The Nuns on the Bus are on the roll again–this time in Iowa.
The liberal organization Network, composed of the same nuns who have been called on the carpet by the Vatican for their disdain for Catholic Church teaching on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, parked their bus in front of the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines yesterday. And honoring the Sisters with his presence was America’s confused Catholic vice president, Joseph Biden.
According to the New York Times, Biden reminisced about his years of Catholic schooling:
“You’re looking at a kid who had 12 years of Catholic education,” Mr. Biden, wearing a white shirt and a red tie, said before a backdrop of the gold-domed Iowa statehouse and a “Nuns on the Bus” coach bus. “I woke up probably every morning saying: ‘Yes, Sister; no, Sister; yes, Sister; no, Sister.’ I just made it clear, I’m still obedient.”
Apparently, Mr. Biden means that he’s obedient to the disobedient sisters. Sister Simone Campbell, head of Network who stood with him on the podium, is one of the nuns criticized in the Vatican’s recent investigation of the LCWR. According to the NYTimes:
Mr. Biden’s visit came just weeks after Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the Vatican’s enforcer of doctrine, shocked many American nuns with his comments to a Vatican newspaper. As he defended the effort to rein in the nuns, the cardinal remarked, “Above all, we have to clarify that we are not misogynists; we don’t want to gobble up a woman a day!”
So while political reporters focused on Mr. Biden’s appearance as his first foray back into a presidential campaign season, the outing also put the nation’s first Roman Catholic vice president in the middle of a protracted political fight between the pope he admires and the American nuns he reveres.
In an earlier post about the LCWR controversy, I quoted veteran reporter and nun-watcher Ann Hendershott:
For decades, the LCWR has refused all calls for renewal by the bishops. Promoting women’s ordination, reproductive rights, and an “end to patriarchy,” the LCWR has refused to comply with Pope John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation Vita Consecrata entitled Sentire Cum Ecclesia—“to think with the Church.”
With this latest appearance, it seems that Vice President Biden is hoping to gain respectability and affirmation among liberal Catholics by joining with the sisters, while at the same time the sisters of Network hope to gain respectability by their association with the Vice President. It’s not working with me–but who knows?