Nuns,Obama-care, and Patrick Kennedy became the topic of a lot of Catholic news commentary this weekend starting with Maureen Dowd and her new version of "The Nuns Story", full of a lot of Dowd's lambasting against the evil patriarchy of Rome. This commentary can be countered by an earlier article on the same topic by Elizabeth MacDonald's inspiring "How Catholic Nuns Shaped America." Both articles give one a better idea of what is going on in the American theater of Catholic politics than the silly sputtering we heard from Patrick Kennedy's lecturing of the Pope and Bishops and what they should find acceptable for Catholics concerning Obama's health-care bill.
If Patrick Kennedy, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, and a host of other "Catholic" politicians wish to defy Catholic teachings, that's perfectly acceptable and legal to do so in a free democracy. The problem is that they can't expect the Pope to follow along with their "progressive" political beliefs simply because it conveniently suit the currrent philosophy of Kennedy, Pelosi and other such progressives.
But back to Dowd and MacDonald and their reminiscing of the good sisters who taught in Catholic schools during the 1950's and 60's. Anyone who received a Catholic education know the nuns were tough just as Dowd remembers in her story of Sister Hiltruda. Or better yet, consider the memories of MacDonald and the way she sums up her memories of the 1960's with.." And yes, if you're Catholic and you've been taught by nuns, you've likely run across the jokes about Catholic sisters, about being taught by a Sister George C. Scott or a Sister Mary Handcuffs or the Sisters of (No) Mercy, or Sister Mary Aloysius Expialodocious, you know, the nuns who will haunt you until you can recite your multiplication tables in your sleep. I get all that....and MacDonald then goes on to add "*Throughout periods of struggle and controversy, Catholic sisters have opened orphanages, schools, hospitals, colleges, universities, and provided other social services that have served millions of Americans..."
So are the memories of many adult Catholics from the 50's and 60's who were fortunate enough to receive an education from these fine Sisters. But how must it strike many of these same Catholics who hear American politicians speaking and lecturing the Pope and bishops on how Catholic affairs should be conducted? Surely many of us can fantasize the smart-alecky Patrick Kennedy receiving the coldest and iciest stare-down (at best) ever received from the likes of a Sister Hiltruda,or Sister Mary Hand-cuffs. Yet, in all sincerity, and not to disparage the nuns...we know that Patrick Kennedy would really have received a worse outcome at the hands of these Sisters of the 1960's.