Listen to the Nuns

Thanks to Daily Kos for a link to E.J. Dionne’s editorial on the eloquent letter defending health care reform issued by American Catholic nuns.

This stance is in contrast to some Bishops who are organizing politically to kill any health reform bill that doesn’t meet their definition of ‘pro-life’. The nuns, many of whom work in hospitals, have an interest in the born as well as a the unborn.

I have to get going with my own health care work, but I want to connect this to an older story that has got lost in the back pages. That is the dire situation of some elderly nuns who dedicated their life to the Church, but had to look to the State for health insurance.

Some nuns have direct experience of health care and financial insecurity. This may have sensitized them to an issue that the higher ranking members of the Church hierarchy never have to experience first hand.

Without that socialized Medicare some elderly nuns would have no health insurance. Bishops ride Cadillacs, nuns take the bus. Bishops dine in Washington, nuns run food pantries. I’ll bet the Bishops wish more of them had taken a vow of silence, because they see what’s going on and they can testify.

I want to link to an earlier post called ‘Homeless Nuns’. A Bishop in California, pressed to find money to pay damages in child sexual abuse cases, decided to sell a convent and evict the nuns. You see, the nuns are religious, and unlike Bishops they do not have personal wealth, so they did not own their convent. The nuns lived in a poor neighborhood and provided services to the people living there. The neighborhood organized on behalf of the nuns. You can see more on this story at a site called ‘Bishop Accountability’. If there had been more accountability in the past few decades the Church wouldn’t have to be selling convents, would she?

We may not be hearing so much from American nuns in the future. The Vatican is running an inquisition investigation of American orders of nuns to determine if they have strayed from orthodoxy.

UPDATE: Bishops are telling the nuns not to worry their pretty little heads about men’s business.

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