The Last Word | June 14, 2012
>> i 50e78 in this race because i care about americans. we have a safety net there.
>> that's mitt romney showing that he knows how to stay out of trouble with the vatican . the vatican chastised the leadership conference of women religious, the largest group of catholic nuns for caring too much about the very poor and not spending enough time crusading against abortion and same-sex marriage. vatican spokesman rush limbaugh put it this way --
>> do you know what the nuns are doing? the nuns have gone feminazi on everybody. this group of nuns is gone feminist and the vatican is obviously, figure of speech, slapping them down. the vatican is trying to tamp it down and say no, no, that doesn't happen. there's no such thing as a feminist nun.
>> okay, rush, let me tell you something. i had eight years of the sisters of st. joseph at st. brendan school in boston and that is not the way to talk to or about nuns. what do you think is nun is going to do when you call her a feminazi, you think she's going to run and hide because rush is mad at her? okay, rush, i know, i know. you're not going to take my advice, so maybe you'll listen to sister simone . joining me now, sister simone campbell, executive director of the national catholic social justice lobby. and lisaling, host of "our america" on own. next week's episode "the brides of christ" a close look at american nuns. sister simone , rush limbaugh just called you a feminazi, i really truly cannot imagine a nun's reaction to that, but please, please let's hear it.
>> well, i was actually kind of amused by it because it's so far from the truth. it's obviously caricature that doesn't apply. we're so much about living a deep spiritual life and serving the needs of the people at the margins of the caring society. it's just musing. it's also said that we've riled him up and we're being effective because he's getting offended.
>> then he got laughs all around between lisa and me and my own personal experience with nuns. li lisa , you've done a very closeup study with nuns like sister simone and others in the country.
>> that's right. we spent time with a number of different nuns and there are thousands of different orders. i'm not a particularly religious person, but an irish nun here in los angeles had a huge impact on me. and she's the first person in whom i actually saw god. she's someone who has become a mother figure to transgender youth . people who have been kicked out of their home. she actually helped me find this young girl working as a prostitute a safe place to stay. and i realized that this is the kind of person, the parallels that i saw between sister margaret and that guy jesus to me were pretty startling. it's interesting the vatican has chose ton reprimand.
>> let's hear from sister margaret. we have a piece of tape of your show. let's listen to that.
>> many of them have come from homes that are christian homes and they are told they're sinful, they're going to go to hell, they're going to die. many have a lot of deep questions.
>> hi. how are you?
>> i can't come to church with you this sunday.
>> but next sunday, i promise.
>> some of them have this idea like wow, we didn't think a nun like you would want to be here with us.
>> they definitely don't expect me to be around in a pair of jeans and a shirt around the place.
>> it seems like some of the more old fashioned catholics would like you to spend more of your day telling people how they can go to hell.
>> well, that's quite a provocative way to put it. i know that i find our life much more enriching if i engage with ways to live more deeply the spiritual values that go to the gospel, the way to be faithful to jesus' call, to respond to the needs of poor and those who are left out. i would leave to god the judging. i just try to live in love. and as we say in our community, live in love for the lord gee zest christ, that's all we try to do.
>> now, i know in your advocacy for the poor, the objection you have to the paul ryan budget. i want you to listen to what paul ryan has had to say about the role of ka tholism has played in his budget.
>> one of the primary tenants of catholic social teaching means don't keep people poor. don't make people dependent on government so they stay stuck in their station in life. help them out of poverty into a life of independence.
>> your response?
>> well, actually that little piece is fine. the problem is, that's the only piece that congressman ryan has. because his answer that is everybody needs to do that individually. and the fact is that the other piece of catholic social teaching that is at the core of this is that we also are all about solidarity and community. and that no one can do this alone. only together as community having each other's backs can anyone move develop, grow, have a life that's full of dignity. paul rye i can't be leaves out the solidarity of community and thinks everyone should just be individualistic.
>> lisa , what are some of the surprising things that you learned about nuns. you didn't know a lot about nuns going into this.
>> there are a number of different orders. we spent some time with some young women going into the convent for the first time. and there are fewer young women entering religious life than ever before. but what some of the sisters told me is those young women who are going into it are actually choosing a more conservative life and wanting to wear the habit. it's kind of interesting when you think about culture today. you know, women willive in this culture. ewe are.
>> told we can never be pretty enough or skinny enough. and these women are making in some ways the most extreme divisions they can mate and in some ways liberating themselves from those pressures.
>> you visited one convent that's really removed from the world as we know it. are they even aware of the tepgss between the vatican and other american nuns out there doing activist work?
>> i think they are aware of it. and some of those nuns are very much in line with what the vatican is suggesting. so there are different perspectives, i think, within religious life amongst different women in religious life .
>> you're not going to do with rush limbaugh wants you to do, quiet down and disappear, but you're one of the leaders of the nuns on a bus tour. tell us about that.
>> well, it's our attempt to raise up the fallacy in congressman ryan's budget that's been passed by the house. this budget will devastate people who are poor in our country. it completely underadvice ra -- advice ra -- viscerates money for the special net and shifts it to the wealthy and the pentagon. so the challenge here is going to be on the bus and speaking out in nine states over two weeks to show what the problems are.
>> i want you to know, i feel myself in perpetual debt to the nuns. they taught me how to read and write , which is no small task in my case. thank you very much for joining us tonight. lisaling's show "our america"