Awesome of the Day: Colbert vs. “Radical feminist nun” Sister Simone Campbell

As nuns from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) plan to meet with the Vatican today to discuss the ridiculous investigation targeting them for being too feminist and “politicized” (because the Vatican is not politicized at all), Sister Simone Campbell of NETWORK was on The Colbert Report last night in response to the Vatican’s claims — and brilliantly throws Colbert’s snark right back at him.

 

Today’s meeting should be an interesting one, considering LCWR recently came out with a statement saying they were “stunned by the severity” of the Vatican’s pronouncement against the organization — which holds 80 percent of the 57,000 nuns in the U.S. — and simply doesn’t accept their criticism. LCWR President Sister Pat Farrell told the NYT:

“Even large sectors of the church itself have legitimate concern and want to continue to talk about the place of women in the church, and rightful equality between men and women…So if that is called radical feminism, then a lot of men and women in the church, far beyond us, are guilty of that.”

Radical feminist nuns represent! Transcript after the jump.

Colbert: The bottom line is these nuns need to learn their place, which is at my desk. Please welcome the head of NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby, Sister Simone Campbell. Sister Campbell, thank you so much for being here. Now sister, you and your fellow nuns have clearly gone rogue, okay? You’re radical feminists. 

Sister Campbell: We’re certainly oriented towards the needs of women and responding to their needs — if that’s radical, I guess we are. But actually – 

Colbert: Yes, yes — that’s radical feminism! 

Campbell: I don’t think so. 

Colbert: And by the way sister, where’s the outfit? Did you burn it at one of those wimple burning parties? You radical nuns? 

Campbell: We returned to our roots. And in our history, what we dressed in was the dress of the day, in simple dress. So that’s what we do now, we dress in the simple dress of the day in order to touch people more directly. People used to get intimidated by those big habits and all that, and we could not really walk with them in their life experience. 

Colbert: Church should be intimidating a little bit. Actually I think you nuns should be intimidated a little bit more — the Pope and the Vatican has said knock it off with the social liberalism. You’re not socially conservative enough. You’ll admit that. 

Campbell: Well, actually what I’ll admit is that we’re faithful to the gospel. We work every day to live as Jesus did in relationship with people at the margins of our society. That’s all we do. [applause]

Colbert: That’s a cheap applause line: Jesus. You can throw Jesus into anything and people are going to applaud. You’ve got a bus tour coming up this Thursday. You guys, you and other nuns are getting on a bus — that’s a movie right there. Nuns on a bus. And you guys are gonna go to 9 different states t0 different places where nuns are doing…

Campbell: Doing great work, wer’re going to lift up their work but we’re also stopping at Congressional offices, especially of Congresspeople who voted for the House budget proposed by Congressman Ryan, and that budget undermines the whole fabric of our society. And people don’t know it. We want to educate people about what’s going on in Congress and make sure that they push back against hijacking our nation. It’s the least we can do for the people suffering in our society that are left out, that pushed to the margins. 

Colbert: If we’re just concentrating on the poor, helping the poor, that leaves the rich out, guys like me – 

Campbell: That’s what the rich should be doing. 

Colbert: We need more help, the poor shall inherit the kingdom of heaven, the [?] can get through the eye of a needle more than a rich man can get into heaven — I need help more than a poor person does. 

Campbell: You need help to respond, to be generous, because you know there’s enough to go around if we would only share. It’s this American idea that we should just hoard and hold onto the individual things that we have – 

Colbert: Jesus himself said, “I’ve got mine, Jack.”

Campbell: Jesus broke the bread and gave it to everybody and said, “Eat and be fill,” and there was enough if you share.

Colbert: Well I’m not gonna debate the gospel with a nun, it’s not fair. Sister, thank you so much for joining me.  

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2 Comments

  1. Posted June 12, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Love her!

  2. Posted June 13, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Ditto. I have a habit of viewing religious authorities with a fairly suspicious eye, but she was pretty awesome.

    I’ve been having a hard time verifying the statement that the nun’s habit was originally “simple dress of the day”, though — and there do seem to have been a bewildering number of variations even after it was formalized as religious garb. Any religious historians here with pointers on reliable references?

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