Nuns Rock, and Vatican Is Nuts to Mess With Them Nuns show the best of Catholic Church; Rome, the worst: Nicholas Kristof By Mark Russell, Newser Staff Posted Apr 29, 2012 9:14 AM CDT 32 comments Comments Nuns from the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity from Seattle, Washington, watch as Pope Benedict XVI travels through New York City on April 19, 2008. (Getty Images) (Newser) – Catholic nuns represent much of the best the church has to offer—they're tough, smart, and humble. Which is why Nicholas Kristof has a clear warning for Pope Benedict: "You are crazy to mess with nuns," whom Kristof lauds as "the first feminists" and whom he has seen "defy warlords, pimps and bandits." Two weeks ago, the Vatican took aim at American nuns, criticizing them for being too liberal and sending a bishop to reform the umbrella group that represents 80% of American nuns. "In effect, the Vatican accused the nuns of worrying too much about the poor and not enough about abortion and gay marriage," he writes in the New York Times. That's nonsense, writes Kristof. "Jesus in the Gospels repeatedly talks about poverty and social justice, yet never explicitly mentions either abortion or homosexuality." Fortunately, notes Kristof, most American Catholics are showing massive support for the hardworking nuns over the church hierarchy. “It’s stunningly wonderful,” said one Benedictine nun. "You see generations of laypeople who know where the sisters are—in the streets, in the soup kitchens, anywhere where there’s pain. They’re with the dying, with the sick, and people know it." Click to read his entire column.