Nuns on the Bus

As someone old enough to have experienced nuns as a central part of my grade school and high school education, I can't get enough of the Nuns on the Bus tour.

It hits Harrisburg Thursday and Philadelphia Friday and Saturday.

Anyone who's been taught by nuns knows their combination of smarts, commitment, dedication to work and (sometimes) fierce enforcement of discipline suggests this is a tour you don't want to mess with.

If you're not up on the story, here's a New York Times piece about the effort that ran earlier this month.

I like the tour because it rolls directly over Vatican criticism of Catholic nuns that they are wrong to promote social justice issues rather than push church concerns about abortion and gay marriage.

The tour protests proposed federal budget cuts in programs that help the poor and working families.

You'd think the Catholic Church would have enough to worry about these days without going after nuns looking to join the national debate.

"We’re doing this because these are life issues,” said Sister Simone Campbell, who heads a liberal social justice lobby in Washington. “And by lifting up the work of Catholic sisters, we will demonstrate the very programs and services that will be decimated.”

The seven-state tour started June 18 and is scheduled to end July 2. The bus is like a rock star's bus with a sound system, signs and a podium. It seats a rotating group of up to 12 nuns from the Sisters of Charity, Daughters of Charity and Sisters of Social Service.

Here's the schedule. Interestingly, many events are listed as "open to the public, closed to the press," to which I think I would simply say, "Yes, Sister."