The Lord hears the cry of the poor - Blessed be the Lord!
The late Sen. Patrick Moynihan of New York is supposed to have said to political opponents: You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts. Thus, for the record, here are the facts in response to the letter in the weekend edition of the Times, Nov. 10-11, regarding the visit of the Nuns on the Bus to Marietta, just prior to the election.
In that letter, the letter writer said that these nuns did "have a political agenda masked by the seemingly benign name of 'Social Justice,' "which is really "a sweet-sounding synonym for Marxism," and that when such people "go on the stump for Marxist principles," he and his comrades (perhaps he would object to such an appellation) "will be there to protest." This is pure nonsense!
After having received an M.A. in theology from an accredited Roman Catholic institution of higher education, as well as having taught religion for several years in a Roman Catholic school in Milwaukee (where the current Cardinal Archbishop of New York was before his elevation), I want to assure the readers of the Times that the facts of this matter are as follows: These concerned "Nuns on the Bus" presented nothing that was not consistent with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, in fact quoting, almost verbatim, from Catholic Social Doctrine. From their affirmation of the need to protect life "from conception to natural death," to their reciting of the Catholic social principles of a just wage for all workers, solidarity (which united the workers of the late Blessed John Paul II's Poland against communism), workers' rights, &c., these professed religious stood firm with the church's espoused position of a "preferential option for the poor." One would have to accuse the Roman Catholic hierarchy and Church Tradition of also having a Marxist agenda, if one is going to accuse these Nuns thusly.
Moreover, the gathering and message of these brave women was non-partisan; they simply wanted to remind voters (with the above-stated principles as their platform) to remember the poor when going to the voting booth in the recent election: Is this not something that Christ and His Church would want the electorate to consider when making such important decisions as for whom and what to vote? However, the protesters present had many partisan signs, as well as some which were insulting to these real (not "so-called," as a missive given out in church alleged) nuns and their message. In addition, when these protesters "prayed devoutly," as mentioned by the letter writer in his letter, they prayed loudly (and increasingly so), such that the nun who was then speaking would have to speak ever louder, in order to be heard. This is not what I call "respectful," as described by the letter writer. I was standing by a Roman Catholic priest from out of town when all of this was going on, and we were both shocked and ashamed of what we were witnessing!
I suggest that those Roman Catholics who were part of the protesters familiarize themselves with the above-mentioned Catholic Social Doctrine, because it is clear to me that there has been a severe lack in their catechesis. Moreover, they might want to reflect on paragraphs 2419 2463 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, promulgated during the pontificate of the Blessed Pope John Paul II, as well as the Documents of the II Vatican Council (particularly the "Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World"), the work of Leo XIII, Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker, Thomas Merton, Blessed Pope John XXIII, and the already mentioned Blessed Pope John Paul II. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the teachings of the Hebrew Prophets and those of Jesus of Nazareth! Otherwise, when they read about the early apostles in Acts 4: 32-35, they might believe that they too had a "Marxist agenda."
This past election showed that certain candidates and their supporters would prefer to live in a make-believe world where facts, stated positions, and truth don't matter; let's not allow this idea to infect the political discourse of Marietta. The experience of when the Nuns on the Bus came through Marietta was an embarrassment to the city of Marietta, but even more so to her Christian community.
Jeff Danner, M.A.