A good Catholic meddles in politics (and votes in the Midterms)

Photo by Josh Johnson on Unsplash.

The nuns are back (on the bus). Headed by Sister Simone Campbell, the executive director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, the almost-annual campaign (they’ve traveled six of the last seven years), is traveling across the country to raise awareness about the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act and its impact on social services and local communities.


The nuns stopped at the Church of the Redeemer in Morristown, N.J., where we caught up with Sister Simone, S.S.S. and Sister Richelle Friedman, P.B.V.M., about what’s wrong with the new tax bill, what’s at stake in the upcoming midterm elections and why good Catholics should “meddle” in politics.

This episode of Jesuitical is proudly sponsored by Catholic Women Preach, celebrating two years sharing the wisdom and witness of women breaking open the Word. Visit catholicwomenpreach.org for video, text and podcasts of weekly preaching on the Sunday Scriptures.

Links from the show:


[Want to discuss politics with other America readers? Join our Facebook discussion group, moderated by America’s writers and editors.]

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
J Cosgrove
7 months 3 weeks ago

Yes, by all means talk up the Jobs act and the low unemployment and additional tax revenues for states and local officials. Talk up how business optimism is at all time highs and consumer optimism is at highest in 18 years. Talk up the great judicial picks that have happened over the last 20 months and how they benefit freedom especially freedom of religion. Talk up how we are finally standing up to China on trade and their massive military expansion. There is much much more great things to talk about.

J Cosgrove
7 months 3 weeks ago

As an optimal political approach, combine representative democracy and free market capitalism with Catholic morality. It cannot be beat. Stay away from any political aspects of Catholic Social Teaching. It leads to poverty.

Judith Jordan
7 months 2 weeks ago

Mr.Cosgrove---Catholic Social Teaching is based on the teachings and words of Jesus.

J Cosgrove
7 months 2 weeks ago

In 16 years of Catholic education I was never taught anything called Catholic Social Teaching. I was taught a lot about morality but never how to apply it to political decisions. It was taught in terms of how to lead one’s life in order to achieve salvation. If that approach is taken, societies will get better. When it is forced on political policies societies will get worse.

George Obregon
7 months 3 weeks ago

Finally, after 8 long years our nation finally has a pro-life President, and finally, after 8 long years, our nation finally has a President who defends freedom of Christian conscience.
/geo ex machina

John Sharpe
7 months 3 weeks ago

What’s more important, having a job or being able to choose your sex or minority status and have the government weaponize your victimhood...even if your only 0.08 Native American ?

Bev Ceccanti
7 months 3 weeks ago

Amen. this narcissistic drumbeat from whining women without even a nod to the bloody corpses of innocents comes from no place good. I am definitely voting against false sentimentality.. Oh by the way, I've been out in the big bad world since I was a girl and am well familiar with the foibles of human nature. I've witnessed a litany of injustices but nothing can compare with the blood thirstiness of what's going on now. I'm against capital punishment all the way but it's not hard to figure out which party is the most murderous. More babies were aborted than were born in Harlem in 2016. I'll have the vision of our chopped up children in mind when I vote. How can supposed men and women of God ignore this horror? Are they too naive to know Planned parenthood is a main sponsor of one of these parties. And when america magazine withdrew the Kavanaugh endorsement, how could they not have seen the faces of the babies that were sure to die a horrible death for your lack of courage. I am tired of women's trite issues and I
am a woman who has experienced much. Have I earned my ticket to speak?

Warren Patton
7 months 2 weeks ago

I don't disagree with these women on every issue but I found this interview very difficult to sit through. There are areas where Catholic teaching is in step with the Democratic party but there are areas where it is strongly in opposition to it. These nuns didn't engage with this at all. Nothing in their approach seems different from the average secular viewer of MSNBC.

I have to kind of question their approach to religious life too. I was very bothered by the way they scoffed when cloistered life was brought up. Prayer, contemplation, and getting closer to God are all great pursuits, and orders of nuns and monks were created specifically to foster that kind of life. Yes, service is also a part of religious life, but does that really mean hitting the campaign trail? Should it?

Even if this kind of full-time politicking is an appropriate pursuit for vowed religious, I don't think it should be as full-time operatives for the Democratic party. The Democratic party is, to be frank, the more secular of the two parties. Whether you think that's a good thing or a bad thing it shouldn't be a controversial statement- they take pride in it! Of course that doesn't mean religious people can't support the Dems, but there ought to be at least some criticism, some skepticism. Maybe that's not totally missing from the nuns on a bus tour, but I certainly didn't get that impression from this interview.

Chuck Kotlarz
7 months 2 weeks ago

“…why good Catholics should “meddle” in politics?”

If politics and justice were people perhaps they would be joined at the hip. The Preamble to the Constitution and several popes clearly value justice. The preamble on the first line states, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice…” Sister Simone notes in her book, “A Nun on the Bus”, several popes have said, “justice comes before charity”.


The latest from america

On June 17, 2015, a 23-year-old white supremacist killed nine African-Americans during a Bible study at the historic Emanuel A.M.E. Church.
John AndersonJune 14, 2019
His renunciation did not come as a total surprise given the controversy that erupted in Chile following the priest’s controversial statements after his nomination.
Gerard O’ConnellJune 14, 2019
Every other year it hosts the Whitney Biennial, which famously asks the question: What is art in America today? A question that can be broken down into two separate lines of inquiry: What is art? And, what is America?
Ciaran FreemanJune 14, 2019
Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein in ‘Booksmart’ (photo: IMDB)
This motley crew of high school students want to live an authentic life. They want to be known, by themselves and by others.