The Sisters of Life were founded in 1991 by Cardinal John O’Connor and Mother Agnes Mary Donovan (a former Columbia psychology professor and clinician) as a new religious community of women dedicated to the defense of life at all stages and in all conditions. The Sisters of Life are wholly orthodox and wear the kind of modernized (and in their case, quite beautiful) religious habit envisioned by the Second Vatican Council. And unlike the religious orders represented by this summer’s “Nuns on the Bus” road show, which culminated in Sister Simone Campbell’s attempt to excommunicate Representative Paul Ryan at the Democratic National Convention (an effort that was, as President Obama might say, above Sister Simone’s pay grade), the Sisters of Life are growing, often attracting new recruits among highly educated and accomplished professional women. [I wonder how many vocations Sr. Simone’s group has had in the last few years.]
A few weeks ago, two Sisters of Life were stopped on a New York street by a man who, seeing their habits and imagining that all nuns think (and dress) alike, rushed up and asked the sisters if they, too, weren’t proud of Sister Simone. The two sisters politely explained why they were emphatically not proud of Sister Simone and took the opportunity to explain the Church’s pro-life teaching, which Sister Simone had declined to endorse in Charlotte when pressed by a reporter. [Remember that? Go HERE.]
A small vignette, you might say. But Sister Simone’s 15 minutes of fame, which were the culmination of a series of distortions and plain mistruths advanced by “progressive” Catholics [usually pro-abortion] for months, seem now to have been something of a clarifying moment. And those two Sisters of Life in New York aren’t the only ones willing to explain, politely but firmly, that Sister Simone, Catholic University’s Stephen Schneck, and others in the Obama Amen Chorus are severely misrepresenting Catholic social doctrine, both in general and in their specific attacks on vice-presidential candidate Ryan.
[… he brings in Bp. Paprocki’s Red Mass talk in Green Bay and expands… we will cut to the end.]
As for those who play the Ayn Rand card in their attack on Paul Ryan, Bishop Paprocki had a few words of counsel:
The National Catholic Reporter columnist Michael Sean Winters has accused Mr. Ryan of “libertarianism” which he describes as a “heresy,” [pffft] since he sees it as being at odds with Christ’s admonition that we will be judged by how we care for the least of our brothers. Surely, Ryan does stress individual responsibility — which, not coincidentally, is a strong theme in Catholic social teaching — but Ryan’s proposed budget is hardly libertarian. That is, it is hardly libertarian to publicly guarantee the existing Medicare program for those who are 55 years of age or older, and to propose a government sponsored voucher program, in which citizens would receive $8,000 adjusted for inflation in the form of a voucher for the purchase of insurance. This is hardly the proposal of one who believes that all individuals should simply fend for themselves and that the government has no role in helping to ensure their well-being.
Bishops Paprocki’s purpose, it should be emphasized, was not to endorse the Ryan budget, which he explicitly stated was not within his remit. His purpose was to clear the air of the thick fog of obfuscation (and, in Sister Simone Campbell’s case, disinformation) that has befouled the Catholic debate during the 2012 campaign. That, in doing so, the lawyer-bishop whose cathedral is a few blocks from Abraham Lincoln’s old law firm might have given the boys in the back room in Boston a much more refined way of discussing personal responsibility and the economy: Well, that was an unintended bonus — but one that demonstrates that the Catholic Left has no monopoly on the Church’s social doctrine, its presentation, and its application.
Read the rest over there.