The Catholic sisters of Network, a national Catholic social justice lobby, who signed the statement supporting the current health care bill (over what they term the “false claims” on abortion of folks like the U.S. Catholic bishops) claim to represent “59,000 Catholic sisters in the United States.”
There’s no way that number can be accurate.
According to Georgetown University’s Center for Research in the Apostolate, in 2009 there were 59,601 total sisters in the United States. Clearly, not all of them share the assertions of the Network statement.
In fact, as Mary DeTurris Poust points out in a previous post here, the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, which represents about 10,000 sisters, issued a statement supporting the bishops’ analysis.
Plus LCWR has a membership of around 1,500 people and they don’t query the members of the communities. Even among the most progressive religious communities they are not 100 percent pro-abortion. I was heartened once to see on a Dominican site discussing abortion that even though many supported abortion some members of the infamous Adrian Dominican sisters were quite pro-life.
Sister Mary Any Walsh from the USCCB also chimes in:
Washington—A recent letter from Network, a social justice lobby of sisters, grossly overstated whom they represent in a letter to Congress that was also released to media.
Network’s letter, about health care reform, was signed by a few dozen people, and despite what Network said, they do not come anywhere near representing 59,000 American sisters.
The letter had 55 signatories, some individuals, some groups of three to five persons. One endorser signed twice.
There are 793 religious communities in the United States.
The math is clear. Network is far off the mark
Hmmm, was the women who signed twice from Chicago?
Well to be charitable maybe the nuns who came up with the numbers had the same math teachers President Obama had. The President said health care would reduce employers costs by 3,000 percent so math skills among supporters of this bill aren’t exactly formidable.
The numbers don’t really matter. After all nuns who lie about the numbers they represent would never lie about the bill not supporting funding of abortion.
I do find it rather odd the people using the the phony numbers of nuns think this is an argument in favor of the bill. So most Americans being against the bill doesn’t matter, but somehow this does?
In 1966 there were 181,421 religious in the United States. Feminism and liberalism and the very ideas the LCWR represent decimated the ranks as thousands and thousands left their orders. You just might think that of those numbers that quite of few nurses were lost that would have been helping people and additionally keeping health care costs down.
[…] the words of the Curt Jester: The numbers don’t really matter. After all nuns who lie about the numbers they represent would […]
I know of many women religious whose community may be a member of LCWR, but they themselves have remained faithful to the Church and her directives concerning authentic religious life. One, yesterday, from such a community, remarked, “It makes me angry that the LCWR claims to represent me. They don’t!” Let us pray for all consecrated relgious!
The debate about health care in America has nothing to do with religion or morality. It’s currently a political discussion about the proper role of government.
You do a disservice by making it something that it isn’t.
Government probably shouldn’t be in the health care business. People need access to affordable health care. We need to figure out how to do that.
The nuns line up with the liberals and the bishops with conservatives. This tells you about their politics, not their devotion to God or righteousness.
At least you’re consistent, Jeff.
Actually, remove abortion and you can still make a tight religious case against the bill. Abortion just makes it easier.
I want to make it clear to everyone. . .Dominican sisters (as opposed to the cloistered nuns) are NOT under the authority of the Master of the Order. IOW, they are not responsible to the Order of Preachers, the General Chapters of the Order, or the Order’s Constitution. OP sisters function as local communities in association with the Order, but they do fall within the juridical purview of our canons. This vital canonical distinction has been blurred in recent decades by the use of the term “Dominican Family,” a term that leads many to believe that all OP’s operate under the authority of the Master.
Fr. Philip, OP
Thank you Sister Mary! Many communities who belong to the LCWR don’t actually believe half the stuff they come up with but it was their only option at one point. I wear a habit and work in a traditional apostolate, live in community, and pray daily with the sisters of my community in a chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is present! In my constitutions I am required to pray the Stations of the Cross, the Rosary, and attend Mass Daily. My community belongs to the LCWR. I think probably soon we won’t but please give us a chance to be faithful before we are judged not to be!
God Bless you!