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Climbing aboard with Nuns on the Bus

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jul 12, 2012

You’d probably expect an obscure outlet called Womens ENews to wax enthusiastic about the “Nuns on the Bus” campaign. But you wouldn’t expect the Forbes magazine web site to reproduce the article without comment, giving a mainstream appearance to a fringe organization’s report.

And that report is a lulu. It begins:

Nuns here are being treated like rock stars after the vast majority received a scolding from Pope Benedict XVI.

Count the errors. The “scolding” was not from Pope Benedict. It was not directed at the “vast majority” of nuns, but at a particular organization representing the leaders of religious orders. Oh, and I don’t think anyone really treats nuns like rock stars. But let’s keep reading:

As the crowd in front of the United Methodist building in Washington, D.C., saw the bus coming down the street, loudspeakers began to play "Eye of the Tiger," the theme song from the movie "Rocky III."

Is there anything in that sentence that makes you think of nuns? Anything that makes you think of Catholics? (The United Methodist building doesn’t quite do the trick, does it?) The sentence aptly describes a partisan political rally, which is the whole story of the Nuns on the Bus.

The Womens ENews report, dressed in Forbes clothing, is markedly sympathetic to the liberal activists of Network, and skeptical about the Vatican complaints that some American nuns—including the leaders of Network, as a matter of fact—have drifted away from Catholic orthodoxy. But then the reporter gives the game away:

Kate Conmy, education coordinator at the Washington-based Women’s Ordination Conference, was in the crowd outside the Methodist Church on July 2.

Right. And that’s not the only Church she’s outside.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Pop - Jul. 13, 2012 4:23 PM ET USA

    Always get good advice from Phil. And in an enjoyable style.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Jul. 13, 2012 2:09 PM ET USA

    Just put up with a Sunday homily that praised these ladies on their little jaunt. If they were going to speak the truth to power, they would have driven up to Kathleen Sibelius' office to protest the killing of innocent unborn children. What a betrayal of their magnificent heritage!