Congressman Paul Ryan Irks Nuns, Thinking Catholics
Paul Ryan is good at two things.
First, irking people.
Second, motivating people to take action.
Now comes “Nuns on the Bus,” a 15-day, nine-state tour that starts Monday in Iowa and rolls through Janesville and Racine starting Tuesday. Along the way, the sisters will visit Catholic-sponsored social service agencies that serve the nation’s poor and disenfranchised.
“I knew when the Vatican assessment came out that we needed to find a way to use even our notoriety for the sake of our mission,” said Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby in Washington, D.C. The organization, among those criticized by the Vatican, is leading the bus tour.
Campbell, 66, has been very visible lately — she appeared on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” last week — and seems not at all worried about Rome’s response to her public statements. On National Public Radio the day after the critique came out, she surmised that church leadership “doesn’t know how to deal with strong women and so their way is to try and shape us into whatever they think we should be.”
Campbell told me there was never any doubt the bus tour would swing through Wisconsin. “Your state is home to the man who started all this,” she said, referring to U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, a Janesville Republican.
Ryan proposed the federal budget that recently passed the House of Representatives. He has cited his Catholic faith in defending the plan, which cuts government spending to avert what he says is a looming debt crisis that would hurt the poor first. Critics say it would slash the country’s safety net.
“It’s seriously warped,” Campbell said of Ryan’s budget. “It’s couched in really nice words, but it would devastate the soul of our nation.”