Thursday, May 19, 2005

The nuns are all right by me

As someone who endured twelve years of Catholic school, I have a rather conflicted relationship with nuns. My first memories of them are as stern taskmistresses who would rap your knuckles with a ruler for the slightest infraction. Most of the ones who taught me didn't seem to like boys very much. As a result, after my graduation from elementary school, I thought I didn't like nuns very much.

But after Vatican II, many nuns changed. Most of them lightened up and started shedding the restrictive habits in favor of more comfortable dress. But the best thing they did was adopt social activism as a cause. Now they really and truly live the gospel of Jesus Christ as they advocate for the poor and oppressed. My friend Gail sent me an example of this, the following resolution from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious:

LCWR National Assembly
August 20-25, 2003, Detroit, MI
Statement on Iraq

"We, the members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, decry the continuing tragic loss of life in Iraq. We mourn the deaths of Iraqi children, women and men, military personnel and civilians of all countries involved in the ongoing conflict, as well as those who lost their lives in the recent attack on the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad. We also grieve the devastating impact on a beautiful land and ancient culture.

"As women of faith and Christian principle, we recognize that there are numerous contributing causes to the climate of violence which continues in Iraq. The use of armed force by the United States in a pre-emptive strike has invited violent response and civil unrest. The lack of post-war planning and the massive destruction of the Iraqi infrastructure and social order raise grave questions of moral responsibility. We challenge ourselves and all people of good will to seek conscientious, just and nonviolent solutions to our world's problems. We further call upon the government of the United States to cooperate with the United Nations to secure peace and a hope-filled future for the people of Iraq.

"From our life of faith and service, we have learned that peace is not achieved through physical force. Peace prevails where peace has been learned, met, experienced, modeled. We invoke God's call as presented to us in the Book of Deuteronomy: "Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live." (Deut. 30:19)

Adopted by more than 900 LCWR members representing 76,000 Roman Catholic sisters in the United States.

So while the pious new Republican Catholics zealously support Mr. Bush in his spree of death and horror, the sisters who once taught them catechism now aspire to teach them something more important: real respect for human life. I wish the sisters luck.


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