other people. But if he wants to lead this nation, he ought to know."

About the Author

Eric Bugyis teaches Religious StudiesĀ at the University of Washington Tacoma.



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Romney, she says, is a lost human being. He has never had experience with people outside of the one percent. He cant be expected to know what its like for other people. But if he wants to lead this nation, he ought to know.

Totally unfair!Romney was/is a leader in his church and as such has had exposure to people living in difficult circumstances and has, PRESONALLY, attended to their needs. He does not wear it on his sleeve in a pharisaical manner so the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing. And isn't that exactly the way Jesus said it should be?

Romney's experience as a Mormon bishop hardly qualifies him as someone who has "PERSONALLY" dealt with the anxieties of people in the kinds of straights Sr. Campbell is talking about. If he'd truly experienced that world, he could never have spoken as glibly as he did to that roomful of rich people about some "47 percent" of Americans who, he said, are content with their government handouts. That's the attitude of a very sheltered human being. Unfortunately, Mormons can live their entire lives taking care of their own, as they do, without ever experiencing life beyond the shelter of that faith.

If only things were that simple. Sister Simone should be wary of not becoming a tool for the left, but with statements like this, it may be too late. There is not a whole lot of charity in this, but maybe she was misquoted.

"There is not a whole lot of charity in this."Maybe not, but it is also the sisters who lives were being scrutinized and criticized; Sr Simone's Network, was specifically singled out, wasn't it? I could understand if she were a little angry.

I agree that the investigation was and is wrong-headed. The sad reality is that while the work women religious have done (and continue to do) in this country has been truly incredible--in every sense of that word--their time is passing away. And the Vatican should not be doing this ridiculous investigation with the vast majority of American nuns elderly and in their declining years. But this tit-for-tat is getting kind of tiresome. Maybe Sister could try to elevate or even change the conversation. But all I see is more "us vs. them."

George, Romney could have written a VERY large check to the Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy disaster relief, especially since the Red Cross always asks specifically for money after a disaster. Sorting donations of clothes and canned goods takes volunteers' time away from more important work.Perhaps if the Red Cross were owned by the LDS Church, Romney might have written that check. Instead, his campaign issued a press release asking for donations of the very items that the Red Cross doesn't want, and his aides went to a Walmart and bought up $5,000 worth of supplies. Then at a campaign rally the next day, the aides gave them to Romney supporters who arrived empty-handed and instructed them to give them BACK to Romney so that he could be photographed loading them onto a truck. I'd call that wearing his heart on his sleeve--unfortunately, his heart is all about winning the election, not about disaster relief.

Sr. Simone for President! . . . or Pope!

There are not always opposite sides that are equal. Sr. Simone has right on her side.To be elected Pope she needs to be made a Cardinal first. All in favor say "Aye."Aye.

I agree with Anthony that the elderly nuns should not have to go through the scrutiny they have had recently from the church. I also agree that Sister's statements are somewhat simplistic. And I also agree that Romney should write a personal check for the disaster victims through the Red Cross.On another church topic, I'd like to say that I was stunned Sunday evening when I went to church and the homily was about voting for the candidate that is the right to life candidate. The message was clear that the priest felt we had a moral obligation to vote for Romney and he harped on this theme for 20 minutes. So much for the separation of church and state. No one believes in abortion, including the 2 candidates. However the right to choose it is the debate. I feel that other topics are fair game here and to base one's opinion on one aspect of a candidate is simplistic.

I think Joe Biden, a man who contributes virtually nothing to charity, should write a check to the Red Cross. Barack Obama, who contributes only a little more than Biden does, should pony up, too.

Thorin: may we presume that you are without sin and therefore can cast these stones?

Mr. McCrea,Why didn't you ask that question of those suggesting that Mitt Romney should write a check to the Red Cross? Romney, it should be noted, contributes substantially more of his income to charity than does either Obama or Biden.

The sad thing is that a simple internet click shows the actual facts: - 14%Hardly parsimonious.

And as a percentage, Obama contributes more than Romney. Amazing things, these facts.

Denise, Had a similar experience at my church where the very young parochial vicar told the congergation that if we voted for anyone other than the so called "pro-life" candidate that we would be committing grevious sin----and he would increase the hours he was hearing confession to accomodate all us sinners who vote wrong.

Should Obama win and right now the chances are good, the US bishops will continue to sink. The Republicans might even ask them not to endorse them next time.

I don't know, I think Obama's earlier contributions- before he ran for President- were pretty underwhelming.

Thorin, absent the evidence of Romney's tax returns, we know only that he tithes to the LDS Church. He may call that a charitable contribution, I call it membership dues. Non-Mormons can't enter Mormon temples (that's "temple," not to be confused with a church or a tabernacle), but even some Mormons can't enter a temple unless they have a pass called a "temple recommend." A temple recommend is valid for only one year at a time, and tithing is one of the requirements. With Romney being a Mormon bishop and one of the highest-profile Mormons in the whole country, it would have been embarrassing if he weren't a good enough church member to earn a temple recommend. I've heard many stories about Romney's generosity with his time and money, but if he's ever extended any of that generosity to non-Mormons, I've missed it.

Irene, Obama's charitable contributions before he ran for president may have been affected by the fact that he and Michelle owed hundreds of thousands in student loans after attending Columbia, Princeton, and Harvard. He has said that only his book royalties enabled them to pay them off as early as they did.

This supposed "Catholic" nun speaks negatively concerning the bishops's perspective of rules. When you are in love with someone and are planning the menu for your anniversary picnic you will most likely not pack a meal of strictly peanuts if you are aware the person you love is deathly allergic to peanuts. One could say "Thou shalt not bring peanuts on an anniversary date" is a rule...but that is not the case to the lover who is planning the meal...because not packing peanuts is an act of love and is not considered as a harsh injustice to their descision making process. The "rules" of the Catholic church were give to her by Jesus Himself or atleast that is what Catholics believe. These "rules" are not harsh demands but were put in place so we may love in a better and fuller way. We accept the church's teachings not because they are rules but because its is obvious we should follow them for we believe they will help us love God better. I am merely a Catholic appualed by the corrupt misrepresentation of this so called sr. simone campbell. I hope I can make aware to others that her views do not coincide with the church's teachings and she should not be considered a viable Catholic source. If you wish to observe a Catholic nun who worked with poor and truly represents her church, take a gander at the life of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She set an example to the whole world what true charity looks like and what the church truly teaches.

In determining Romney's donation, one would have to exclude the mandatory 10-12% he is obligated to give to his church to remain a member in good standing. That said, he still did better than Joe Biden, who is faithful to the average Catholic habit of giving 1-2% of their money to their church. And as for charit? Don't know.

Oh yeah - while nobody should listen to the USCCB, simply Everyone should hang on every word uttered by Sr. Simone and company!Ugh -

Sr. Simone for bishop of Rome!!!!!Yaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy...................(can't come soon enough)

Like many polemics, this article in Rolling Stone (couldn't find it online) has a compelling central point but obscures some nuances. To wit:1. The subheading on the magazine cover, "Sisters against the Pope", is hyperbolic and misleading. I doubt these "radical" nuns oppose the Pope altogether, just some of his hardline positions, the extent of his authority, and perhaps the fact that the role can only be filled by a man.2. The Vatican is unmistakably browbeating these American nuns, but where are the American bishops in all this? The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops opposed healthcare reform, but also blasted Paul Ryan's budget. Are American bishops, on average, truly more rigid and abstract in their positions than the nuns? They at least seem more moderate than the Vatican.3. American nuns may have a long history of working in the trenches with the needy, but many are undoubtedly more conservative than the likes of Simone Campbell. Are these types of nuns--practical humanitarians who place lower priority on promoting absolutist positions from the Church hierarchy--a substantial percentage of all U.S. nuns, or are they on the fringes? (Personally, I'd bet the average nun is more vocally pro-life than Simone Campbell, but does much more than the average pro-lifer to help mothers and children, both in terms of direct service and policy advocacy.)Any informed insight on these unaddressed issues would be welcome!

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