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Nuns Launch Virginia Bus Tour in Arlington

by ARLnow.com November 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm 7,681 88 Comments


A group of nuns critical of Republican budget plans launched a one-day bus tour of Virginia today (Friday) in Arlington.

The advocacy group Nuns on the Bus held a reception, speaking program and press conference this morning at St. Charles Borromeo Church (3304 Washington Blvd) near Clarendon. The event was the launch of a one-day bus tour of Virginia, which includes planned stops in Richmond and Virginia Beach.

A reported crowd of nearly 200 supporters, and a few critics, turned out for the event. The nuns spoke about “moral budget priorities” and argued against cutting social welfare programs — a move they say would “further [enrich] the wealthiest Americans at the expense of struggling, impoverished families.” They singled out the budget proposal of Republican Vice Presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan as a plan that would hurt the needy.

A few protesters held signs at the rally critical of the Obama administration’s requirement that larger employers — including some religious employers — pay for for health insurance that includes coverage of contraception.

Photos courtesy James Webster

  • Christ on a Bike

    Whatever next?

    • happy cyclist

      you could do a lot for our advocacy here in arlington

      OTOH I suspect the state of the river crossings probably is not important to you

  • Babs

    Send in the nuns!

    • WeiQiang

      There ought to be nuns!

      • Oy

        Don’t bother, they’re here.

        • YTK

          Nun too soon.

  • arlgirl

    Embarrassing to have this kick off at my parish. I do not support the “nuns on the bus,” and they do not speak for the Catholic Church in any way. Most people do not understand this. In fact, I’m surprised they were able to hold the press conference because the Diocese of Arlington told St. Charles Borromeo that nothing could take place there in this regard.

    • Don

      Three cheers for the nuns!!! Keep it up, and kudos for St. Charles for supporting the nuns.

      • FrenchyB

        +1 for the nun(s).

      • Loocy

        Yes! I am so proud of St. Charles parish today!

      • Hasdrupal

        Sad to say we had to leave St Charles due to the music which is incessant- sing every verse. Music with Mass instead of the other way around. That parish has always been “out there”. I suppose a Universal Church has to include all voices but we don’t have to support groups that work to undermine the leadership of their institution.

        These ladies who are supported by the Church take the opportunity to undermine it. Just a bunch of old women who find it more fun to ride around to small cheering crowds than praying in an empty convent.

        • get thee to a nunnery

          probably a lot more effective than talking to a wall too. no?

        • protestant

          But if the Pope told you to go back, you would.

        • Loocy

          Please understand more about the “Nuns on the Bus” before you slam them. This is not about Republican vs Democrat. This is their mission: “As Catholic Sisters, we are missioned to stand with people in need and to be witnesses for economic justice.” It’s a religious thing. They rallied against the Ryan budget at the same time that the Bishops’ Conference came out against the Ryan budget, and for the same reason: its disproportionate impact on the poor and needy. Their point is that EVERYONE needs to pay more attention to ministering to the least privileged in our society.

    • WeiQiang

      so, you support cutting social welfare programs? … or support hurting the needy?

    • Brah!

      Nuns don’t speak for the Catholic Church? In the words of the Bob, “what would you say you do here?”

    • WeiQiang

      OK, so I went to their website and read the description of what they’re doing. What embarrasses you? What do you not support?

      Also, I didn’t read where they spoke for the Catholic Church. Can you point me to that?

    • Actually…

      Actually, they do speak for the majority of Catholics. Catholics support social welfare programs because it’s the moral thing to do to support those less fortunate. It’s abhorrent that the Catholic church would stand behind Republican candidates of any kind given their track record of gutting programs for the poor in favor of tax cuts for the rich. This is not Christian at all. You are the embarassing one, arlgirl, look in the mirror. If you want to be a greedy judgmental person, do so on your own time, but don’t hide behind religion.

      • Tired Catholic


      • Not Me


    • Louise

      They speak for me 100% and I am Catholic!

    • Arlington Cat

      The rule is you don’t mess with the nuns. Nuns walk the walk and talk the talk. If you mess with nuns, you will lose, now, and later.

      • jackon

        That’s the truth!

    • drax

      Go nuns!

    • Loocy

      They diocese said they could participate in a Mass, which they did. Then, since the diocese said they could not have a reception or anything like that, the nuns went down to the public sidewalk and held their press conference there. They were not on St. Charles property for the press conference.

      • WeiQiang

        So, the old men threw the nuns off the property for wanted to defend the poor. Stay classy, archbishop.

        • get thee to a nunnery

          Bottom line is they are more than willing to throw the poor under the bus if they think they could make abortion illegal……then they’ll go after your condoms

    • geri

      You are definitely not a member of St. Charles.

    • YaYa

      This is also “my” parish and social justice is indeed part of the Catholic Church’s teaching, which btw is what St. Charles focuses on.

    • T

      True, the nuns “do not speak for the Catholic Church.” They speak for God. Sad the two can not be the same.

  • Hank

    Oh dear God, I am so turned on by this headline!

  • M

    Any Catholic who knows about St. Charles should not be surprised that they allowed these nuns to hold a rally there. St. Charles is the parish for all those who are steeped in social justice and anything that is not authentically Catholic. They pride themselves on being conscientious objectors. All you need to do is go and see the bumper stickers that are on the cars there at Sunday Mass – mostly supportive of pro-choice politicians. Don’t know if they violated the request from the Diocese, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised.

    • Louise

      Social Justice is not authentically Catholic? Since when?

      • novasteve

        So catholics should support abortion?

        • Louise

          Pardon me? I was asking about social justice and her claim that it is not “authentically Catholic”.

          • drax

            Never mind, it’s novasteve.

      • Skeptical

        I was wondering that myself. Not being religious, I thought I might have missed something.

        • AH

          I would guess most Catholics believe in fairness (justice) for all, whether in the social, ecclesiastical, cultural, or any other sphere. Since when is a belief in fairness (justice) not Catholic?

      • FrenchyB

        Yeah, I missed that too.

      • Honora

        Hear hear!! The right-wing Catholics are the ones who have actually abandoned their faith – all they are is pro-birth, they care nothing about supporting life once it gets here. Three (thousand) cheers for the nuns – go get ’em Sisters! And many thanks to St. Charles for hosting this event. And I AM a regular attendee at Mass.

      • dk (not DK)

        You must have missed the memo.

    • novasteve

      If you don’t s upport abortion as birth control, you hate women! I am a tolerant liberal!

      • AH

        Don’t be a troll, Steve. I’m a tolerant liberal too. No woman in her right mind would use abortion “as birth control.” It’s surgery for pete’s sake. Ouch!

    • Rowan

      They sound like Episcopalians!

      • Arlingtonian

        proud Episcopalian here supporting the nuns 🙂

        • Henry VIII


    • drax

      “social justice and anything that is not authentically Catholic”

      LOL. You said it.

    • Honora

      One of the most ridiculous things I ever heard – “steeped in social justice & anything else not authentically Catholic.” Catholicism IS social justice – this other right-wing garbage is Catholic-come-lately. I went to Catholic school all my life & have undergraduate AND graduate degrees from The Catholic University of America. I had a great-uncle who was a revered priest for 60+ years who was like a grandfather to me & I’ve worked in Catholic schools. My mother went to Catholic schools all her life, had an undergraduate degree from Trinity College in DC and a graduate degree from Fordham. It is you, my dear, you and all your hate-filled right-wing brethren, who are closer to Southern Baptists than Catholics, and who have been led astray by the devil in disguise. I will keep you all in my prayers.

    • drax

      Keep talking, M. You’re doing a great job of repelling people.


      More Americans than ever say they don’t identify with an organized religion…

  • JoeSchmoe

    A point of reference:



    (Nov. 1, 2012) “Today, it came to the attention of the Diocese of Arlington that one of our parishes was planning to host the ‘Nuns on the Bus’ at a parish event tomorrow, in the lead-up to next week’s elections. The diocesan Political Activity Guidelines require parishes to submit a proposal in advance and consult with our Virginia Catholic Conference with regard to any planned event involving political or public policy issues. Those required steps were not taken for this event.

    “The diocese therefore worked with the parish to modify the event so the Political Activity Guidelines would not be violated, while retaining the intended focus of the event on the parish’s outreach and social ministries. The ‘Nuns on the Bus’ are welcome to attend Mass at the parish, but they may not make any presentation, distribute any written material, or otherwise utilize the facilities of Saint Charles Borromeo Church in any way.

    “It is unfortunate that the organizers of this event did not follow established diocesan procedures, which provide that that ‘No speakers are to be invited to events before receiving the reviewer’s approval.’ We recognize the concerns of many in the diocese raised by the scheduling of a ‘Nuns on the Bus’ campaign event at one of our churches and regret any inconvenience to those involved.”

    • Hmmm

      “The diocesan Political Activity Guidelines require parishes to submit a proposal in advance and consult with our Virginia Catholic Conference with regard to any planned event involving political or public policy issues. ”

      Party like its 1659!

      The RCC is entitled to do what it wants under religious freedom, but I don’t think this counter reformation stuff is going to retain the loyalties of American Catholics.

      • As non-profits they have other limitations also

        Many non-profit organizations (like the churches) have strict guidelines similar to this about political rallies because they can actually lose their non-profit status. The fact that this is a church will bring in freedom of religion, etc. in your mind but this isn’t about religion it was clearly set up as a political rally, not a religious one. Simply with religious leaders as the political speakers. That’s a “no no” whether I agree or disagree with the message.

    • ballstonian

      It’s not counter-reformation so much as IRS policy. The Diocese is probably concerned about parishes getting involved in politics in a way that could jeopardize tax-exempt status. Advocating for “social justice,” respect for the poor, respect for life, etc., is fine as long as it is done in general terms. But backing or opposing specific candidates for public office is a no-no for a tax-exempt organization. Catholic churches tell people to support pro life causes and to “prayerfully reflect” which candidates embody those values; they will (or should) stop short of telling people which candidate to vote for.
      From the description in this article, it sounds like these nuns are coming very close to attacking the Romney -Ryan ticket by name, and the diocese is probably concerned that they are crossing the line into political advocacy, which could get the Diocese in trouble.

      • YaYa

        That’s nice in spirit but not what the diocese in fact does. I have attended Mass at other parishes and have wondered how the heck they retain their 501(c)(3) status. In one parish in Loudoun, from the pulpit the priest said Obama should be defeated and that HHS Sec Sebelius should be excommunicated. Funny how they’re all suddenly non-partisan when the issue is the Christian message and not man-made dogma.

        • As non-profits they have other limitations also

          Too easy, no one reports it. ?? I mean, did you?

        • drax

          The distinction might be whether they talk to their own members about politics vs. talking to the public at large. It also might be whether they spend money on politics. There’s probably some tax attorney or IRS person reading this right now who can tell us.

    • Don

      I suppport St. Charles and the nuns 100%.

    • Loocy

      Of course the irony is that the diocese cheerfully goes along with blatant politicking at its parishes as long as it is in support of Republicans, against gay civil marriages, or against legal abortion.

      • Louise

        Can you share an example? While I do see that in other parts of the country, I’d like to know if it’s happening here in Arlington!

        • JK

          Saint Raymond in Springfield was handing out Romeny signs at the church and supposedly after mass. Even the parish priest there was handing Romney signs to parishioners. No slap on the wrist for them, though!

          • Tired Catholic

            I attended mass at that parish 20 years ago and they were actually condemning people who lived together out of wedlock to hell. Cuh-RAY-zee! I also know two people who atopped attending mass after visiting that church. I too went to Catholic schools an have an undergrad from Catholic U. You will find crazy, hateful zealots in every organization, in every walk of life. Humans are imperfect. You just have to make your own determinations based on what you think is aligned with the teachings of Christ.

          • Christ on a bike

            +1 Stay holy my friends!

        • Sam

          The Arlington Diocese is known as one of the most conservative in the country. That’s why a lot of Catholics in Arlington go into DC to the Washington Diocese which is a little more tolerant.

        • Louise

          Nevermind, just read the letter from the Bishop. Ugh. Embarrassing. Some Catholics just do not get that abortion is not the only issue . . .

          • True

            And some Democrats don’t get that that or gay marriage are the only issue. What’s your point? There should never just be one issue that is someone’s project but in 2012 with people just being lazy or “annoyed” by the political talk they don’t feel like finding out how a candidate stands in every corner, so they pick one thing that they do or don’t like. Problem solved. (Ugh)

  • Hanky Panky

    enter the Catholic Clutching Cyclist

    • WonderboySplinter

      Nuns drive stickshifts?

  • amorelli

    The American bishops have been shills for the Republican party all year. The bishops don’t speak for me on oolitical matters. I abhor their reckless abuse of church funds to finance lawsuits against the HHS mandate. Thank goodness the nuns are acting as the voice of loyal opposition.t

    • Mmmhmm


  • BMK

    woah,ARLNow is all politics today! Not a fan.

  • drax

    Martin Luther fixed this a long time ago.

  • JimPB

    Time for Martin Luther to return and nail a declaration of acting on individual conscience to the hierarchy’s front door.

  • BBMS

    Get thee to a nunnery!

  • Frank Lyon

    More fun than praying, I guess. I’d been counting on them to save the rest of us!

  • FaithfulCatholic

    Sister Simone Campbell and the Nuns on the Bus are not in line with the doctrine and teachings of the Catholic Church. This is why the Diocese of Arlington did not want them speaking at the St. Charles Borreomo Catholic Church. The Nuns on the Bus are pushing a left-wing political agenda and it was not appropriate for them to deliver that political message inside the walls of a Catholic church which is prohibited from publicly taking a political stance as it is a tax-exempt organization. Among other things, the Nuns on the Bus do not support the pro-life and traditional marriage views held by the Catholic Church.

    • Louise

      Can you please share what you determine to be tenets of this left-wing political agenda (aside from ensuring a woman’s right to choose and supporting marriage equality)?

    • Faithful Catholic

      Many of the nuns are fervently anti-abortion; however, they believe that this particular issue gets a disproportionate amount of attention and the needs of the poor get far too little. There are many, many voices in the church clamoring about abortion. There are far too few clamoring about everything else.

    • doubter

      So it’s because they have different politics from the church’s. No, wait, it’s because the church shouldn’t be political.

      Which is it?

  • My family and I left St. Charles Borromeo recently because they have become so liberal and do not support true Catholic teachings. Fr. Creedon was bad, the new pastor is not an improvement. Inviting Simone Campbell to speak there is a reflection of the anti-Catholic teaching that this parish has come to represent. She recently exceeded the scope of her invitation and distributed unapproved Obama propaganda at a Catholic gathering. She is a disgusting excuse for a Catholic nun. We now go to St. John the Beloved. It is a sad statement on the Obama-supporting leadership and congregation at St. Charles. Bishop Loverde needs to step in and assign a Pastor who is true to Catholic teaching.

    • Tired Catholic

      I am totally going to start attending StCB then. It sounds like my kind of place!

      • protestant

        You’re both starting to get it.

      • Faithful Catholic


    • Martin Luther

      Like it or not, beliefs evolve through time.
      Remember The Inquisition ??

      Sometimes they evolve to a kinder place……

      • doubter

        So maybe the beliefs we are soooo sure we’re right about now will be wrong someday too. So how can we believe in them soooooo much?

    • WeiQiang

      Doh! Don’t tell the Jesuits!


      “The gift will also establish the Tagliabue Initiative for LGBTQ Life: Fostering Formation and Transformation, which will be overseen by Georgetown’s LGBTQ Center, the first such center at a Catholic university. ‘The Center is inspired by Catholic and Jesuit principles of respect for the dignity of all and education of the whole person, and we are very pleased to support its services that provide a safe, inclusive and respectful environment for LGBTQ students and promote their acceptance in the entire campus community,’ the Tagliabues said in a statement.”

    • Resident

      Thank goodness you had the freedom to make a choice about where you want to attend church.

      I exercised my freedom by leaving another church in the diocese (in Alexandria) years ago because I was sick of being told which candidates to vote for in elections. And disappointed by their lack of respecting the teaching of free will… the will to choose God.

      May not agree with all that the nuns believe, but if we don’t allow for freedom of thought within the institution then there is no dialogue about the choices… only monologues.

      And, I believe, it is not very Godly to call anyone a disgusting excuse.

  • PETA

    None – it’s what’s for dinner.


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