30 March 2013

Pat Judge: Nun or None?

The Ms. Foundation for Women is celebrating Women’s History Month with a blog carnival featuring the voices and profiles of women across the country. This Month of Action is generously supported by our friends in Seattle.

By Pat Judge

This year, Women’s History Month coincided with the choosing of a new pope, and I couldn’t help but think about the Vatican’s treatment of American female clergy. When I thought about the ongoing investigation, scrutiny and general mistrust that the Vatican displays toward women in religious orders, I decided it is because Rome has always acted as though “nun” were spelled “none”! Therein lies the problem. Remedial work in spelling might do wonders. Perhaps then the pursuit of so many of the nuns — to try to bring the simple message of the gospel to people — would be recognized.

For so many years, nuns have looked after the poor, the needy, the marginalized, the afflicted and the oppressed. They work in orphanages, shelters, daycare centers, hospitals, prisons, soup kitchens and in services to the very least among us. This witnessing seems to be the very essence of their religious life. And it is very often in contrast to what the hierarchy at the Vatican is doing on a daily basis. These women have never been content with just going about. These women go to the people.

This year, while the world celebrates the 266th male leader of the Catholic Church, I’m proud to acknowledge the oft-overlooked accomplishments of nuns. I hope that in the future, we can celebrate women being seen as equal, valuable members of the clergy. In an age in which women can be firefighters, CEOs, pilots and politicians, it's high time we had a woman priest — or pope!

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