From the New York Times:

In a spirited retort to the Vatican, a group of Roman Catholic nuns is planning a bus trip across nine states this month, stopping at homeless shelters, food pantries, schools and health care facilities run by nuns to highlight their work with the nation’s poor and disenfranchised.

The bus tour is a response to a blistering critique of American nuns released in April by the Vatican’s doctrinal office, which included the accusation that the nuns are outspoken on issues of social justice, but silent on other issues the church considers crucial: abortion and gay marriage.

The sisters plan to use the tour also to protest cuts in programs for the poor and working families in the federal budget that was passed by the House of Representatives and proposed by Representative Paul D. Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who cited his Catholic faith to justify the cuts.

“We’re doing this because these are life issues,” said Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a liberal social justice lobby in Washington. “And by lifting up the work of Catholic sisters, we will demonstrate the very programs and services that will be decimated by the House budget.”

It seems to me that this effort to highlight the sisters' continued commitment to justice is a worthwhile and clever response. Other thoughts?

UPDATE 6/7: Here's a preliminary schedule of the sisters' ride:

June 18, 2012- July 2, 2012

SCHEDULE


Monday, June 18

Iowa: Ames, Cedar Rapids, Dubuque

Tuesday, June 19

Wisconsin: Janesville, Racine

Wednesday, June 20

Wisconsin and Illinois: Racine, Fox Lake, Moline

Thursday, June 21

Illinois and Indiana: Moline, Chicago, South Bend

Friday, June 22

Indiana and Michigan: South Bend, Elkhart, Jackson, Livonia

Saturday, June 23

Michigan and Ohio: Livonia, Toledo, Dayton

Sunday June 24

Ohio: Dayton, West Chester, Columbus

Monday, June 25

Ohio: Columbus, Cleveland

Tuesday, June 26

Ohio and Pennsylvania:  Marietta, Pittsburgh

Wednesday, June 27

Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh, Altoona

Thursday, June 28

Pennsylvania:  Atloona, Scranton

Friday, June 29

Pennsylvania: Scranton, Langhorne, Philadelphia

Saturday, June 30

Pennsylvania and Maryland: Philadelphia, Frederick

Sunday, July 1

Maryland and Virginia: Baltimore, Fredericksburg

Monday, July 2

Virginia: Fredericksburg, Richmond, Virginia Beach

Please remember that these dates are subject to change. We'll let you know as soon as we have more information!

Kerry Weber

Comments

Vince Killoran | 6/7/2012 - 12:58pm
Fantastic news-I'll be in Baltimore on July 1st and will turn out to support the women religious.
Beth Cioffoletti | 6/7/2012 - 12:20pm
Hurrah!  Thanks for the update, Kerry.  They're coming my way!  I plan to see them in Pittsburgh.
Tammy Gottschling | 6/7/2012 - 11:34am
As a resident of Pennsylvania in the city of Erie, I applaud and support the dedication and hard work of the Sisters of Mercy and the Benedictine nuns.  Especially, since education funding in Pennsylvania eliminated many community support facilities for early intervention—aiding those who utilized the support centers.
Craig McKee | 6/7/2012 - 4:36am
Bon Voyage, Sisters!
Grab your Saint Christopher medals, and put that ole plastic Jesus on the dashboard!
Instead of debating, I have simply sent them some money for GAS and TOLLS here:
http://www.networklobby.org/nuns-bus-trip
Beth Cioffoletti | 6/6/2012 - 7:15pm
My nun friends in regular clothing are going to have a big laugh when I tell them about that million dollars that they are earning.  Maria, you should visit the Hope Rural School in Indiantown, Florida.  A wonderful little school founded and run by Sinsinawa Dominicans in regular clothes.

I hope that America will post a schedule of where the Nun Bus will be.  If I'm nearby, I'll go out of my way to cheer them on.
JIM MCCREA | 6/6/2012 - 5:14pm
It's time these girls got back into their wimples, heavy traditional habits, wimpy attitudes and respectful deference to anything and everything ever said by any man no matter how stupid, inane, immoral or just plain wrong.  Maybe Bill Donahue, Deal Hudson, Raymond Arroyo,  Fabian Bruskewitz and Carl Anderson should be put in charge of the successor to LCWR.

They are, after all, members of the weaker and therefore inferior gender.  (I was going to say "sex" but that would be disrepectful to their impressionable and easily insulted natures.)
David Pasinski | 6/6/2012 - 4:57pm
"Freedom riders", 2012 style? I would love to have a welcome committee at the stations where they stop and invite their presence on this barnstorming tour....I hope it garners some good attention!
Stephen Kusterer | 6/6/2012 - 2:40pm
Maybe they have decided they need to go into hiding from the heirarchy.  They can be pretty confidant the last place they're going to have to worry about running into a prelate is in a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.  The only time they need to hide there is if a press caravan shows up - then a prelate may be on the way.
Tom Maher | 6/6/2012 - 2:29pm
So what are you saying?  The Bishops do not have basis for objecting to specific actions or lack of actions by certain nun?  Or is it worse than that.  The Bishops do have basis for their strong objections but the nuns have decided to evade the Bishops authority by public relations promoting the nuns as a group without dealing with the Bishops complaints?

Who in the Church expects the ?n??u?n?s? ??t?o? ?b?e? ?a?b?l?e? ?t?o?????????? ????do ?a?n?d? ?s?a?y? ?w?h?a?t? ????????????they please and n?ot be held ?accountable to anyo?n?e?? ?e?s?p?e?c?i?a?????l?l?y? ?o?n? ?i?s?s?u?e?s? ?o?f? ?f?a?i?t?h? ?a?n?d? ?m?o?r?a?l????????s????? ?? ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
Weldon Nisly | 6/6/2012 - 2:27pm
Full names please! 
Vince Killoran | 6/6/2012 - 2:25pm
A wonderful idea-a great American tradition!  
David Pasinski | 6/6/2012 - 1:45pm
Violete Stevens | 6/21/2012 - 12:10pm
When we serve the poor and disobey the Church and the Pope, we make ourselves the measure of all things, and we leave the Hand of the Infinite and become slaves of our own finiteness, our petty senses and we become poorer and more pitiful than the poorest ones we serve.
When works of mercy lead to self-idolatry, self-promotion, self-righteousness, then we no longer serve God but our own self, our own proud name and the name of the Evil one.  When works of mercy is performed without true humility, then we become boastful, proud, self-important, and rebellious.  We no longer obey, and are no longer faithful to Our Holy Mother Church and Our Holy Father the Pope.

Remember, on our own we are nothing and by ourselves we can do nothing.  When we do works of mercy, it is not we, but God who does in us.  Remember, Jesus said that the gates of Hell will not prevail against Our Holy Mother Church  –  but the gates of Hell will surely prevail against those who willingly dissent and rebel against the Church and the Pope.  Remember who was the first to willingly dissent, rebel and to disobey.  Remember the consequences of that disobedience.Remember, Jesus was obedient unto death – a death on the Cross! 
Stephen Kusterer | 6/6/2012 - 1:02pm