Female Senators Rally Around U.S. Nuns

Posted July 2, 2012 at 2:31pm

As the controversial “Nuns on the Bus” tour wraps up in Washington, D.C., today, a group of bipartisan Senators announced a resolution honoring the 222,000 Catholic sisters who have served American churches since the nation’s founding.

Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) said in a statement that the resolution “recognizes the Catholic Sisters’ fulfillment of their vital missions to teach our children, care for the sick, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, lead major institutions, demand corporate responsibility and fight for policies that promote human dignity.”

Several other women of both parties and of varied religious backgrounds have signed on to co-sponsor the measure, including Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Patty Murray (Wash.), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and GOP Sens. Olympia Snowe (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska).

“These women are truly trailblazers,” the Senators wrote in a “Dear Colleague” letter. “They have answered the call of the Second Vatican Council to ‘seek justice in the world’ and have led to the vital mission of teaching our children, caring for the sick, feeding our hungry, sheltering the homeless, leading major institutions, demanding corporate responsibility and fighting for policies that promote human dignity.”

That fight, however, hasn’t come without political consequences. In April, the Vatican released a report accusing an umbrella organization of American nuns of embracing “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.” And the nuns have taken a stand against the House Republican budget that slashes benefits for the poor. The nuns have been on a two-week bus tour to promote their positions on social justice and motivate opposition to the budget.