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Sisters Spread Their Message Via 'Nuns On The Bus' Tour16:13
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Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, waves as she steps off the bus during a stop on the first day of a 9-state Nuns on the Bus tour, in Ames, Iowa. (AP)
Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, waves as she steps off the bus during a stop on the first day of a 9-state Nuns on the Bus tour, in Ames, Iowa. (AP)

Catholic nuns appear to be riding a wave of popularity in the U.S. after the Vatican ordered a crackdown on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious — an organization that represents the majority of nuns in America.

The church says nuns are focusing too much on economic injustice, and failing to promote the church's teachings on abortion and same-sex marriage.

But the controversy prompted a groundswell of support for nuns. Now some sisters are taking that energy on the road, with a nine-state bus tour called "Nuns on the Bus," aimed at warning against a House Republican budget authored by Congressman Paul Ryan.

The sisters say the budget would undermine the food stamp program, drive more seniors into poverty by shifting Medicare to a voucher program, and cause millions to lose access to health care by cutting funding for health insurance programs for low-income people.

Sister Simone Campbell, Roman Catholic nun and executive director of Network, the Catholic social justice lobby that's sponsoring the bus tour, told Here & Now's Deborah Becker that the message of the bus tour is simple.

"What we need as a nation is reasonable revenue for responsible programs," she said. "And that's the exact opposite of the Ryan budget."

U.S. Catholic bishops have also come out against the Ryan budget, however they're in the midst of promoting their own national campaign called "Fortnight for Freedom," protesting the Obama administration's birth control mandate and support for gay marriage.

Some say "Nuns on the Bus" is upstaging the bishops.

Guests:

  • Sister Simone Campbell, Roman Catholic nun and executive director of Network, the Catholic social justice lobby that's sponsoring the bus tour
  • Father Thomas Reese, senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University

This segment aired on June 27, 2012.

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